After surging ahead in the NFC West race with a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Los Angeles Rams find themselves playing catchup to the Seattle Seahawks after suffering a 23-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 12 to fall to 7-4 this season. The Seahawks, meanwhile, took care of business against the Philadelphia Eagles to lead the division at 8-3.

Now, the Rams face another team in their division in the 6-5 Arizona Cardinals, who are fresh off a 20-17 loss to the New England Patriots. With both teams coming off painful defeats and with the season down to its last handful of games, the Rams and Cardinals should be eager to get a victory to boost their playoff hopes.

After struggling in their 24-16 loss to San Francisco in Week 6, the Los Angeles offense was once again largely ineffective in its first loss at SoFi Stadium, committing four turnovers and struggling to consistently move the ball. Rams quarterback Jared Goff completed 19-of-31 passes for 198 passing yards, which tied a season-low mark, and he had no touchdowns with two interceptions and one fumble.

The Arizona defense may not be as stingy as San Francisco’s, but they do have a high-scoring offense led by quarterback Kyle Murray. The Cardinals rank second in the league in yards per game with 403.7 and eighth in points per game with 27.6, which means the Rams’ defense, which remains one of the league’s best, will once again be tested. Here are four bold predictions when the Rams visit the Cardinals.

1. Jared Goff bounces back and passes for two touchdowns

After the loss against the 49ers, Rams head coach Sean McVay didn’t mince words about one area for improvement for his team:

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“Our quarterback has got to take better care of the football,” McVay said, per ESPN, referring to his team’s four turnovers.

Goff had three turnovers against San Francisco, including two interceptions and one lost fumble, with one interception being returned 27 yards by 49ers defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw for a touchdown. The 26-year old signal caller, however, agreed with his coach’s assessment and promised to be better.

Via ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry:

“If he was lying I'd feel differently about it – he's absolutely right. I'm a big boy, I can handle it. We have a great relationship and I'm accountable for myself.”

With three turnovers against the Niners, he is now tied with Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins with 14 turnovers this season, the second-most in the NFL, with 10 of them coming in the last four games. Fortunately, after facing the 49ers, who allow just 206.5 passing yards per game (fourth in the league) Goff should face less pressure from the Cardinals.

Arizona’s defense yields an average of 227.2 passing yards per game, which ranks 13th in the league and should bode well for his chances of bouncing back. Goff is no doubt motivated to do better, and he’ll have a chance to answer McVay’s challenge against the Cardinals. The quarterback has had three games this season with no touchdown passes, and he came up big in the following games. This time should be no different.

2. The running backs get going

After rushing for just 37 yards in their win against the Buccaneers, the Rams rushed for a stellar 126 yards against the 49ers, but it wasn’t enough to prevent them from absorbing their fourth loss this season. Most of their rushing yards came from rookie Cam Akers, who scored a 1-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to briefly give Los Angeles the lead and had a 61-yard rush near the end of the third quarter.

Akers had nine carries and 84 rushing yards, but fellow running back Darrell Henderson had just 19 rushing yards on 10 carries, while Malcolm Brown had just four yards on three carries and had his first fumble since 2017. With Los Angeles not getting much on the ground outside of Akers, much was asked of Goff, who had one of his worst games this season.

The good news for the Rams is that the Arizona defense has been porous against the run this season, giving up an average of 123.4 rushing yards per game, which ranks 22nd in the NFL. Henderson, Akers, and Brown should be able to gain more yards on the ground, which will go a long way in helping the Rams get back to their winning ways.

3. Jalen Ramsey does well against old rival DeAndre Hopkins

The game between the Rams and Cardinals is a battle of one of the league’s best defenses against one of the best offenses, and the individual matchup this best captures that is when Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey renews his rivalry against Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. The two players had memorable games back when Ramsey was with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Hopkins was with the Houston Texans, and now they take their rivalry to the NFC West.

According to’s Kevin Patra, in their seven previous meetings, Hopkins averaged 72.4 receiving yards and scored three touchdowns, while Ramsey tallied a total of 27 tackles, one interception and 12 passes defended. Ramsey did well against Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf in Week 10, limiting him to just two catches and 28 receiving yards.

Hopkins, meanwhile, is coming off back-to-back subpar games against the Seahawks and Patriots, finishing with five catches in each game and 51 and 55 receiving yards, respectively. Hopkins will be a big challenge for Ramsey, but if there’s anyone who’s familiar with the four-time Pro Bowler’s game and who loves taking on big challenges, it’s Ramsey.

4. Rams continue their mastery of the Cardinals and pick up a win

Since McVay took over three seasons ago, the Rams have never lost to the Cardinals and have won their last six meetings. Arizona, however, has shown a lot of improvement this season and seem poised to return to the playoffs for the first time in five seasons. Murray has shown a lot of promise in his sophomore year, while Hopkins gives them another weapon on offense, making this Cardinals team the most formidable the Rams have faced in recent years.

The Rams, however, still have one of the league’s best defenses led by Aaron Donald, who has historically done well against the Cardinals and should give Murray a challenge. They also have one of the few players who matches up well against Hopkins in Ramsey. Goff and the offense will be raring to bounce back after a subpar game against the 49ers, and they should be able to do damage against an average Cardinals defense.

The teams will meet again in their regular-season finale, and the Rams hope to win their third division title in four years and return to the playoffs. But to do that, they need to be able to stop the Cardinals’ high-powered offense first. They certainly have the tools to do so, and that, coupled with a highly motivated offense that is coming off a loss, should be enough to continue their mastery of the Cardinals and keep in step in the race for the NFC West.