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Arizona vs. Los Angeles Prediction: Struggling NFC West Rivals Meet for the Second Time This Season

Both teams enter with two-game losing streaks and quarterback health concerns.

The Rams and Cardinals are set for their second meeting of the season on Sunday, with the loser of this falling to the bottom of the NFC West and potentially out of the playoff picture.

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Los Angeles led the whole way in the Week 3 matchup, as a 13-6 halftime advantage resulted in a 20-12 victory over Arizona. It was an odd contest as both teams combined for six field goals and only two touchdowns, with one of those being a Cooper Kupp rushing score. The wideout had just four receptions for 44 yards in the victory. Meanwhile, Kyler Murray went 37-for-58 for 314 yards with Marquise "Hollywood" Brown (who is currently on injured reserve) accounting for 14 catches for 140 yards.

Since then, the Cardinals (3-6) have won just two of their last six games and enter this contest with back-to-back losses. Seattle completed its season sweep of Arizona in a 32-21 road victory last Sunday. Despite a slow start and a pick-six thrown by Geno Smith, the Seahawks still racked up 421 yards on a mediocre Cardinals defense. Murray had two touchdown passes and was the team's leading rusher, but he also was seen getting into it a little bit with DeAndre Hopkins, who has been one of his favorite targets in the short time he's been back.

The Rams (3-5) also have been struggling, losers of two in a row and four of their last five following a heartbreaking 16-13 defeat at Tampa Bay. Los Angeles was seemingly poised for the win after getting a turnover on downs with less than two minutes to play and leading 13-9, but the offense went three-and-out and Tom Brady got the ball back with 44 seconds left and drove his team 60 yards in seven plays (with no timeouts) for the game-winning touchdown. The Rams continued to sputter on offense with Matthew Stafford finishing with 138 net passing yards and the team averaging just 2.8 yards per carry.

Arizona (3-6) at Los Angeles (3-5)

Kickoff: Sunday, Nov. 13 at 4:25 p.m. ET
Live Stream: fuboTV (Start your free trial)
Spread: Rams -3
Tickets: As low as $36 on

Three things to Watch

1. Intangibles
The Cardinals are in the midst of an 11-week stretch that alternates home and road contests. Next week, they host the 49ers on "Monday Night Football" as the first of two meetings with the division rival. Arizona has one of the later bye weeks, as they are still three weeks away from their time off.

The Rams are ending a stretch of four home contests over their last five with a bye week in there as well. L.A. is playing poor football, so focus shouldn't be an issue, but many Arizona fans will make the trip, so it's unclear how much of a home-field advantage the Rams will have.

2. Grounded
Both teams are very one-dimensional since neither is getting anything from their rushing attack. 

Last week, the Cardinals averaged 5.8 yards per carry, but a lot of the work came from Murray, who rushed for 60 yards on eight carries. Four different players have been leading rushers for Arizona, with only Murray hitting the 100-yard mark — and that was Week 6 in Seattle when he had exactly 100 yards.

Meanwhile, the Rams had three different running backs touch the ball and none of them were really that spectacular. Cam Akers finally returned but managed just three yards on five carries. The two teams need to get some sort of balance to take pressure off their defense.

Getting something going on the ground will be especially important considering the health of their quarterbacks. Murray has been limited in practice this week by a hamstring issue and is a game-time decision, while Stafford is questionable after dealing with a concussion. It won't help either offense if the team has to turn to its backup signal-caller, which is Colt McCoy for the Cardinals and John Wolford for the Rams. 

3. DeAndre Hopkins
Hopkins has 26 receptions on 32 targets in three games since returning from a PED suspension. Fifteen of those receptions led to first downs, so his success will mean a lot to the team's success overall. If it's any indication, Murray's passer rating has jumped from 81.8 to 98.7 since his return.

The Rams were able to hold him in check last year, as 20 targets turned into nine receptions for 121 yards and no touchdowns. It's not like he was great in 2020 against them, either, as Jalen Ramsey shadowed the great receiver all over the field. If they can hold Hopkins down again, LA should be able to coast to victory.

Final Analysis

These two teams are playing ugly football, and that should continue on Sunday, especially given the uncertain health status of both starting quarterbacks. There are some fundamental flaws with both teams that continued to get exposed on a week-to-week basis. The Rams figure to win this contest easily, but my one concern is that the veterans start to grumble over the losses and struggle with the possibility that they might miss the playoffs. I think this one is a victory, though, for the home team.

Prediction: Rams 24, Cardinals 16

— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.

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