Cardinals go into Wild Card game with 1-9 record vs. Rams’ Sean McVay

Jan 12, 2022, 8:50 AM | Updated: 8:56 am
Head coach Sean McVay of the Los Angeles Rams reacts on the sidelines during a 27-24 loss to the Sa...
Head coach Sean McVay of the Los Angeles Rams reacts on the sidelines during a 27-24 loss to the San Francisco 49ers at SoFi Stadium on January 09, 2022 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay has owned the Arizona Cardinals.

His record against his NFC West division rival speaks for itself.

Since taking over at the helm of the Rams in 2017, McVay is a whopping 9-1 against the Cardinals.

And since head coach Kliff Kingsbury took over in 2019, Arizona is 1-5 against Los Angeles.

However, the lone Cardinals win came this season with a 37-20 victory in Week 4 at SoFi Stadium, where Arizona will play the Rams in the Wild Card round on Monday.

Of the six games Kingsbury has coached against McVay over three seasons, two have been one-score games and both were the second matchups of the season (2019, 2021).

Last year’s regular-season finale — which basically served as a playoff game in Week 17 — featured both teams’ backup quarterbacks in Chris Streveler and John Wolford. It ended in an 18-7 Rams victory. A Cardinals win would have clinched the first postseason berth for Kingsbury and quarterback Kyler Murray.

A common theme in five of the six games between Kingsbury and McVay isn’t an anomaly: Whoever runs the most plays and wins the turnover battle has won the game, with the only outlier being the aforementioned double-backup QB contest to end last year.

In those five matchups that went with the turnover battle, Murray has thrown for a combined six interceptions compared to only two picks thrown by Rams quarterbacks, which is split evenly between Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff. The Cardinals also fumbled the ball four times compared to the Rams’ two.

A commonality that took place in 2021 is that Arizona ran more plays, outgained and out-possessed L.A. in each meeting.

The Cardinals put up 465 yards on 75 plays in over 35 minutes of possession while Los Angeles garnered 401 yards on 64 plays in just under 25 minutes in the lone victory over the Rams for Kingsbury and Murray. Los Angeles fumbled once and Stafford threw one interception while Arizona kept the golden goose egg in the turnover column in Week 4.

But in Week 14’s 30-23 loss at State Farm Stadium, the Cardinals’ 447 total yards of offense on 75 plays wasn’t enough as Murray threw two picks. Meanwhile, the Rams didn’t turn the ball over. Los Angeles also only needed to run 54 plays on offense to gain 356 total yards, 267 of which came through the air.

If history has taught us anything about when these two division rivals meet — especially under Kingsbury and McVay — it’s that the team that can take care of the football and not give up points off turnovers will most likely be advancing to the NFC Divisional round.

The Cardinals face the Rams in the Wild Card round at 6:15 p.m. on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

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