Short-handed, with co-captains Cooper Kupp and Michael Brockers not expected to play because they are on the reserve/COVID-19 list, the Los Angeles Rams will try to extend their streak against the Arizona Cardinals with a postseason berth on the line.
Rams head coach Sean McVay is 7-0 against the Cardinals and defeated them earlier this season 38-28 in Week 13. But this matchup will be much different.
Along with Kupp and Brockers, the Rams also will be missing starting quarterback Jared Goff, out with a broken thumb. Also potentially out are two of the team’s most productive running backs in Darrell Henderson Jr., placed on injured reserve this week, and rookie Cam Akers, who will be a game-time decision with a high ankle sprain.
Starting left tackle Andrew Whitworth also remains out due to a knee issue, along with inside linebacker Micah Kiser (knee).
McVay was asked this week how he expects his team to respond to the adverse situation this season that has party been created due to COVID.
“Guys will be asked to step up and there's something to be said for kind of bonding together and being strong in the face of adversity,” McVay said. “Let’s go compete to the best of our ability and not be afraid to see what happens if we put everything we’ve got into it.”
The Rams (9-6) can clinch a playoff berth with a win or tie against the Cardinals (8-7), or a loss or tie by the Chicago Bears, who host the Green Bay Packers.
Future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald did not play in the earlier matchup because he was on the reserve/COVID list, but will play Sunday.
The Rams are 44-38-2 all-time against the Cardinals, including the postseason.
L.A. opened the week as 5-point favorites; now they are 3-point underdogs.
It should be about 62 degrees and partly cloudy on Sunday in Inglewood, so weather should not be a factor at SoFi Stadium.
Carl Cheffers’ crew will officiate Sunday’s game.
Comment: The Rams are on a two-game losing streak for the first time this season.
Points Per Game
Rams: 23.6 (19)
Cardinals: 26.9 (10)
Comment: The Rams have scored two touchdowns over that last eight quarters.
Rams: 395.2 yards per game (2)
Cardinals: 379.9 yards per game (7)
Comment: Arizona averaging 24.3 first downs a game, No. 3 in the NFL.
Rams: 127.2 yards per game (10)
Cardinals: 145.9 yards per game (3)
Comment: Rams averaging 4.3 yards per attempt, No. 16 in the league.
Rams: 252.7 yards per game (T12)
Cardinals: 250.0 passing yards a game (15)
Comment: DeAndre Hopkins is second in the NFL in receptions (111) and receiving yards (1,372).
Time of possession
Rams: 31:38 (4)
Cardinals: 29:12 (21)
Comment: Cardinals have converted 68 percent of their fourth downs, No. 5 in the league.
Opponents points per game
Rams: 19.3 (3)
Cardinals: 23.3 (14)
Comment: Arizona defense holding teams to 17.7 points per contest over last three games.
Rams: 286.5 yards per game (1)
Cardinals: 353.2 yards per game (14)
Comment: L.A. holding teams to an impressive 4.57 yards per play, tops in the NFL.
Rams: 94.3 yards per game (3)
Cardinals: 126.5 yards per game (23)
Comment: Per Next Gen Stats, Cardinals allowing 4.9 yards per carry on first down runs, tied for No. 28 in NFL.
Rams: 192.3 yards per game (1)
Cardinals: 226.7 yards per game (10)
Comment: Cardinals allowing 6.39 yards per passing play, No. 7 in NFL.
Rams: 49/324 yards (2)
Cardinals: 46/318 yards (T4)
Comment: Haasan Reddick leads the Cardinals with 12.5 sacks.
Rams: 66/617 yards (2)
Cardinals: 107/830 yards (32)
Comment: Patrick Peterson the most penalized player (13) on the most penalized team in the NFL.
Rams: 13 (T11)
Cardinals: 10 (T18)
Comment: Dre Kirkpatrick and Peterson lead Arizona with three INTs apiece.
Rams: minus-2 (20)
Cardinals: minus-1 (19)
Comment: Rams have at least one turnover in every game this season, 23 overall on the year.