Cardinals open critical 3-game challenge in Week 4 vs. Rams

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The Arizona Cardinals have had a nice start to the season, going 3-0 for the first time since 2015, the last season they made it to the playoffs. They look good and yet still have questions about the legitimacy of their 3-0 start.

We will learn a lot about this team over the next three games.

They are on the road to face the 3-0 Los Angeles Rams this weekend. Next weekend, they host the San Francisco 49ers and then, in Week 6, they are on the road to take on the Cleveland Browns.

All have winning records and all are considered teams that will compete for their respective divisions.

If the Cardinals wish to maintain their momentum to start the season, they must win two of the next three games.

Losing to the Rams and 49ers would put them in an 0-2 hole in their division, something that will be difficult to overcome. In a very competitive NFC West, it is highly unlikely anything less than going 3-3 in the division will likely keep a team out of even a wild card berth.

Beating the Rams on the road and the 49ers at home would be the ideal 2-1 because they would have snapped their eight-game losing streak against the Rams and would be 2-0 in the division and 3-0 in the conference.

A loss to the Browns, as they are in the AFC, hurts them far less in the playoff race.

Lose to the Rams and win the next two is okay. They will have lost a divisional road game and won a divisional home game. That is simply staying even par. Add in a win over the Browns on the road and they would have a road win over an expected playoff team.

At 5-1, they would be well on their way to making the playoffs.

Losing two of the next three won’t ruin the season but it will cause people to believe that the Cardinals are nothing more than a second-tier playoff contender.

Go 3-0 and they are the talk of the league. They would sit atop the NFC West and control their destiny the rest of the season.

But if they wish to continue to look like a contender in the conference, they have to win two of the next three games.

Listen to the latest from Cards Wire’s Jess Root on his podcast, Rise Up, See Red. Subscribe on Apple podcasts or Spotify.

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