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NFL West showdown: Predictions for Arizona Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Rams

Posted at 8:52 PM, Sep 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-16 15:12:53-04

The Arizona Cardinals were easily dispatched by the visiting Washington Redskins in their season opener last weekend -- and the road won't get any easier for the Cards on Sunday.

Larry Fitzgerald and the Cardinals will head to Los Angeles for an NFC West division showdown with the Los Angeles Rams, who won the division last season and are heavy favorites to repeat. The Rams are coming off a 33-13 win at the Oakland Raiders on Monday Night Football.

SEE ALSO: Larry Fitzgerald lists Arizona mansion for $5 million

Can the Cards get back on track, or will they fall to 0-2? Here are a pair of predictions from the ABC15 sports team.

ABC15 sports director Craig Fouhy

The Rams come into the game as 13-point favorites, but I’m not convinced the Cards can keep it that close.

There’s a huge question mark right now with right tackle Andre Smith still nursing a sore elbow, and new quarterback Sam Bradford didn’t exactly light it up against a mediocre Redskins defense. The Rams' defense will be much better than what the Cardinals faced a week ago -- and for that matter, so is the Rams' offense.

David Johnson must be more involved than he was in Week 1, but I’m not sure he’ll get that chance this weekend because the Rams' defense is that good. Shut down Johnson and you slow the entire Cardinals offense. Rams 34, Cardinals 10 sportswriter Shane Dale

It's tough to win the in the NFL -- or at any level of football, for that matter -- if you don't have the guys up front. The Cardinals are already down one offensive lineman and could be without another (Andre Smith) Sunday. Combine that with the Rams' defensive line, which might be the most feared in the all of the NFL, and Sam Bradford could be running for his life in Los Angeles.

The Cardinals' No. 1 strength last season was their rushing defense, but they got torched last weekend by 33-year-old Adrian Peterson and the Washington Redskins. Enter Todd Gurley, who's rapidly turning into the second coming of Marshall Faulk for the Rams. Gurley feasted on the Cardinals in both of their matchups last year, and there's no reason to think he won't do so again Sunday.

The Cardinals will need to force turnovers vs. the Rams in order to be competitive. After forcing a bunch of them in the preseason, the Cards only got one (a meaningless fumble recover late in the game) last weekend. If they fail to get more takeaways Sunday -- and if Bradford isn't more accurate than he was a week ago -- it will be a very, very long day for the Birdgang. Rams 37, Cardinals 10