Monday Night Football will feature an NFC West showdown when the Rams travel to the desert to take on Kyler Murray and the Cardinals. Let’s analyze this exciting matchup and keep cashing our NFL picks!
Los Angeles Rams vs. Arizona Cardinals
Monday, December 13, 2021 – 8:15 PM ET at State Farm Stadium
After dropping their last three games, and taking a tumble in the NFC West standings, the Rams got back on track in a big way last week as they drilled the Jaguars, 37-7, led by a vintage Matthew Stafford performance that included 295 passing yards and three touchdown strikes.
It was a stark departure from his recent games in which he played as though he was hindered with a bad back and balky ankle – which he was – manifesting in two consecutive poor performances against Tennessee and San Francisco before he rebounded with a solid effort against Green Bay and then an even better one last week against Jacksonville.
Cooper Kupp, Van Jefferson, and Odell Beckham Jr. were Stafford’s three touchdown targets as the acquisition of OBJ is starting to bear fruit and removing some of the stings of Robert Woods’ absence. Former Patriots’ first-round draft pick, Sony Michel, made the most of his opportunity to run the rock in place Darrell Henderson (thigh) when he chewed up 121 rushing yards and a touchdown.
“We really need to find a way to start playing our best ball in December,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. “Our guys did a great job just staying steady and trusting the process. … You don’t take any wins for granted in this league. This is good for our team, and now we’ve just got to start stacking blocks.”
Cardinals Healthy Again
Kyler Murray, one of the league’s most dynamic young quarterbacks, missed three consecutive games and then used the bye week as a fourth week away from live-action before returning last week in Arizona’s 38-22 win over the Bears.
Murray tossed a pair of touchdowns and ran for two more while DeAndre Hopkins also got off the trainer’s table, making his return notable in hauling down a 20-yard touchdown pass to draw first blood in the contest. “A couple of months before the season, if you’d say ‘if you had this opportunity’ yeah, we’d definitely take it,” Murray said.
“This is all the hard work we’ve put in. We understand what kind of guys we have in the locker room. We understood what we had before the season started. It was just about going and doing it and executing.”
Wanna Make a Bet?
While the Cardinals are getting healthy the Rams are having issues in the injury department. Center Brian Allen is dealing with a sprained MCL and his status is up in the air for Monday night while running back Darrell Henderson is still bothered by his thigh injury.
And worst of all, Cooper Kupp is hobbled by a toe injury that won’t probably prohibit him from suiting up but casts doubt on how effective he will be on Monday night.
These teams met in Week 4 in LA when the Cardinals cruised to a 37-20 victory with Murray tossing for two touchdowns and 268 yards on 24-of-32 passing while Stafford passed for 280 yards, a pair of TD passes, and one interception, connecting on 26-of-41.
No doubt Murray was the more efficient of the two but the big story was Arizona’s ability to run the rock right over, around, and through the Rams run-stop unit with 216 rushing yards. Chase Edmonds had 120 of those yards while Murray picked up 39 and James Conner garnered 50 yards.
I guess my question is how are the Rams going to be better this time around considering the change in venue from SoFi to State Farm Stadium, no Robert Woods who caught one Stafford’s touchdown passes in the last meeting, and the injuries to Henderson, Kupp, and Allen?
And while some will rightfully point out the addition of Von Miller to the Rams’ already potent defense, I would add that Murray also has a shiny new toy in a tight end, Zach Ertz, who he was without in the first meeting. I’m surprised the NFL odds are as low as they are considering all of the above.
Oh, and below are a few trends to bolster our contention that Arizona is the sharp play here!
- Rams are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games after allowing less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Rams are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games after scoring more than 30 points in their previous game.
- Rams are 0-7 ATS in their last 7 games following a straight-up win of more than 14 points.
- Cardinals are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 vs. NFC West.
- Cardinals are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games overall.
NFL Pick: Cardinals -2.5 (-110) at BetMGM