The 6-5 Arizona Cardinals will host the 7-4 Los Angeles Rams in Week 13 at State Farm Stadium in a classic NFC West matchup. Both teams are coming off losses in Week 12, so moods were tense in practice this week.
The Cardinals have lost two straight games against the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots after defeating the Buffalo Bills in Week 10 on DeAndre Hopkins’ Hail Mary catch. Arizona is in third place in the NFC West. If the playoffs started today, they would be the third Wild Card team in the NFC.
The Rams, meanwhile, fell to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 12. Los Angeles is in second place in the NFC West and currently the fifth seed in the NFC playoff picture.
With the Cardinals and Rams set to kick off soon, let’s take a look at four bold predictions for the contest from an Arizona point of view.
1. Kyler Murray throws two touchdowns, one interception
Cardinals star quarterback Kyler Murray is expected to play against the Rams despite a right shoulder injury. The former No. 1 overall pick hurt his shoulder versus the Seahawks in Week 11.
The Rams have one of the best defenses in the NFL. They are allowing only 19.5 points per game on the season, which is good for fourth in the NFL. Los Angeles has two superstars on that side of the ball in Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey.
In two career games against the Rams, Murray is 0-2 and has thrown two touchdowns and three picks while racking up 488 passing yards. We have the former No. 1 overall pick throwing two touchdowns and one interception in Week 13 versus a Rams’ defense which is going to be hungry after losing to Nick Mullens last week.
In 11 games this season, Murray has thrown 19 touchdown passes and nine interceptions while completing 68.2 percent of his passes. The 23-year-old has compiled 2,814 passing yards.
2. DeAndre Hopkins catches two touchdowns
One of the best wideouts in the NFL, DeAndre Hopkins has been stellar in his first season with the Cardinals. The four-time Pro Bowler has 77 receptions for 967 yards and four touchdowns, with his last score being the Hail Mary catch against the Bills.
The Rams do have one of the top defenders in the league in Ramsey, who will certainly guard Hopkins the entire game. That is going to be a great matchup from start to finish, one which might determine the outcome of the game.
We have Hopkins scoring two touchdowns against the Rams, upping his total to six on the season. It’s not going to be easy since Ramsey is a stud, but the Cardinals are in desperate need of a win after losing two straight games and Murray will certainly not be afraid to go Hopkins’ way just because Ramsey is defending him.
3. Cardinals pick off Jared Goff two times
Rams signal-caller Jared Goff has been a turnover machine as of late. He’s thrown six interceptions over his last four games, including two in Week 12 against the 49ers. The former No. 1 overall pick was called out by Rams head coach Sean McVay for his turnovers after the Week 12 loss, so Goff is under some pressure in Week 13 against the Cardinals.
Against the Cardinals, though, we have Goff continuing to struggle. Arizona is going to pick off Goff two times and help set up Murray and Co. with good field position, something which is important since the Rams’ defense is difficult to score on.
In seven career games against the Cardinals, Goff is 6-1 and has thrown 10 touchdowns and only three interceptions. However, for whatever reason, Goff has regressed this season and may not have similar success in Week 13.
4. Cardinals defeat Rams, improve to 7-5
We have the Cardinals defeating the Rams in Week 13 and improving to 7-5 on the season. Arizona can’t afford to lose three games in a row since the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears are right on their tail for the last Wild Card spot in the NFC.
The Cardinals haven’t defeated the Rams in a long time. In fact, Los Angeles is 5-0 against Arizona over the last five matchups. However, this is a new era for the Cardinals with Murray, Hopkins and head coach Kliff Kingsbury in the fold.
With both the Cardinals and Rams desperate for a win, this Week 13 matchup is set up to be a really good game. Both teams have elite offenses, while the Rams have the superior defense.
Even with that, though, we have the Cardinals pulling off the upset thanks to the heroics of Murray and Hopkins.