Rams at Cardinals: 7 things to know for Week 13 matchup

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Cameron DaSilva
·5 min read
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It’s already Week 13, but the Rams and Cardinals still have not yet played each other this season. That will change on Sunday when Arizona hosts the Rams at State Farm Stadium.

Both teams are coming off Week 12 losses, the Rams falling to San Francisco and the Cardinals being upset by the Patriots. Each team is seeking a huge divisional win, but only one team can improve its record this week.

Here are seven key stats and facts to know for this pivotal NFC West tilt.

Rams have owned Cardinals since Sean McVay arrived

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

It’s been a completely one-sided affair between the Rams and Cardinals since 2017. The Rams are a perfect 6-0 against Arizona since McVay was hired three years ago, sweeping the Cardinals in each of the last three seasons. It’s not as if they’ve won a bunch of close games, either. The Rams have scored at least 31 points in each of those six games, outscoring the Cardinals 195-56. That’s an average margin of victory of 23 points. Here are the results of their last six meetings:

  • 12/29/2019: Rams 31, Cardinals 24

  • 12/1/2019: Rams 34, Cardinals 7

  • 12/23/2018: Rams 31, Cardinals 9

  • 9/16/2018: Rams 34, Cardinals 0

  • 12/3/2017: Rams 32, Cardinals 16

  • 10/22/2017: Rams 33, Cardinals 0

Matchup between No. 2 offense and No. 2 defense

(AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

The Cardinals may only be 6-5, but their offense has been outstanding this season. They rank eighth in scoring and second in total yards, moving the ball almost at will with Kyler Murray under center. The Rams, on the other hand, have been carried by their defense. The Rams have allowed the second-fewest yards in the NFL and the fourth-fewest points, so this will certainly be a tough matchup for Arizona’s offense, as it will for L.A.’s defense. Something’s got to give between these two great units.

Aaron Donald averages almost 1 sack per game vs. Arizona

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a pretty safe bet that Donald will have a sack against the Cardinals on Sunday, given his track record in these matchups. In 12 games played against Arizona, Donald has 40 tackles, 11 sacks and 23 QB hits. That’s an average of almost one sack per game and nearly two QB hits per game. In his last six games against Arizona, Donald has 7.5 sacks, 13 QB hits and nine tackles for loss, so he’s been especially dominant in the last three seasons of this NFC West rivalry.

Jared Goff thrives against the Cardinals

(Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

After a terrible outing in Week 12 where he committed three turnovers and threw for 198 yards, Goff has a good chance to bounce back this week. In his career against the Cardinals, Goff has generally played really well. He’s 6-1 with 10 touchdown passes and three interceptions, completing 69% of his passes for 1,888 yards – the second-most yards against any team he’s faced. Goff has also rushed for two touchdowns against the Cardinals and has a passer rating of 102.4, both among his best against any opponent. With Arizona ranking only 13th in passing yards allowed, this is a good time for Goff to rebound.

Murray and Drake each have more yards than Rams’ leading rusher

(AP Photo/Josie Lepe)

It’s no surprise that the Cardinals have the fourth-most rushing yards in the NFL and lead the league in yards per carry this season thanks to the presence of Kyler Murray. Both he and Kenyan Drake have more yards than the Rams’ leading rusher, Darrell Henderson, who has 510 yards. Murray has rushed for 650 yards on 97 attempts, while Drake has 719 yards on 168 carries despite missing a game. To be fair, the Rams are ninth in rushing yards and eighth in attempts, but they’ve dropped to 18th in yards per carry.

Rams and Cardinals are among NFL’s worst kicking teams

(AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

Matt Gay seems to have righted the ship at kicker for the Rams, but he still has a long way to go before he makes up for the misses by Samuel Sloman and Kai Forbath earlier in the season. The Rams have made 73.7% of their field goal attempts, which is fifth-worst in the NFL. The Cardinals aren’t much better, though, making 76.2% of their attempts – seventh-worst in football. Hopefully Gay can keep up his strong start, but don’t expect to see a bunch of made field goals in this one.

Rams dominate 3rd down, Cardinals own red zone

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Rams have quietly been very good on third down this season, both offensively and defensively. They rank eighth in third-down conversion rate on offense, picking up the first 45.4% of the time. Defensively, they’re fourth, allowing teams to convert only 35.5% of the time. As good as the Rams have been on third down, the Cardinals are equally great in the red zone. They score touchdowns on 73.7% of their red zone trips, which ranks fourth in the league. On defense, teams are scoring touchdowns just 52.6% of the time when reaching the red zone, good for fifth in the NFL. Third-down conversions and red zone scoring rate are two indicators of success and the Rams will need to capitalize on the opportunities they get in the red area, and stop Arizona from scoring when approaching the goal line.

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