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First look: Cardinals at Rams in NFC wild-card playoff game

Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray is brought down by Rams outside linebacker Von Miller (40) during their game in December.
(Ralph Freso / Associated Press)

The NFC West rivals meet for the third time this season when the Rams play host to the Arizona Cardinals in an NFC wild-card game next Monday night:

HISTORY LESSON: The Rams and Cardinals split their NFC West games. On Oct. 3 at SoFi Stadium, Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray played a near-perfect game and led his team to a 37-20 victory. On Dec. 13 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., the Rams won 30-23 despite a roster ravaged by a coronavirus outbreak. The Rams have faced the Cardinals only once in the playoffs. On Dec. 27, 1975, the host Rams defeated the then-St. Louis Cardinals 35-23 in an NFC divisional-round game.

CURRENT EVENTS: The Rams’ five-game winning streak, which included their victory over the Cardinals, ended with their 27-24 loss to the visiting San Francisco 49ers on Sunday in overtime. The Rams will be without safety Jordan Fuller, who suffered a season-ending ankle injury against the 49ers. Cornerback Darious Williams is being evaluated for a shoulder injury, and safety Taylor Rapp is in the concussion protocol. Quarterback Matthew Stafford played through a toe issue against San Francisco, coach Sean McVay said Monday. The Cardinals’ loss to the Rams started a three-game losing streak. The Cardinals went 1-4 in their last five games. They could be buoyed by the return of defensive lineman J.J. Watt. The three-time NFL defensive player of the year returned from shoulder injuries suffered in late October that required surgery, but he has not been activated to the roster.

Seven things we learned from the Rams’ 27-24 overtime loss to the 49ers on Sunday: No. 1, they weren’t aggressive or tough enough in the second half.

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HOW THEY MATCH UP: Stafford relies mainly on wide receiver Cooper Kupp but also looks to receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Van Jefferson as well as tight end Tyler Higbee. Sony Michel is the main running back, but Cam Akers returned from an Achilles injury and played for the first time this season against the 49ers. Murray is the centerpiece of a Cardinals offense that has missed injured wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.


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