Rams vs. Arizona Cardinals matchups, how to watch and prediction

Rams wide receiver Allen Robinson celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 18.
Rams wide receiver Allen Robinson celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 18. The Rams look to halt their recent struggles Sunday against the visiting Arizona Cardinals.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Breaking down how the Rams (3-5) and the Arizona Cardinals (3-6) match up heading into their game at 1:25 p.m. PST on Sunday at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. The game will be shown on Fox (Ch. 11) and streamed on the Fox Sports app and NFL+.


When Rams have the ball

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford throws a pass against the Buccaneers.
Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford is questionable for Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals.
(Chris O’Meara / Associated Press)

Quarterback Matthew Stafford is questionable because he’s been in concussion protocol since Tuesday. If Stafford does not play, John Wolford will make his third career start, the second against the Cardinals.


In 2020, Wolford passed for 231 yards and helped lead the Rams to an 18-7 victory that clinched a playoff spot. Wolford also can make plays as a runner.

The Rams’ anemic rushing attack could get a lift from rookie running back Kyren Williams, a fifth-round draft pick who has not played since suffering an ankle injury covering a kickoff in the season opener against the Buffalo Bills.

In a 20-12 victory over the Cardinals in September, Cam Akers rushed for a season-best 61 yards and a touchdown in 12 carries. Receiver Cooper Kupp is second in the NFL with 72 catches, six for touchdowns.

Left tackle Alaric Jackson is doubtful because of a knee injury so Ty Nsekhe could start in his place. Lineman Coleman Shelton will return, probably at left guard.

Cardinals star safety Budda Baker will be a game-time decision, coach Kliff Kingsbury said. Linebackers Jalen Thompson and Zaven Collins are top tacklers for a defense featuring lineman J.J. Watt, who has 4½ sacks.



When Cardinals have the ball

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray scrambles against the Seattle Seahawks on Nov. 6.
(Darryl Webb / Associated Press)

Quarterback Kyler Murray did not practice during the week because of a hamstring injury and Kingsbury said he would be a game-time decision. If Murray does not play, Colt McCoy will start. McCoy, a 12th-year pro, started three games for the Cardinals last season and led them to victory twice.

James Conner and Eno Benjamin are the top running backs. Tight end Zach Ertz has a team-best 46 catches, four for touchdowns. Receiver DeAndre Hopkins did not play against the Rams in September because he was serving a six-game suspension. He has 26 catches, two for touchdowns, in three games. Greg Dortch has two touchdown catches.

The Rams defense played well in a 16-13 defeat to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but it could not stop Tom Brady from engineering a game-winning drive in the final minute. It remains a turnover-starved unit, having missed multiple opportunities for interceptions.

Aaron Donald has a team-best five sacks for a defense that has only 16 and sacked the 45-year-old Brady only once. Linebackers Bobby Wagner and Ernest Jones continue to lead the Rams in tackles. Star cornerback Jalen Ramsey leads a secondary that also includes cornerbacks Troy Hill, David Long and rookie Derion Kendrick.



When they kick

Wagner, the six-time All-Pro linebacker, showed that he also could be effective on special teams when he blocked a field-goal attempt against the Buccaneers last Sunday. Rams kicker Matt Gay has made 11 of 12 field-goal attempts. Matt Prater has made all eight of his field-goal attempts for the Cardinals.

Gary Klein’s prediction: The Rams have dominated the Cardinals under Sean McVay. Despite the possible absence of Stafford, the Rams defense will carry the day against a Cardinals team with a slowed or sidelined Murray.