Arizona’s defense led all teams this preseason in takeaways. They boasted a solid defensive backfield. There were actually articles written that Sam Bradford and Larry Fitzgerald could provide the veteran leadership needed for David Johnson and the Cardinals to surprise the league with a run at the Rams for the NFC West title.
That notion was put to bed rather quickly. Bradford was replaced by rookie Josh Rosen and cut altogether before even Buffalo was playing in cold weather.
Rookie coach Steve Wilks worked to enforce his will on players and made several more cuts and depth chart moves that had observers wondering if he would survive the season.
But a funny thing is happening in Arizona. They’re still losing games, of course. But the team sounds more like a team that believes in their coach. That can’t be a bad thing.
The Rams don’t care. Sean McVay is facing a rare moment of adversity. The mighty Rams just lost two straight to the Bears and Eagles. Chicago used their mighty defense to let their own offense score just enough to win.
But Philadelphia used a backup quarterback, a rookie rusher with a bad back, and a defensive backfield largely signed off the street.
Jared Goff is not only looking human. He looks like he is having Jeff Fisher flashbacks and can’t find reality. Todd Gurley is nursing an injury and no one is providing the spark or security Cooper Kupp provided in the slot.
Just Arizona’s luck to face the Rams when they need an assertive victory to make things right again.
Injuries and notes:
McVay says Gurley is day-to-day with a knee injury. Although Gurley says he can play, McVay has to be tempted to rest him as the playoffs approach. He has to be careful though with the Bears lurking just one game back and ready to take the first round bye if the Rams drop a game.
There are no other injuries listed on either side.
Steve Wilks has his work cut out for him, but at least he knows he got rid of some bad wood before rebuilding in earnest next season. He might be pressured to put in a new offensive coordinator to nurture Rosen, but Wilks will be back.
McVay is facing his toughest challenge yet and everybody in the league is watching to see what happens. The team is suddenly considered vulnerable in the playoffs. His team is still engaged and that shows what kind of coach McVay is. Short of a total meltdown, he will be running the show for a long time in LA.
How to watch the Cardinals-Rams game
Fans in Southern California and Arizona can watch this game for free on DirecTV Now, Fubo TV, or Sling. These are all leading providers of internet television. They offer all the local and national networks you need to follow your favorite NFL team all season long.
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There is no expensive equipment required to watch internet based television on your big screen TV or your smartphone. And they’ll never lock you into a contract. You pay as you go and cancel anytime.
By taking advantage of their standard no-obligation trial period, you can watch this weekend’s games for free! Check out the DirecTV Now, Sling, and Fubo TV websites for details.
Who will win the Cardinals-Rams game?
Arizona is looking better, but they are still losing games. That trend won’t stop this week with the Rams badly in need of a decisive victory to feel good about themselves.