The Cardinals know they are facing an improved bunch in this year’s version of the Rams, however.
Arizona is 5-0-1 in its past six games against NFC West opponents and 9-3-1 in its past 13 vs. the division, which marks the fourth-best winning percentage (.731) for a team against its own division during that span.
The bodies are the same, but the structure of the defense is totally different, Arians said. They’re still very aggressive. (Defensive Coordinator) Wade Phillips is one of the best coaches there is, and Robert Quinn, Aaron Donald and Alec Ogletree, they’re all the same guys, but they’re in different structures but still very dangerous.
The way Smith’s game has progressed was on display on Sunday night in the Chiefs’ 42-34 win over the Texans. He completed 29 of 37 passes for 324 yards and three touchdowns. In the first half, the Chiefs converted seven of 10 third down attempts. Every single successful third down in that half came on a pass from Smith. He was able to spread the ball around, hitting 10 different receivers en route to the 42-34 win.
He did it with Travis Kelce sidelined for most of the game and on a relatively quiet day for rookie sensation Kareem Hunt, who was held out of the end zone.
Kelce left the game in the second quarter to be evaluated for a concussion, but he was cleared to return. He was out again with a possible head injury in the second half. Kelce still contributed while he was on the field. Even in limited action, he was the team’s leading receiver with eight catches for 98 yards.
Hunt didn’t make much of a difference in the game, even though he still finished with 107 rushing yards. That’s a low-key performance for the rookie whose second-half rushing total alone was more than any other running back this season. Against the Texans, Smith showed he is able to guide these Chiefs to a win even without outrageous production from Hunt.