Monday Night Football Predictions Week 14: Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals
Last week’s game between the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills had enough storylines surrounding it to make it one of the better games we would have seen all season long. The battle for first in the AFC East was up for grabs, but it was Mother Nature who decided to wreak havoc and spoil any chance we had at seeing a good football game. The Patriots were the team that adapted to the elements best as they threw just three passes (the fewest in 40 years), and the Bills simply couldn’t stop the Patriots’ run game. This week, Mother Nature will not play any part in this contest between the Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals, so I expect to see the game we should have seen last week – a high-scoring, very entertaining 60 minutes of football.
As of writing this, the Cardinals are currently -2.5-point favorites with the total set at 51.5 This line opened as Cardinals -3 but has quickly been bet down a half-point. Both teams come into this game off wins, and this line tells us that on a neutral field, this game would be a pick ’em. **SPOILER ALERT** I think we are getting value with the underdog in this contest.
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Storylines to follow
White Hot: After managing to go 2-1 with Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins out of the lineup, the Cardinals should feel good about their 10-2 record. After all, they are the No. 1 overall seed in the NFL, and more importantly, the No. 1 seed in the NFC, which means the path to the Super Bowl would go through the desert. The Cardinals are not just winning these games by fluke. They have a top-10 offense, and they are ranked third in points per game at 28.6. Defensively, they are even better, limiting teams to just 334 yards per game (fifth), and that includes 204.1 yards rushing (fourth) and 18.7 points per game (fourth). They are about as complete a team that you will find in the National Football League. The last really good team the Cardinals played was the Packers back in week 8, and they dropped that contest for one of their two losses. They’ve already beaten the Rams this year, so it’ll be interesting to see if they can do the double.
Ram’s Self-Revival: For those of you who saw Odell Beckham’s touchdown celebration last week and were a bit lost, never fear, a millennial is here. His celebration was an ode to the Call of Duty video game franchise as when you are “downed” by the enemy, you can stick yourself with a “self-revive” and continue on if the enemy doesn’t finish you off before that. It’s kind of fitting that the player who was seemingly left for dead by the media and his former team the Browns has found a new life in LA with a quarterback that’s accurate and provides stability and a coach that loves throwing the football. The Rams’ “self-revive” came in the form of a dominating 37-7-win vs the lowly Jags, but they were completely dominant in that football game. They held the Jags to just 197 yards while they racked up 418 yards themselves. It might be tougher sledding against a good Cardinals’ defense this week. However, with Stafford, Cooper Kupp (having an MVP-worthy season) and OBJ seemingly in synch, the offense has a ton of weapons to attack the Cardinals’ defense with. Defensively, the Rams will be eager to build off of a dominant performance, and Monday night will be the perfect platform to announce they are back in a big way.
Angles and Trends:
If you like Rams and are going to take the points, you are banking on the following:
- Rams are 8-3-1 ATS in their last 12 games in December
- Rams are 25-12-1 ATS in their last 38 vs the NFC
- Rams are 7-1-1 ATS in the last 9 head-to-head meetings
- Rams are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 in Arizona
- Road team is 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 head-to-head meetings
- Cardinals are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 Monday Games
If you like the Cardinals and want to lay the points, these trends are for you:
- Cardinals are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 vs the NFC West
- Cardinals are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 overall
- Cardinals are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games following an SU win.
- Cardinals are 5-2-1 ATS in their last 8 games in December
- Rams are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games
- Rams are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 road games
If you are thinking about betting the total, these are the important trends to know:
- Under is 4-0 in Rams’ last 4 games in December
- Over is 9-1 in Rams last 10 games as an underdog
- Over is 7-1 in Rams last 8 games as a road underdog
- Under is 8-0 in Cardinals last 8 Monday games
- Under is 19-9 in Cardinals last 28 games as a home favorite
We had our mini two-game winning streak snapped last week with the Bills failing to win and cover the -2.5-point spread. The weather obviously played a factor in the outcome, and that’s got to be taken into account when handicapping outdoor games at this time of the year. In Arizona, we will have pristine conditions and we expect the Rams to be the ones laughing last. The Rams are more stable on both sides of the ball, which is weird to stay considering they are 8-4 compared to 10-2 for the Cardinals. I think this game will be one-sided, and I expect the Rams’ offense to put up another 28+ point performance.
Pick: Los Angeles Rams +2.5
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