The Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams both may need to win on Sunday, and the Cardinals will have Kyler Murray while the Rams won’t have Jared Goff.
There is a scenario, if the Chicago Bears lose to the Green Bay Packers in the same schedule window, where the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams will both make the playoffs regardless of who wins on Sunday. But while the Rams won’t have Jared Goff after thumb surgery, Kyler Murray told the Cardinals’ website he will play in what amounts to a must-win game.
Murray suffered a lower leg injury late in last week’s loss to the San Francisco 49ers. But after practicing on Wednesday, he declared he’s good to go for Sunday.
Kyler Murray said his leg feels fine and he will be ready to go against the Rams: “There’s no holding back. If we lose, I’ll be home chillin’.”
— Kyle Odegard (@Kyle_Odegard) December 30, 2020
Since the Hail Mary to beat the Buffalo Bills in Week 19, the Cardinals have lost four of six to drop to 8-7. Murray suffered a right shoulder injury in Week 11 against Seattle, and in the weeks since then, his running prowess has practically gone away.
Kyler Murray gives the Cardinals the advantage
With Murray’s status up in the air, there was a chance we would see starting quarterbacks who have yet to throw an NFL regular-season pass for the Rams and the Cardinals on Sunday. The Rams will of course be going with John Wolford. But former CFL-er Chris Streveler was declared the No. 2 quarterback over Brett Hundley, so he would have gotten the nod if Murray was unable to play.
Even a little banged up and not differentiating himself as a runner lately, Murray automatically gives the Cardinals an advantage over the Rams and Wolford. The Rams’ offense has also been depleted by COVID-19 (Cooper Kupp) and injuries beyond Goff (Darrell Henderson, Cam Akers).
It’s no surprise Murray will be on the field Sunday, as the Cardinals’ playoff hopes may depend on a win. How all-around effective he’ll be is another matter, but it won’t take an offensive masterpiece if the Arizona defense holds down the Rams’ offense as expected.