Trap Game Awaits Rams in Arizona

Updated: December 1, 2017

After the Rams’ hard fought win against the New Orleans Saints the Rams travel to Glendale Arizona to take on the Cardinals. This represents an easier portion of the schedule after a stretch that had a lot of tough defenses. They are now 8-3 and maintain a half game lead over a Seattle team that is crumbling and face a tough home game against the NFC leading Eagles. Los Angeles could be in trap game territory because they pistol whipped the Cardinals 31-0 across the pond. The Rams still have a lot to gain and even more to lose should they fall to the trap door spider that is the Cardinals.

Arizona is a lot less intimidating than they were back in London. Adrian Peterson was a week removed from a resurgent performance and Carson Palmer was beginning to turn it around. The Rams took out Palmer and since London Peterson has seemingly disappeared. They now have Blaine Gabbert at the helm and he looked competent in his start against Jacksonville last week. Larry Fitzgerald has remained productive and the defense still has a solid foundation. The Rams could very well blow out the Cardinals or even do just enough to get the win but they have their own set of issues.

The Rams defense lost linebacker Connor Barwin for at least four weeks following surgery to repair a broken forearm. That means that Robert Quinn and Alec Olgetree need to step up. Quinn has been quiet all year and he seemed to assert himself in last week’s game. Ogletree has been in on a lot of tackles this season but he constantly looks lost in Wade Phillips’ defense and seems to be relying on athleticism. His contract extension was perhaps a bet that his skill as a linebacker will one day match his athletic ability. That moment has yet to pass but Sunday could mark a turning point in that area.

On offense the Rams are still without Robert Woods for at least two more weeks and now Josh Reynolds is nursing an ankle injury. He’ll likely be okay but that means Jared Goff will have to continue to find open targets. This could be the game where the Rams go tight end heavy and if Gurley can get going, the play action will serve them well all day. The Cardinals offense will have trouble scoring as Aaron Donald will get a ton of pressure on Blaine Gabbert. Still, there’s a scenario in which the Rams have trouble moving the ball and the defense struggles to make key stops.

The Rams can’t afford to lose ground in the race for a first round bye. The Vikings have a tough game against the surging Falcons and the Saints play the Panthers. They also can’t allow Seattle the chance to gain ground in the division. Seattle is only a half game behind the Rams and could very well beat Philly and Jacksonville. If that comes to pass they will have the chance to take the division from the Rams when the two meet in three weeks. A Rams-Cardinals game seems very low stakes post Thanksgiving but a loss could really hurt the Rams’ post season prospects. In the word’s of one of a great military leader IT’S A TRAP!

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