The Arizona Cardinals face their biggest test in this young NFL season.
In Week 4, the high-flying Cards head to the City of Angels to take on the Los Angeles Rams. Both teams are off to a 3-0 start and are riding high into this battle of unbeatens.
The list of similarities between the two opponents is a long one. Both teams are trying to rebound from disappointing 2020 campaigns. Both head coaches came into the 2021 season under a lot of pressure to win. And both teams are led by quarterbacks near the top of the MVP conversation.
So far, so good for these teams as they now head into a massive NFC West showdown. While many experts pegged the Rams as Super Bowl contenders, most picked the Cardinals to finish last in the division. After an upset win over Tennessee, surviving against Minnesota and underperforming in a win against Jacksonville, Arizona could use Week 4 as a “measuring-stick game” of sorts.
Arizona Cardinals Fly Into LA As Road Dogs
As expected, Arizona sports betting oddsmakers are projecting that the home team will walk away with the victory on Sunday. Across the sportsbook landscape, you can find the Cardinals at anywhere from 4-point to 5-point underdogs.
Both teams are 2-1 against the spread so far this year. The over/under for the game is at total points.
Arizona Cardinals (3-0) at Los Angeles Rams (3-0)
Date: Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021
Time: 1:05 p.m. MST
Location: SoFi Stadium — Inglewood, CA
TV Coverage: FOX
NFL MVP Front-Runners Go Head-to-Head
Three weeks into the NFL season, no MVP discussion can be had without mentioning the two quarterbacks in this game: Kyler Murray for the Cardinals and Matthew Stafford for the Rams. Most sportsbooks have both QBs in the top 5 in their MVP odds. In fact, BetMGM Arizona, DraftKings AZ and the Caesars Arizona sportsbook have Murray at number one. Meanwhile, WynnBet Arizona has Stafford as the favorite to win the award.
Although both average over 300 passing yards per game, oddsmakers expect the Rams to slow down Murray a bit in this game. According to FanDuel AZ, the over/under for Kyler Murray passing yards is at 275. His over/under for rushing yards is at 35. While much attention gets paid to Murray’s legs, he has done most of his damage with his arm so far this season. Right now, he is only averaging 23.3 rushing yards per game through three weeks.
Meanwhile, Stafford’s over/under for passing yards for the game is at 292, and his over/under for touchdown passes sits at two.
Can Cards High-Flying Offense Get Past the Rams’ Star-Studded Defense?
For the Cardinals to pull off a win, they will likely need to match the Rams score-for-score. Through the first three weeks of the season, Arizona is tied for first in points per game (34.3) and ranks second in yards per game (432.3.) However, it will be a tough matchup against a Rams defense that ranks in the top 10 in points allowed per game. (20.7)
Los Angeles’ defense features two players in the top 15 on the NFL’s Top 100 list. That includes cornerback Jalen Ramsay, who will see a lot of Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, and three-time defensive player of the year Aaron Donald. Finding a way to limit their impact on the game is expected to be the number goal for Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury.
As it stands, according to DraftKings, Arizona’s over/under totals for points and touchdowns sit at 24.5 and 2.5, respectively.