Cardinals vs. Rams: NFL Wild Card betting odds, preview, and pick
A pair of fierce division rivals will square off for the third time this season when the Arizona Cardinals visit the Los Angeles Rams on Monday night.
Tue, January 18 2022, 1:15 AM
Cardinals hoping road magic continues
The final remaining unbeaten team in the NFL this season, Arizona started 7-0 before a defeat to the Packers on a stunning last-second interception flipped their season on its head. Kyler Murray was injured on the play, causing him to miss multiple games, and the Cardinals went just 4-5 the remainder of the season.
Losers of four of their last five, the one positive the Cardinals can point to heading into this game is the fact they are 8-1 away from home, including a win in Los Angeles in Week 4. Murray completed 69% of his throws this season, throwing for 24 touchdowns and adding another five on the ground. He also fumbled 13 times this season, with the Cardinals somehow recovering all of them.
However, the offense has struggled since the loss of DeAndre Hopkins in Week 14. The Cardinals have averaged just 20.8 points per game over the last four weeks, and they have scored touchdowns on just five drives of at least 40 yards in that span. Hopkins will miss this game, and Christian Kirk will have to contend with Jalen Ramsey shadowing him all night.
DeAndre Hopkins' absence has been devastating for Kyler Murray and the Cardinals passing attack (via @SportsInfo_SIS)— Graham Barfield (@GrahamBarfield) January 11, 2022
With Nuk on field, Arizona is 1st in yards per attempt (8.8) and 3rd-best in EPA per play (0.21).
Without Nuk? They're 16th in YPA (7.0) and 24th in EPA (0.0). pic.twitter.com/ZsPPlx8mvi
The defense will want to get after Matthew Stafford, who injured his toe against the 49ers last week and will likely be unable to run much. Arizona was one of the best teams in the NFL at getting to the quarterback in the first half of the season, but finished ranked 14th as they faded down the stretch. That task could be made easier with the news on Thursday that J.J. Watt returned to practice from injured reserve.
Rams need Stafford to protect the football
In the first nine games of the season, Stafford made the Rams’ front office look like geniuses. Trading a pair of first-round picks, a third-round pick, and Jared Goff to obtain him from the Lions, Stafford rewarded the franchise with an 8-1 start, throwing 22 touchdowns to just four interceptions and leading the NFL in passer rating.
However, a mid-season lull followed, as he performed poorly during a three-game span, and while the Rams finished season with five wins in their last six games, Stafford has thrown seven interceptions in the last three weeks, compared to just six touchdowns. His 17 picks were tied for the most in the NFL this season, and four of those were taken to the house.
Wide receiver Cooper Kupp was the prime beneficiary of the new addition, leading the NFL with 145 catches, 1,947 yards, and 16 touchdowns on the season. In the Rams' win last month over Arizona, he caught 13 passes for 123 yards, versus just five for 64 in their Week 4 defeat. He will be the primary threat yet again for the Arizona defense, who must find a way to stop a player who was targeted 28 times in the first two meetings.
The Rams defense will want to erase the bitter taste of last week’s season-ending loss, where they blew a 17-0 first half lead, and then allowed the 49ers to march 88 yards in 61 seconds to tie the game in the final minute, en route to a 27-24 overtime loss. Los Angeles held Murray without a score of any kind in the Week 14 victory, joining the Packers as the only other team to achieve that feat this season. Doing so again would give them a terrific chance at winning.
Cardinals vs. Rams Injury Report
|Arizona Cardinals||Los Angeles Rams|
RB Jonathan Ward: Questionable (knee)
CB Darious Williams: Questionable (shoulder)
RB Chase Edmonds: Questionable (ribs)
S Tylor Rapp: Questionable (concussion)
RB James Conner: Questionable (ribs/heel)
LB Ernest Jones: IR (ankle)
CB Marco Wilson: Questionable (undisclosed)
RB Darrell Henderson Jr.: IR (knee)
WR Rondale Moore: Questionable (undisclosed)
WR Robert Woods: IR (knee)
Cardinals and Rams Betting Trends
- The Cardinals are 1-4 ATS in their last five games
- The Rams are 4-2 ATS in their last six games
- The Cardinals have gone 18-6-3 ATS in their last 27 games as road underdogs
- The Rams are 9-1 SU in their last 10 games against the Cardinals
- The Over is 4-1 in the last five games between these two teams
- The favorite is 8-2-1 in the last 11 games between these teams
Expect a high-scoring affair
Arizona should learn from their games this year and commit to the run, as they gained 216 yards in their win versus just 103 on the ground in defeat. This would allow them to put some scoring drives together, while taking advantage of a banged-up Rams secondary in the play-action game.
That said, I am not sure who is going to cover the spread in this game. Stafford’s interception issues of late could give Arizona plenty of chances to stay in or win the game, while Arizona’s inability to turn drives into touchdowns could be their downfall.
What I am sure of is that we will see points. Both of these offenses can strike quickly, and both defenses are very opportunistic of opposing offense’s mistakes. The two meetings this season saw at least 50 points scored in each, and I expect that trend to continue.
Take the Over in this game as both teams have big-play capability, and defenses that were gashed in their Week 18 matchups. For a Same Game Combo play, I would pair the Over with a Rams victory, as I expect the Cardinals to settle for one too many field goals to be able to pull out the victory.
Score prediction: Los Angeles 31, Arizona 27
Cardinals vs. Rams pick powered by The Quant Edge
Our predictive engine is calling for the Cardinals to win outright and cover the spread.