Sean McVay and the 8-4 Los Angeles Rams travel to the desert to take on the 10-2 Arizona Cardinals. The Cards started the season with a surprise win over the hyped Tennessee Titans who are also leading their division in Week 14 in the AFC South. They continued winning until meeting the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium in Week 4 when coach Kliff Kingsbury’s squad handed LA their first loss in convincing fashion 37-20. They weren’t done as they continued on their win streak through the first seven weeks of the season and ended up as the only undefeated team in the National Football League until finally taking a loss to the Green Bay Packers in Week 8. Round two of division rivals Cardinals vs Rams happens on Monday Night Football in Week 14.
The Cardinals are 2-point favorites in this game, per DraftKings Sportsbook.
After Week 8, the Rams were at 7-1 and considered one of the best teams in the league after beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 3 and then a streak of non playoff teams all before adding Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr to the roster. The bye week for the Rams was sandwiched with losses from the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers but the losing streak was broken with a Week 13 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Matthew Stafford went through a slump when throwing multiple interceptions in each of the three losses between Week 9 and 12. However Stafford cleaned up his ball security issues against the Jaguars throwing for 295 yards three touchdowns and zero interceptions. He spread the ball around to seven separate receivers and connected for touchdowns with all three, Cooper Kupp, Odell Beckham Jr, and Van Jefferson.
On defense, the Rams got back in the takeaway game in Week 13 by forcing and recovering two fumbles. Aaron Donald and A’Shawn Robinson both broke the ball loose to get it back for the offense. Rookie linebacker Ernest Jones had a team high nine tackles and half of a sack and is showing positive gains since taking the starting role.
The Cardinals have been steady on both sides of the ball when playing with their starting quarterback Kyler Murray who missed a few games with injury but was back in Week 13 and expected to play against the Rams. The Arizona defense snagged four interceptions against the Chicago Bears to set up the offense with short fields all day. However the Cardinals have been soft against the run. They’ve given up more than 150 yards rushing in five games compared to the Rams two.
The Rams will have to keep the offense balanced to take advantage of that potential weakness by running the ball. Darrell Henderson Jr was injured during Week 13 and that gave LA a chance to see Sony Michel in the starting role which resulted in the Rams first 100 yard rusher of the season with Michel gaining 122 yards. It will be interesting to see who gets the lead or how the combination of the two backs could have an impact on Monday Night.
Prediction: Rams beat the Cardinals 34-28 and cover the spread
What’s your score prediction?