The Los Angeles Rams enter the playoffs for the the fourth time in five years of the Sean McVay era. They enter as the number four seed and are set to play the five seed Arizona Cardinals on Monday night. The Rams are 3.5-point favorites to win against the Cardinals, per DraftKings SportsBook, can they win and cover?
This will be the third time the division rivals will play this season and it will be a tie breaker as they have split their two regular season meetings. This will also be the second year in a row that the Rams are playing a division rival in the Wildcard round after eliminating the Seattle Seahawks in this same scenario last season.
NFC West Champs. More to do. pic.twitter.com/QBUkgrPxZb— xz - Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) January 10, 2022
The NFC West Champion Rams had a mostly hot regular season finishing with a 12-5 record, losing three in row mid season and winning five consecutive down the stretch. The Matthew Stafford experiment has turned out as expected as he ended the season with 4,886 yards passing (3rd) and 41 touchdowns (2nd). Cooper Kupp had a historic season finishing as the triple crown leader in receptions (145, yards (1,947) and touchdowns (16). The Rams best games this season include a Week 3 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who were 2-0 before the loss and also the Week 14 win over the Arizona Cardinals who were 10-2 at the time.
The Arizona Cardinals started as the hottest team in the National Football League winning their first seven games before taking their first loss to the Green Bay Packers in Week 8. However they finish the season having won only one of their last five games with losses to the Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts, and Seattle Seahawks. Kyler Murray had a first half of the season worthy enough to be in the MVP conversation with a quarterback rating of 110.4 over the first eight games but then fell to a rating of 89.3 over the last six games. Notable injuries for the Cardinals include Deandre Hopkins and JJ Watt who are likely both out for the matchup.
The Rams enter the playoffs with an offense that ranks seventh in average points per game (27.1) and fifth in average passing yards per game (273). Mid season additions of Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr have paid off as OBJ has 25 catches and five touchdowns in seven games and Miller has five sacks in the last four games. LA is also looking to take advantage of the return of running back Cam Akers who is back after what seemed to be a season ending injury suffered in pre season but after taking a few snaps in Week 18 he will be paired with Sony Michel for the playoff push. Michel has excelled in the Rams run game over the second half of the season at best gaining 497 yards over a five game stretch. Notable injuries for LA is most recently safety Jordan Fuller who was injured during Week 18 and is considered done for the season. To help, the Rams have signed 37 year old veteran Eric Weddle to fill the spot of Fuller who not only played the safety position but also served as the on field play caller for the defense.
Final Score Prediction: The Rams will beat the Cardinals 24-20 and will beat the spread.
What’s your prediction? Let us know in the comments.