The Cardinals and the Rams will provide plenty of entertainment for football fans on Monday Night to cap off an otherwise "meh" Wild Card Weekend. The Rams are currently set as 3.5-point favorites at WynnBET. There’s potential for plenty of points, but each team has question marks. I’m here to be a debbie downer — this game doesn’t matter. Why? Because neither one of them will get past the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next week.
The Rams have a fatal flaw
The Los Angeles Rams have arguably the best player in the entire NFL in defensive tackle Aaron Donald. They have an MVP-candidate in wide receiver Cooper Kupp. They have a young, star running back in Cam Akers returning from injury. They have a star lockdown corner in Jalen Ramsey. They have all the tools for a Super Bowl run.
They have a major flaw, though, like the silly little vent in the death star that takes, apparently, just a single shot to make the entire thing blow up. That flaw is Matthew Stafford.
Stafford is fine statistically. I love him in fantasy football — most of the time. But Stafford has a cannon of an arm and believes that there isn’t a single throw that he can’t make. It gets him into trouble, and it’s been rearing its ugly head as of late. He has thrown 8 touchdowns and 8 interceptions in his last four games, which simply won’t cut it against a Tom Brady team. If you turn the ball over, you’ll lose. Period.
The Rams and the Buccaneers played each other earlier this season, with the Rams getting the edge 34-24. Guess how? Stafford didn’t turn the ball over.
The Cardinals are trending the wrong direction
The Arizona Cardinals are a high-powered team, much like the other teams remaining in these playoffs. They scored the 11th-most points per game this season, despite quarterback Kyler Murray missing three games.
The Cardinals got out of the gates with a seven game winning streak and looked like one of the best teams in the NFL. They dropped a game to the Packers in Week 8, and then saw Murray miss the next three contests. Since returning from injury, the Cardinals are 2-4, Murray hasn’t thrown more than two TDs in a game, and they’ve lost DeAndre Hopkins for the rest of the season to injury.
Their defense has softened dramatically as well. After holding opposing teams to 16.3 points per game over their first seven games, they’ve allowed 27.3 over their last six. They’re trending the wrong direction, and will be outmatched by Tom Brady and the Buccaneers if they can get past the Rams.