Rams vs. Arizona Cardinals matchups, start time and how to watch
Breaking down how the Rams (8-4) and the Arizona Cardinals (10-2) match up heading into their game at 5:20 p.m. PST on Monday at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. The game will be shown on ABC and ESPN.
When Rams have the ball: Matthew Stafford is looking to build on an error-free game against Jacksonville that ended a streak of three turnover-laden performances. Stafford has passed for 30 touchdowns with nine interceptions. Cooper Kupp continues to lead the NFL with 100 receptions for 1,366 yards and 11 touchdowns. Van Jefferson and Odell Beckham Jr. both have recorded a touchdown reception in each of the last two games. Starting right tackle Rob Havenstein was put on the COVID-19 reserve list Sunday. The question is whether coach Sean McVay will rely on the rushing attack again and use an extra blocker in heavy formations, a role usually manned by Joe Noteboom, the likely replacement for Havenstein. Sony Michel, starting in place of an injured Darrell Henderson, rushed for 121 yards and a touchdown against the Jaguars and will start against the Cardinals. Henderson was put on the COVID-19 reserve list Saturday. Arizona’s defense features several playmakers, including safety Budda Baker, who has three interceptions, including one he returned 77 yards in a Dec.5 win at Chicago. Cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. has four interceptions. Linebacker Jordan Hicks is the leading tackler, and linebacker Markus Golden has 10 sacks. Linebacker Isaiah Simmons has forced three fumbles and intercepted a pass.
The Rams’ Andrew Whitworth is still a premier blocker in the NFL. ‘Sometimes you take for granted that he’s 40 years old,’ said coach Sean McVay.
When Cardinals have the ball: Quarterback Kyler Murray, the No.1 pick in the 2019 draft, is playing like an MVP candidate. He returned from an ankle injury that sidelined him for three games and passed for two touchdowns and ran for two more in the victory over the Bears. In nine games, he has completed nearly 73% of his passes and has 19 touchdown throws with seven interceptions. He also has rushed for five touchdowns. Chase Edmunds, who ran for 120 yards in the Cardinals’ 37-20 victory over the Rams on Oct.3 at SoFi Stadium, has not played since suffering an ankle injury Nov.7. James Conner has rushed for 12 touchdowns and has two touchdown catches. Wide receiver Christian Kirk has a team-best 50 receptions. DeAndre Hopkins has 37 catches, eight for touchdowns. Tight end Zach Ertz, acquired in an Oct.15 trade with the Philadelphia Eagles, has 23 catches, three for touchdowns. Murray has been sacked only 19 times, so the Rams’ pass rush will be challenged to contain him. Edge rusher Leonard Floyd has eight sacks, lineman Aaron Donald seven. Linebacker Von Miller has not recorded a sack in three games. Donald and lineman A’Shawn Robinson forced fumbles against the Jaguars and set up the offense for scoring opportunities.
When they kick: Brandon Powell gave the Rams a spark with a 65-yard kickoff return against the Jaguars. Kicker Matt Gay has been nearly flawless, making 23 of 24 field-goal tries. Johnny Hekker averages 41.9 net yards per punt. Cardinals kicker Matt Prater has made 17 of 22 field-goal attempts. Andy Lee averages 42.3 net yards per punt.
Gary Klein’s prediction: The Rams have not played a game this season that has been decided by a field goal in the final moments. This could be the one, with Gay making the decisive kick.
RAMS 27, CARDINALS 24
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