Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams Matchup Preview 12/29/19: Analysis, Betting Corner

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TV Schedule

Date: Sunday, December 29, 2019
Time: 4:25 PM ET
Location: LA Memorial Coliseum (Los Angeles, CA)
Coverage: FOX

Arizona Cardinals Analysis

Arizona CardinalsThe Cardinals are coming off a great upset win against the Seahawks last week. Kyler Murray is currently listed as questionable. If he is able to play, the offense can be dynamic overall. Running back Kenyan Drake has run wild in the past two weeks. With 3 of their 5 wins on the road this year, they are capable of putting up a fight wherever they play. They have won back-to-back games and have nothing to lose in this division matchup. With only 4 losses by more than 10 points, they have had their fair share of close games.
 

Arizona Cardinals Depth Chart

QB: Kyler Murray
RB1: Kenyan Drake
RB2: David Johnson
WR1: Larry Fitzgerald
WR2: Christian Kirk
WR3: KeeSean Johnson
TE: Charles Clay

Los Angeles Rams Analysis

Los Angeles RamsThe Rams have been eliminated from playoff contention. With numerous superstars on this team, no playoff bid is disappointing. Yet and still, they have had to play the Seahawks and 49ers four times this year in a stacked NFC West. The likes of Todd Gurley, Jalen Ramsey, Aaron Donald, Cooper Kupp, among others make their star talent much more superior to the Cardinals. If everyone that is healthy plays, look for them to try and end the year on a good note.
 

Los Angeles Rams Depth Chart

QB: Jared Goff
RB1: Todd Gurley
RB2: Malcolm Brown
WR1: Brandin Cooks
WR2: Robert Woods
WR3: Cooper Kupp
TE: Gerald Everett

Passing Game

Kyler Murray was limited at practice Thursday. If he is not able to play, backup Brett Hundley will be next in line. Although Kyler was subpar through the air last week, he tends to make plays at the right times. His threat as a runner will also help give him a better chance to get going through the air this week. Despite the name recognition of the Rams defense, there have been games when they have not clicked defensively. As a result, Kyler could go for 200+ passing yards in the last game of his rookie campaign.

Jared Goff ranks as the 16th best QB in regards to fantasy production. A rough stretch in the middle of the season has a lot to do with that. For someone regarded as a game manager by many, he has actually played really well the past 4 weeks. In their last matchup with the Cardinals, Goff went for 424 yards and 2 TDs. That was only 4 weeks ago, so look for the Cardinals defense to make adjustments. Regardless, the secondary has not done well all year for the Cardinals.

Running Game

Running back Kenyan Drake may be the sole reason for the back-to-back victories of the Cardinals. Over the past two weeks, he has 303 yards and 6 TDs. Ranking 22nd in run defense, look for him to keep this hot streak going against the Rams defense. He will have a heavy workload, especially with Kyler Murray not being fully healthy. He had a 100 yard performance earlier this season against the 49ers defense. Look for him to solidify his spot long-term in the final game of the season. Backup David Johnson has the ability to be productive if Drake struggles, but he has only gotten a total of 12 carries the past 4 weeks.

Todd Gurley ranks 11th in fantasy production this year. He has not had a 100-yard game all year. His 2nd best outing for yards came against these Cardinals. With at least a touchdown in 5 of the last 6 games, he will be used heavily in the red zone. If Goff is able to get going early and be aggressive, he will have some success. Given that this game has very low stakes, the Rams may be conservative in his usage.

Receiving Game

Receiver Christian Kirk did not play well last week, failing to catch any of his five targets. The Cardinals don’t have much to play for, so their offensive aggression and wide receivers will be subpar as a result. Fitzgerald is the only other wide receiver to truly worry about. Given their lack of depth at this position, Larry may have a solid game to close out this season.

Cooper Kupp is their clear top option, but he has gone relatively cold in the 2nd half of the season. After starting the season with 5 100-yard games in the first 8 games, he has yet to have one since Week 8. Regardless, he continues to be a threat to get the ball in the endzone, with a score in each game the past 4 weeks. With Kupp being in somewhat of a slump, speedy wideout Robert Woods has picked up the pace. In the Week 13 matchup against the Cardinals, he went for 172 yards. The Cardinals will try to limit his targets as much as possible.  

Betting Corner

The Los Angeles Rams are much more beatable at home this year than last, with three home losses. A devastating loss last week against the 49ers by 3 points may have killed their spirits. The Rams are favored by 7.5 points, but the Cardinals will certainly keep this close early. If Jared Goff is aggressive early, there should be no reason for them to lose. If the Cardinals make adjustments to limit Woods or Kupp in the 1st half, this game could go either way.

  
I am an undergraduate at Carnegie Mellon University studying economics and business. I serve as a member for the Sports Analytics Club at CMU. My interests include data analysis, fantasy, player projections, and performance evaluation.

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