Week 17 Tale Of The Tape: Arizona Cardinals At Los Angeles Rams

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 24: Quarterback Carson Palmer #3 of the Arizona Cardinals warms up before a game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on December 24, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 24: Jared Goff #16 of the Los Angeles Rams looks to hand off the ball during the first half against the San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on December 24, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
  • Quarterback
    The cardinals have been one of the most disappointing teams in the NFC, as many observers picked them to represent the conference in the Super Bowl this season. While they came up with a win in Seattle in Week 16, the season has been painful for head coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Carson Palmer.
    The Rams just lost to the 49ers, and the team is in a deep hole as it heads into the offseason. They drafted Jared Goff with the No. 1 pick during the spring, and he appears to be a long way from becoming a productive NFL quarterback. Goff is having a hard time running the offense at an effective level, and there are serious questions about whether he will be able to do that by next year.
  • Offense
    The Cardinals may have endured a brutal season, but it’s not David Johnson’s fault. He has become one of the NFL’s most productive players, as he has run for 1,233 yards with 16 touchdowns and he has 841 receiving yards and four more scores. Larry Fitzgerald remains one of the game’s best route runners and he has excellent hands. J.J. Nelson has explosive speed and can break big plays.
    Todd Gurley should be happy when the Rams name a new head coach because he did not like former head coach Jeff Fisher’s “junior high” offense. Gurley is a powerful runner, but he has been a major disappointment this year. Tavon Austin has gamebreaking speed at the WR spot, and Kenny Britt (shoulder) has had a solid year catching the ball.
  • Defense
    The Cardinals rank third in yardage allowed, but they have had several games where those numbers have not held up. They have allowed 30 or more points in four of their last six games, and that includes giving up a 47-spot to the Saints in Week 15. OLB Markus Golden has a team-high 10.0 sacks, while SS Tony Jefferson leads the team with 96 tackles.
    The Rams have had a solid defense throughout the majority of the season and they rank 10th in yards allowed. However, the defense is quite fatigued because they have gotten no help from the offense. DT Aaron Donald remains a disruptive force and has recorded 8.0 sacks this season, while LB Alec Ogletree has a team-high 132 tackles.
  • Special Teams
    The Cardinals have endured a miserable season on special teams and they would be wise to upgrade this area next year. They have been outgained significantly on punt and kickoff returns, and PK Chandler Catanzaro has missed seven FG attempts and four extra points.
    The Rams can hold their own on special teams with the best teams in the league, and if they have any chance of keeping this game close, it is likely to come because they dominate in this area. Greg Zuerlein and Johnny Hekker form one of the best PK-P duos in the league.
If the Cardinals provide any kind of effort here and are willing to compete, they should win this game with relative ease.