Los Angeles Rams vs Arizona Cardinals: Monday Night Football Preview
The Arizona Cardinals will bid for a third straight win when they take on the Los Angeles Rams on Monday night. Who will prevail in this eagerly anticipated clash between talented divisional rivals?
Date: Monday, December 14, at 8.15pm EST
Location: State Farm Stadium
Weather: Warm, partly cloudy, with 6mph wind
Arizona Cardinals Boast the Best Record in the League
The Cardinals are top of the NFC West with an 10-2 record after beating the Chicago Bears 33-22 in Week 13. They have the best straight-up record in the NFL, and they deserve a great deal of credit for storming to first place in the league’s strongest division.
Yet it is interesting to note that the Cardinals are 7-0 on the road this season, but just 3-2 at State Farm Stadium. Their previous home game resulted in a shock 34-10 defeat to the Panthers, who subsequently lost to the Dolphins and Washington to go 5-7 for the season, so Arizona will be keen to make amends in front of its home fans in the big MNF game.
LA Rams Look Strong
The Rams are second in the NFC West with an 8-4 record. That leaves them comfortably ahead of their rivals in a race for a Wild Card spot. However, they would move within one win of Arizona if they were to win on Monday, which would reignite their bid to win the group.
The Rams are 4-2 at home and 4-2 on the road this year. They recently suffered a run of three straight defeats to the Titans, the 49ers, and the Packers, but they bounced back with a comfortable 37-7 win against the Jaguars last weekend.
These teams clashed at the SoFi Stadium in Week 4, and it resulted in a 37-20 win for Arizona. It was a dominant victory, which confirmed that the Cards are no longer the annual afterthought in the ultra-competitive NFC West. QB Kyler Murray threw for 268 yards and two touchdowns, and added another 39 rushing yards, extending Arizona’s longest perfect start to the season since 2012.
It was a symbolic victory for the Cardinals, as it ended a run of eight straight defeats to the Rams, a dismal record that had endured for the entirety of Sean McVay’s tenure in Los Angeles.
The Cards were dominant. They opened up a 34-13 lead at the end of the third quarter, and then they eased off in the closing stages of the game after victory was assured. The Cardinals have not won the division since 2015, and they have not had a winning record since that year, but that win in Inglewood – the venue for Super Bowl LVI – gave them confidence in their ability to flourish this year. Yet they must now hold off the challenge of the Rams during the final weeks of the regular season.
The early injury report suggests that Arizona OG Justin Pugh is questionable due to a calf injury. Arizona DE J.J. Watt had been placed on injured reserve. David Long Jr. (illness) and Brian Allen (knee) of the Rams are also rated as questionable.
· The Cardinals are 9-3 ATS this season. Only Green Bay has a better ATS record in the league. However, the Cardinals are 2-3 ATS at home.
· The Cardinals are 4-3 ATS when favored by 2.5 points or more since the start of the season.
· The Rams are 5-7 ATS this season, and 2-4 ATS on the road.
· The Cardinals and the Rams have a combined average of 56.6 points per game this season, which is 5.1 points higher than the total line for Monday’s game. However, these teams surrender a combined 40.2 points per game, which is 11.3 below the total points line.
· Over/under is 6-6 in Cardinals games this season, and 6-5-1 in Rams games.
· The Cardinals are third for points per game this season, with 27.3, while the Rams are fifth, with 27.1.
· The Rams lead the league for passing yards, with 289.3 per game, and the Cards are sixth (242.8).
· Arizona ranks sixth for rushing yards (117.9 per game), whereas the Rams are 19th (97.9).
· Arizona has the fourth best defensive record in the league, allowing 17.5 points per game, whereas the Rams allow 22.7, leaving them 17th.
· The Cardinals have the league’s sixth best defense against the pass, but it ranks 18th against the rush.
· The Rams have the ninth best defense against the Rush, but they rank 19th against the pass.
Arizona has opened as the 2.5-point favorite with the likes of Caesars Sportsbook and PointsBet for this game. BetMGM and DraftKings make Arizona the 2-point favorite, with -110 on either team covering. Bet365 is offering -105 on the Rams +2.5.
Most sportsbooks have set the total points line at 51.5 for the Monday night football game between the Rams and the Cardinals. BetMGM makes Arizona the -132 moneyline favorite, while the Rams are the +110 underdogs. You can +120 on the Rams at Bet365.
Since losing to the Cards in Week 4, the Rams have gone 5-3. However, they have beaten up on losing teams. They are 5-0 against teams that are below .500, and 0-3 against teams that are .500 or better.
They could struggle once more against an elite opponent on Monday night. They had no answers for Arizona’s rushing attack during the last meeting between these teams, and the Arizona defense finally found a way to contain a McVay offense.
That could give the Cards a psychological advantage heading into this game. Murray is healthy once more, and Arizona is surging with momentum right now. It can take a stranglehold on the division if it wins this game, and Arizona -2 at -110 looks appealing.
The total points line looks too tough to call, but you will find some great value in the prop betting markets. Arizona ranks 30th in the league for opponent yards per carry, so betting on Sony Michel to exceed his rushing yards prop target will be tempting.