- Kyler Murray has not looked himself in the Cardinals last two games
- These two teams have a combined 6-15-1 record when it comes to the total in their games
A lot is riding on this NFC West clash. The Cardinals have dropped two straight and the Rams just lost for the second time to the San Francisco 49ers. The team that bounces back best will have a shot to chase down the Seahawks for the division, while the team that loses will be looking over their shoulder at the chasing pack.
The obvious concern is Kyler Murray. The Cardinals QB hurt his shoulder against the Seahawks and has looked hampered by it ever since. He has looked hesitant to run and risk further damage, while his accuracy has also been off. A dinged up QB is not what you want when coming up against a defense that is staffed by Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey.
Ramsey will likely pin himself to DeAndre Hopkins all night, taking away Murray’s top weapon. When the Rams have looked vulnerable, it has been to the running game, but even then they rank sixth in yards per attempt. In terms of passing, they are the best in the league and have forced as many interceptions as they have allowed passing touchdowns.
Offensively they are a frustrating mix of efficiency and disaster. If Jared Goff is on and the offense is rolling, they can look unstoppable. If he is not, then they can be swept aside by mid-level teams.
The Rams have often looked best this year when their run game is clicking. They have succeeded without it at times, but they look best basing their offense off of that running game. The Cardinals weakness on defense has been against the run, allowing the 11th most yards per attempt.
If Kyler Murray was healthy, then the Cardinals offense might be able to give the Rams defense some problems. However, a hampered Murray hurts all aspects of this offense, and the Rams defense is too good to let Chase Edmonds and Kenyan Drake beat them on the ground. Take the Rams and their run game to win by a touchdown and cover a three-point spread.
In terms of the total, the under is the play here. These are two of the best teams when it comes to hitting an under and with Murray hampered I struggle to see how the Cardinals can get past the 20-point mark by any distance. The rams are allowing just 19.5 points per game, and I expect their run game to control the clock and force Murray and the offense into hurried mistakes.
If Murray is limited all week in practice, then taking the Cardinals under 22.5 is also tempting given they have averaged 19 points per game on offense in the last two.
NFL Expert Picks
1u – Los Angeles Rams -3 @ +100
1u – Under 48.5 total points @ -108
NFL Free Picks
We don't have a Thursday Night Football clash this week due to the rescheduled Ravens and Steelers game that took place at the end of Week 12. Week 13 sees a number of divisional clashes with the Saints and Falcons, Colts and Texans, and Rams and Cardinals meeting on Sunday. Sunday Night Football sees the Broncos face the Chiefs in a divisional clash on primetime. On Monday we'll get two games with the Washington Football Team's trip to Pittsburgh televised ahead of the Bills vs. 49ers meeting on Monday Night Football. We get bonus football again on Tuesday with the Ravens welcoming the Cowboys to M&T Bank Stadium.
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