The Huddle: Ric Flair inspires the Rams' 8-3 'Woo!'

Rams players will take part in the NFL's "My Cause, My Cleats" campaign when they play the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. Check out the custom designs that will be worn by Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, Aaron Donald and more.

This is notable

The Rams will improve to 9-3 if they defeat the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium, guaranteeing the franchise its first winning season since 2003, when the St. Louis Rams finished 12-4 and lost in the divisional round of the playoffs to the Carolina Panthers.



Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein was named the NFC special teams player of the month, becoming the first player ever to earn the honor in back-to-back months.

Zuerlein leads the NFL in scoring with 129 points, averaging 11.7 per game.

He has made all 33 of his extra point attempts and 32 of his 34 field goal attempts, his only misses from 36 and 62 yards.

Zuerlein needs to score two points against the Cardinals to move into third place on the Rams' single-season scoring list.

Social status

"You've never seen Ric Flair? Ric Flair, the legend."

— Todd Gurley

The Rams running back was in disbelief when this media member asked what the "Woo" was about during coach Sean McVay's postgame locker room speech. (For the record, WWE isn't my thing, but I'll look into it.)

Gurley was asked if he had ever seen Ric Flair in person.

Of course he has, and not just as a fan. Apparently Gurley and Flair are personal pals.

"I talked to him at the Dallas game," Gurley said. "That was probably the last time I heard from him."

Opponent hotline

"He's the most dynamic inside player in the NFL, he and Michael Bennett. Michael is playing a lot more outside this year, but I think [Aaron Donald] has been the most destructive inside guy for a couple years now. He gets those outside guys a lot of sacks because if they stay outside, the quarterback is just getting flushed out to them … he can wreck the game in a heartbeat."


— Cardinals coach Bruce Arians

Arians heaped praise on Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett and the Rams' three-time Pro Bowl selection Aaron Donald.

Donald has six sacks and three forced fumbles this season.

He's also caught Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips by surprise.

"He's better than everybody and I didn't know he was better than everybody," Phillips said this week, adding, "I'm being a little bit sarcastic, but he's such a tremendous player."

Hot off the presser

"He's not your typical rookie. It's funny because a lot of times, after they're done with the receiver meeting, he'll come in the quarterback meeting and he'll listen to us"

— Matt LaFleur

Or perhaps rookie Cooper Kupp has attended some QB meetings to pick up a tip or two about throwing the ball. He's 0-for-1 on pass attempts after a failed trick play last Sunday.

Regardless of his throwing skills, Kupp has a bright future in the NFL, as a player and perhaps as a coach.

Kupp caught eight passes for a career-high 116 yards in a 26-20 victory over the New Orleans Saints last Sunday, pushing his season totals to 46 catches for 597 yards and three touchdowns.

Coaches and teammates say what is most impressive about Kupp, a third-round pick from Eastern Washington, is his knowledge and understanding of the game.

Around the NFC West

The Rams remain atop the NFC West at 8-3, but the Seattle Seahawks are close behind at 7-4.

However, the Seahawks are six-point underdogs at home — yes, inside CenturyLink Field — to the 10-1 Philadelphia Eagles.

If the Rams defeat the 5-6 Cardinals, who they shutout in October, 33-0, at Twickenham Stadium in London, there is a good chance they can grow their lead in the division.

My Thiry

Sean McVay, 31, has used every tool available as he's guided the Rams to their first eight-win season since 2006.

That includes headsets.

In a SoundFX video that has gone viral, quarterback Jared Goff is yelling audibles at the line of scrimmage.

And if you listen closely, you'll hear McVay yelling those audibles to Goff through the earpiece in the quarterback's helmet.


McVay communicates with Goff as long as possible, until the play clock ticks down to 15 seconds and the headsets cut off, to ensure the offense is taking advantage of what the defensive is giving them.

McVay said this week that it's common practice between coaches and quarterbacks. Arians echoed that sentiment.

So put this minor controversy to rest, and don't discredit the improvement shown by Goff in his second season.

Last year, Goff finished 0-7 as a starter, passing for five touchdowns with seven interceptions.

This season he has passed for2,964 yards and 18 touchdowns, with five interceptions.

That kind of progress doesn't happen solely because of a coach in your headset.

My prediction

The Rams will defeat the Cardinals, 24-14, and improve to 9-3.

Follow Lindsey Thiry on Facebook and Twitter @LindseyThiry