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Rams vs. Cardinals: How they matchup

Rams vs. Cardinals: How they matchup
Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson reaches out to make a one-handed interception of Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor during a game on Sept. 25. (Brett Carlsen / Getty Images)

Rams pass offense vs. Cardinals pass defense: Quarterback Case Keenum completed long touchdown passes to receivers Brian Quick and Tavon Austin last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but the Rams still rank second to last in passing offense in the NFL, averaging 174 yards per game. The Cardinals rank sixth in pass defense, giving up 189 yards per game. End Calais Campbell leads the line, the linebacker corps includes Chandler Jones and Deone Bucannon and the secondary features cornerback Patrick Peterson and safety Tyrann Mathieu. Peterson and backup cornerback Marcus Cooper have two interceptions.

EDGE: Cardinals. 

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Rams run offense vs. Cardinals run defense: Rams running back Todd Gurley showed signs of life last week and rushed for two touchdowns. He has gained 183 yards and is averaging 2.9 yards per carry. Benny Cunningham provided a 22-yard run, the Rams' longest rushing play this season. The Rams average 88.7 yards rushing per game, 22nd in the NFL. The Cardinals rank 29th against the run, giving up 133 yards a game. Buffalo ran for 208 against them last week. Safeties Tony Jefferson and Tyvon Branch are the top tacklers for a defense that runs a 3-4 scheme.

EDGE: Rams. 

Cardinals pass offense vs. Rams pass defense: Arizona's Carson Palmer had four passes intercepted in the fourth quarter last week. Palmer has completed  57% of his passes, five for touchdowns. Receivers Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown and Jaron Brown and running back David Johnson are playmakers for a passing offense that ranks 10th in the NFL. Receiver Michael Floyd was undergoing concussion protocol this week. Rams defensive linemen such as Robert Quinn and Aaron Donald must pressure Palmer and rely on a secondary that could include cornerback E.J. Gaines in nickel packages in his season debut. EDGE: Cardinals.

Cardinals run offense vs. Rams run defense: David Johnson is averaging 72.3 yards rushing per game and has run for three touchdowns. Chris Johnson also has rushed for a touchdown. The Cardinals are averaging 95 yards rushing per game, which ranks 20th in the NFL. Rams middle linebacker Alec Ogletree, weakside linebacker Mark Barron and slot cornerback Lamarcus Joyner are the leading tacklers for a defense that is giving up 100 yards rushing per game. Donald and fellow tackle Michael Brockers have been effective clogging the middle. End William Hayes is doubtful because of an ankle sprain.

EDGE: Rams.

Special teams: Punter Johnny Hekker has been one of the Rams' most valuable players. He is averaging 44 yards per kick and has put 12 of 21 inside the 20-yard line. Kicker Greg Zuerlein has made all four of his field-goal attempts, including one from 53 yards against Tampa Bay. Cunningham faked a reverse en route to a 44-yard kickoff return last week. Arizona kicker Chandler Catanzaro has made three of four field-goal attempts, including one from 60 yards. Punter Drew Butler is averaging 40.3 yards per kick. Andre Ellington averages 16 yards per kickoff return.

EDGE: Rams.

Gary Klein's pick: The Rams have a chance to go 2-1 in the division if they can win at University of Phoenix Stadium for the second year in a row. It won't be easy against a team that figures to regroup after last week's 33-18 loss to Buffalo. The Rams won their last two games with huge last-minute defensive plays, something they cannot count on to save them every week.  The Rams won at Arizona last season in Gurley's first start, the first of four consecutive games he rushed for 100 yards or more. They'll probably need another effort like that to beat the Cardinals again at home.

Cardinals 24, Rams 17.

Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @latimesklein

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