Five teams have made it through the Wildcard playoffs over the weekend, just one more will join them. So tonight, will it be the Arizona Cardinals or the Los Angeles Rams that join the seven other teams still in with a chance of Super Bowl LIV glory?
As my colleague Collin Hulbert suggested in his preview, this is a very tough game to call between two fierce divisional rivals who had just one game between them in their regular season records this year.
So who are we going to back to land the win tonight? Will the Rams stay in the playoffs and in with a chance of competing for the Super Bowl on their home turf? Or will the Cardinals put their poor end of season form behind them and land their second win at SoFi Stadium this season?
As always, we are going to take a look at the odds on the game and give you our view on how it will go, with odds provided this week by BetMGM Sportsbook.
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Regular Season Matchups
As divisional rivals, the Rams and Cardinals have already played twice this season and on
both occasions, the road team has landed the win.
Week 4 – Arizona Cardinals 37-20 Los Angeles Rams
Both teams headed into this game with a 3-0-0 record, but it was the Cardinals that emerged with their record intact as they produced a second and third quarter blitz of 27 points which proved to be the foundation for their success.
Racking up 216 yards of rushing in total, allied to 268 yards of passing for 2 touchdowns by Kyler Murray, the Cardinals came back from a 3-point deficit in the first quarter to blitz the Rams in the next to quarters and open up a 34-13 lead.
The Rams had little answer to how the Cardinals controlled the ball on offense and with two turnovers in the Cardinals favor, the Rams succumbed to their first defeat of the season.
Week 13 – Los Angeles Rams 30-23 Arizona Cardinals
By week 13, the Cardinals were 10-2 and still top of the NFC West, but the Rams were closing the gap with an 8-4 record but a loss here would likely ensure the Cardinals would win the NFC West.
However, after a tight first half which saw the teams go in level at 13-13, the Rams took the initiative with Cooper Kupp playing a key role, catching 13 passes for 123 yards as Matt Stafford hit three touchdowns with figures of 23/30 and 287 yards to put the Rams in front.
The Cardinals tried to battle back in the fourth quarter but the Rams controlled the game well, winning the turnover battle 2-0 to earn a crucial victory and the one which, ultimately, decided who would have home field advantage in the playoffs.
Cardinals @ Rams Team News
The Cardinals will be without DeAndre Hopkins, who is a huge loss to their offense for this
game, but on defense, they should have J.J.Watt back after he made a much quicker return to full fitness than expected when he was injured on Week 9 of the season.
Perhaps a major worry for the Cardinals is James Conner’s fitness. The running back is questionable with a rib issue, and with Jonathan Ward and Chase Edmonds also banged up, the rush is going to be a key area for the Cardinals.
The Rams have Van Jefferson questionable, but he should play despite being limited in practice this week.
This could well be the best game of the playoffs in terms of the evenness of the contest as we have had a couple of surprising blowouts in the Wildcard games so far.
BetMGM have the Rams as the +3.5 favorites here and you can understand why given that the Cardinals have lost four of their last five games. The key here though will be the quarterbacks, if either QB has had a rating of 100 or more this season, both teams are unbeaten.
So if Stafford or Murray performs well tonight, then that team will likely be the winner and in my view, I’d go for the Rams here.
- Prediction – Arizona Cardinals 19-23 Los Angeles Rams