NFL Wildcard | Arizona Cardinals vs LA Rams Predictions

The NFC West proved to be one of the toughest divisions in the NFL this season with three of its teams reaching the postseason. One of those clubs will get an early exit, though, when the Arizona Cardinals visit the Los Angeles Rams in a rare Monday night playoff game.

The Rams backed into the division title, their third in five seasons under Sean McVay, when both teams lost on the final day of the regular season with the Rams blowing a 17-point lead to San Francisco to end their five-game winning streak. The teams split their two regular season matchups with each winning on the road.

The Cards moseyed into LA in Week 4 putting a 37-20 hurt on the Rams as a 3.5-point dog. Arizona is again catching 3.5-points for Monday’s tilt.

Arizona Cardinals vs Los Angeles Rams Info

The NFC Wild Card game between the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams will take place at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA at 8:20 p.m. ET on Monday, January 17 and will be televised on ESPN.

Arizona Cardinals vs Los Angeles Rams Odds

Arizona Cardinals +3.5 | Los Angeles Rams -3.5 [BET NOW]

Over/Under 49 [BET NOW]

Odds Analysis

Early action on the visitors forced a drop in the spread. The Rams opened as a 4-point favorite with the number wagered down to LA -3.5. Another late season slump didn’t cost the Cards a playoff spot, but it did cost them the division title. They dropped four of their last five games going 1-4 ATS starting with a 23-20 setback to the Rams in Week 14.

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They also suffered losses to Detroit and Seattle in that span. So I guess it’s safe to say they aren’t playing their best football of the season, but they can make up for it with a win on Monday night. The Rams took control of the division thanks to a five-game winning streak. That ended on Sunday with a loss to the Niners, who have beaten LA in six straight games. McVay and the Rams have owned this rivalry winning eight in a row until Arizona’s Week 4 upset. LA repaid the favor in Week 13 and is 9-1 SU and 8-1-1 ATS against the Cards since the 2017 season.

Arizona Cardinals

Starting the playoffs on the road might not be a bad thing. The Cardinals are the ninth team in NFL history to win eight road games during a regular season with some impressive notches on their belt. They clobbered Tennessee in the season-opener, beat Dallas in Week 17 and of course toppled the Rams in Week 4. Overall they Cards were 8-1 SU and ATS in road games during the regular season. The lone defeat, however, was a crusher. As part of their season-ending swoon, the Cards were upset by the Lions, 30-12, as a 13.5-point favorite.

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Kyler Murray had a strong season and would have received some MVP attention had he not missed three games. He threw for nearly 3,800 yards with 24 touchdowns while completing 69.2 percent of his passes. The ground game worked in the win over the Rams with Chase Edmonds going for 120 yards and the Cards amassing 216 yards on 40 rush attempts. Edmonds, Murray and James Conner combined to rush for 1,767 yards and 22 touchdowns.

Los Angeles Rams

The Rams didn’t acquire Matthew Stafford because of his playoff success. They got him so they both could reap the benefits. Stafford won the first division title of his career and he hopes to win his first playoff game. That’s easier said than done, though, considering Stafford is trending in the wrong direction. The Rams were able to win five of their last six games despite some poor decision making and shoddy play from their QB. Since Week 9 Stafford has tossed 11 interceptions, four of which were returned for scores. He ended the season with 17 picks, including one in overtime in the season finale, tied with Trevor Lawrence for the most in the NFL.

The return of Cam Akers is a huge boost for the offense. Akers was shelved with a preseason injury and returned for the finale in a limited role. He’ll probably see a bigger role now that he has a game under his belt. An improved ground game – the Rams averaged fewer than 100 yards – should conceivably take pressure of Stafford and thus limit turnovers. At least that’s the working theory. The Rams are built for the postseason with the additions of Von Miller and Odell Beckham to go along with their already stacked roster and anything short of a Super Bowl bid is a failure.

Betting Picks: Los Angeles Rams -3.5 and UNDER 49

Cardinals vs Rams Prediction

Both teams were solid defensively during the regular season and the Cards could be adding a big piece to their lineup with J.J. Watt possibly playing on Monday. That gives Stafford one other thing to think about. A key to the game is turnovers. Murray tossed a pair of picks in the Week 14 contest and Stafford had one in Week 4. As long as the Rams QB doesn’t cough it up I can see LA covering and advancing.

Betting Picks: Los Angeles Rams -3.5 and UNDER 49

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