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Free Pick: Arizona (3-0) at LA Rams (3-0) 10/3/21
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Free Pick: Arizona (3-0) at LA Rams (3-0) 10/3/21

This is an early NFC West showdown between the Rams and the Cardinals. LA is coming off an impressive beatdown of Tampa Bay and are riding high. Meanwhile, Arizona has a great win over Tennessee on the road and have followed that up with wins against Minnesota and Jacksonville. Both teams are exciting offensively and this has a chance to be the game of the week. Let’s break in down.

Quarterback: The Cardinals are led by the exciting, Kyler Murray, who has passed for 1005 yards and has completed 77% of his passes. He has 7 touchdown passes but he has thrown four interceptions which is a concern. He is also a threat to run but they have limited his carries so far this season. The Rams traded for Matthew Stafford in the offseason and through three games he has been as good as they could have hoped. He has thrown for 942 yards and nine touchdowns with only 1 interception and he has shown leadership in the process. Slight Advantage: Rams

Running Backs: Arizona is led in rushing by Chase Edmunds and James Conner who have gained 257 yards between them. The Rams rely on Darrel Henderson and Sony Michel who have similar stats. Advantage: Neither

Receivers: The Cardinals have a trio of receivers for Murray to throw to including, Christian Kirk (15 receptions for 239 yards and 2 TD’s), Rondale Moore, (13 for 183 and 1 TD) and DeAndre Hopkins (13 for 158 and 3 touchdowns. The Rams will counter with Cooper Kupp who has joined up with Stafford to form a dynamic pass-catch duo. He has 25 catches for 367 yards and 5 touchdowns through games. Robert Woods and tight end, Tyler Higbee have 22 catches a for 240 yards between them. Slight Advantage: Arizona

Defense: There’s not much to choose from on defense between these two teams. The Cardinals appear vulnerable against the run (140 yards allowed per game), but the Rams don’t run it that well. The Rams secondary has been leaky and Murray could exploit that. However, the Rams pass rush has accumulated 9 sacks and last week sacked Tom Brady three times and harassed him all day long. Their pass rush could be the difference in the game, but also keep in mind, Murray can scramble whereas Brady is long past those days. Advantage: Rams

At the end of this one on Sunday, the winner will have sole possession in the NFC West with a 4-0 record. And if Seattle beats the 49ers, both of those teams will be 2-2. This is a huge game for both but, more important for the Rams, because they are at home. LA was sky-high for Tampa Bay last week and will they be able to reach that emotion again for this game against a very good Arizona team. The Rams are a 6.5 point favorite.


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