Los Angeles Rams (2-1) at Arizona Cardinals (1-2)
SERIES HISTORY: 75th regular-season meeting. Cardinals lead series, 37-35-2. The Cardinals played the Rams 30 times between 1964 and 1994, when the Rams were in Los Angeles. The rivalry began in 1937 when the Cardinals were located in Chicago and the Rams were based in Cleveland. Arizona has won 14 of the past 19 meetings, including six of the past nine at home.
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Rams will try to replicate much of what they did offensively against the Bucs last week -- at least the four-touchdown part -- but try to get RB Todd Gurley pointed to a breakout game.
On defense, the Rams' talented defensive line needs to get consistent pressure on quarterback Carson Palmer and force him into mistakes. Palmer threw four interceptions last week against Buffalo, and a similar performance Sunday probably would lead to a Rams victory.
Don't be surprised if the Cardinals shelve some of their deep shots down the field against the Rams and their fearsome front seven. The long balls haven't been working all that well anyway and Palmer is already on pace to get sacked 48 times -- twice as much as a year ago. Look for the Cardinals to try and wear the Rams' defense down with a ground and pound running game anchored by second-year pro David Johnson.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
--Rams DE Robert Quinn vs. Cardinals LT Jared Veldheer. Quinn has faced Arizona nine times and recorded nine sacks. Veldheer has started 35 games since 2014 and anchors the left side of a very talented Cardinals offensive line.
--Rams QB Case Keenum vs. Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson. Not only does the All-Pro cornerback have two interceptions in his past two games, he also has been known to be a rascal of a pass defender against the Rams. In 10 games against them, Peterson has six interceptions, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and 11 passes defensed. He also returned one pick for a touchdown and had two punt returns for touchdowns. His six career picks against the Rams are his most against any NFL team.
INJURY REPORT: RAMS -- Doubtful: DE William Hayes (ankle). Questionable: WR Tavon Austin (shoulder), WR Kenny Britt (thigh), DT Dominique Easley (illness), CB Lamarcus Joyner (toe). CARDINALS -- Out: P Drew Butler (left calf), DT Frostee Rucker (knee). Questionable: CB Justin Bethel (foot), S Tyvon Branch (groin), LB Kareem Martin (knee)
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: RB Todd Gurley. The second-year running back had a slow start to the 2016 season, but he showed some life in the second half of Sunday's win over the Buccaneers, running for 85 yards. The Rams believe he is closing in on a Todd Gurley type break out. If so, it will change the dynamic of the Rams offense as it will open the passing game for Keenum.
FAST FACTS: Rams QB Case Keenum passed for 190 yards and two touchdowns last week as he won for the seventh time in his past 10 starts. ... Rams RB Todd Gurley rushed for 85 yards and two TDs in Week 3. He rushed for 146 yards against Arizona last October. ... Rams DT Aaron Donald has recorded a sack in two of the past three games vs. Arizona. ... Cardinals QB Carson Palmer has recorded 300 passing yards in four of his past six division games. He threw for 356 yards and two scores in the last meeting. ... Cardinals RB David Johnson rushed for 83 yards and two scores last week. He had 99 rushing yards and a receiving TD last time out vs. the Rams. ... LBs Chandler Jones and Markus Golden lead Arizona with three sacks each.
PREDICTION: As rough a time as the Cardinals have had in the first three weeks, it is pretty hard to see them dropping two games behind the Rams. Johnson figures to lead the way to a much-needed home win.
OUR PICK: Cardinals, 24-14.