Cardinals vs. Rams: PFF matchups and grades

USA TODAY Sports

A look at the matchups based on the football analytics site.

Many here on this site often quote Profootballfocus.com (PFF) stats to support or to refute arguments. While most acknowledge they are not the be-all-end-all of player grading, they are accepted as the gold standard for their detail and research. This year Profootballfocus.com has created visual aids to help show their player grades of teams. PFF uses these images with each player graded by a color coded system. For veterans their previous year is used, for rookies and injured players PFF has used the preseason as a guide. The author of these charts admits that this isn't the best way to grade players but for week one it is really the only way they can grade them. After each PFF will update the image showing the progress/decline of each player within the team's offense/defense. We should expect to see a lot of changes in their grading system.

For week one I have taken PFF's images and spliced the Cardinals offense/defense with the Rams defense/offense. While you may not agree with their rankings, they are good for a different perspective on matching up with a team.

Color Legend:
Blue: Elite
Dark Green: High Quality
Green: Above Average
Yellow: Average
Dark Orange: Below Average
Red: Poor

Cardinals' Offense vs. Rams' Defense

Az_o_vs_stl_d_medium

Based on the image it looks like Arizona's offense is out classed by the Rams defense. While the defense does not have any blue chip players their defense is very balanced. Based on the image it looks like the Cardinals line will be in for a long day.

Notable Rankings:

Andre Roberts and Michael Floyd are both considered poor players by PFF which undermines the belief of many fans that our "big three" is very good.

Paul Fanaika: PFF obviously think Fanaika is not very good. Let's hope Bruce Arians sees something they don't.

Rob Housler: Dropping passes in the end zone and poor run blocking hurt his grade significantly.

Cardinals' Defense vs. Rams' Offense

Az_d_vs_stl_o_medium

PFF is more optimistic with the Cardinals defense though overall the defense doesn't appear to be the same one that got them a top ten ranking with PFF last year.

Notable Rankings

Darnell Dockett: PFF was harsh on DD last year and through preseason he hasn't inspired. Let's hope he can turn it around.

Sam Acho: This surprised me; Acho is solid in run defense and pass protection but struggles at getting to the passer. I'm surprised that PFF sees Acho as a poor player.

Tyrann Mathieu: PFF loved the ‘Honey Badgers' preseason as they graded him as ‘High Quality.' That is a strong endorsement from harsh critics.

Jasper Brinkley and Jerraud Powers: Apparently if you struggle in pass protection you get mauled by PFF's rankings. Both struggled in space. With Brinkley we know Daryl Washington can fix that, with Powers we will just have to bank on him improving.

Overall:

I'll keep it simple; both teams have really highly graded players as well as some really poorly graded players and so this game looks like a complete crap-shoot. The only team in the NFC West that looks good starter-to-starter is the San Francisco 49ers.

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