The 3-3 Arizona Cardinals will play their first-ever regular-season game in the United Kingdom on Sunday when they take on the 4-2 Los Angeles Rams in a key NFC West division matchup.
The Cardinals are coming off a 38-33 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in which Adrian Peterson rushed for over 100 yards and two touchdowns in his AZ debut. But the much-improved Rams come into Sunday's game with the NFC West's best record.
Can AP and the Cards keep the momentum going in London? Here are a pair of predictions from the ABC15 sports team.
ABC15 sports anchor Jason Snavely
Hold on to your crumpets: This should be a good one, folks. After long flights over the pond for both teams, it’s fitting this matchup will be decided through the air. The outcome will largely depend on which team’s secondary performs better.
With Patrick Peterson likely lined up against Sammy Watkins, that leaves Justin Bethel (and/or Tramon Williams) with the challenge of holding down guys like Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp and Mike Thomas. But let’s be honest: No matter who’s lined up outside, if Patrick Peterson’s not on him -- he has a chance to have a big day.
I expect Larry Fitzgerald and Carson Palmer to continue to be the Rams killers that they are. Palmer has thrown for over 275 yards in three of his last four games against the Cardinals’ division rival, and some of Fitzgerald’s best performances have also come against the Rams.
If Bethel/Williams can hold their own -- I know that’s a big if -- and Palmer has enough time to pick apart the Rams’ defense, I think the Cardinals eek out a crucial win in London on Sunday.
Cardinals 35, Rams 31
ABC15.com sportswriter Shane Dale
Adrian Peterson ran wild last weekend against Tampa Bay, which boasts one of the NFL's best run defenses. Imagine what he can do against the Rams, who are the NFL's fourth-worst team in yards allowed per game (139.5) and per carry (4.8). The Rams boast one of the best pass rushes in football, so Peterson's ability to keep the Rams honest on defense and give Carson Palmer time to throw will be crucial.
The health of the Cardinals' other Peterson -- that All-Pro cornerback named Patrick -- could determine Sunday's outcome. Tampa feasted on the Cardinals during the fourth quarter when Peterson was forced out of the game with a quad injury. P2 will play Sunday, but will he be anywhere close to 100 percent?
I actually think this is a good matchup for the Cardinals. Rams running back Todd Gurley is having a stellar third NFL season, but the Cards are one of the NFL's best teams against the run and they kept Tampa RB Doug Martin in check last weekend. They should get some pressure on Rams second-year QB Jared Goff. Palmer has been outstanding when he's had time to throw this season, and Arizona's offensive line played its best game of the year last weekend.
Look for the Cards to head back to the States with a key division victory and an above-.500 record for the first time since 2015.