los angeles rams vs arizona cardinals predictions and preview

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NFL los angeles rams vs arizona cardinals predictions and preview


 

 

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

 

The Arizona Cardinals travel to lovely SoFi Stadium to kick off the final NFC Wildcard matchup against the Los Angeles Rams on Monday night. The Cardinals (11-6) started the season on a strong note but dealt with injuries down the stretch, losing grasp of the top spot in the NFC West. The Rams (12-5) took the NFC West crown and will play their rival for the third time this season. Los Angeles opens this game as a four-point home favorite.

Arizona won the first matchup on Oct. 3, 37-20, while the Rams won the second meeting at home 30-23.

 

Cardinals Lose Shot at Division

The Cardinals will feel disappointed that they don’t go into the first round of the playoffs playing in front of their home fans. A poor finish to the regular season had them losing four of their last five games. Of course, injuries to star players have played a part in that. DeAndre Hopkins has been out for several weeks, as has J.J. Watt, who could be ready for this one.

 

 

While Watt is set to return after being activated this week, head coach Kliff Kingsbury has confirmed that Hopkins will be out. Hopkins is aiming to work his way back in order to contribute in the postseason, but Arizona is going to have to win at least one without him in order to give him that chance. The Cards need to find their early-season mojo in order to move on. Christian Kirk and Zach Ertz have been key for the Cardinals in recent weeks, and both will need to show up in a big spot against a very strong Rams defense in order to help send Arizona through. 

Stafford Ready to Prove His Worth

The Rams trading Jared Goff for Matthew Stafford was the biggest move of the entire offseason. Los Angeles started the season 7-1, and while they might have hit a lull period during a three-game stretch mid-season, they quickly got back on track and won five of their last six games down the stretch to steal the division away from the Cardinals. The Rams also get their 2020 rookie standout, Cam Akers, back in time for the playoffs, and they’ve signed a familiar face in Eric Weddle to offer some support on the back end.

 

Stafford and his gang of weapons tore through the league through the early season. They won five of six down the stretch, but that was due to their defensive effort. Cooper Kupp led the league with 1,947 receiving yards, Van Jefferson had a breakout season and Odell Beckham Jr. has shown some flashes of his old self since coming to Los Angeles. All will be in the bright lights in primetime on Monday.






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