Arizona Cardinals vs. L.A. Rams – Week 17 NFL Pick ATS – 1/3/21

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cardinals vs. rams pick
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Arizona Cardinals (8-7 7-8 ATS) at L.A. Rams (9-6 8-7 ATS)

The Cardinals are in L.A. to face the Rams in a big finale for both teams, who are still in the playoff picture. The Cardinals are a -3 point betting favorite with a total of 40.

No surprise that the public has backed the Cardinals in this NFC West matchup with L.A. QB Jared Goff out with a thumb injury. The Cardinals opened as a 4-point underdog but as of Wednesday are a 1.5-point favorite.

Goff has a thumb injury and backup John Wofford, who has never taken a snap in the NFL, will get the start. The Rams can make the playoffs if they get the win or if the Chicago Bears lose.

The Cardinals have dropped four of their last five games and they need a win and a Chicago loss to make the post-season.

Not only is Goff out for this game but L.A., leading WR was recently out on the COVID-19 list and is questionable for the game. The Rams have lost two in a row and while their D has not been bad they have only totaled 29 points in their last two games.

The Cardinals missed a golden opportunity to get into the playoffs losing their last game to the San Francisco 49ers 20-12. The team had totaled 59 points in winning two in a row before the last game.

A few weeks back in the desert the Rams beat the Cardinals 38-28.

The Rams are 6-0-1 ATS in their last seven games facing the Cardinals.

Can’t Come Through

In the Cardinals’ loss to the 49ers, they were given two golden chances to come back after San Fran kicker Robbie Gould missed an extra point and a late field goal but could not get it done.

Kyler Murray has played well on the season and had 247 yards and 75 rushing yards against the 49ers but threw a late pick on a bad pass that sealed Arizona’s fate.

Murray has star DeAndre Hopkins, but he only had 48 yards in the loss to the 49ers while having at least 136 receiving yards in his previous two games. Kenyon Drake has tailed off at the end of the season and in his last two games has totaled 71 rushing yards wherein each game he failed to rush for over 2.6 yards per carry.

In the loss a few weeks ago to the Rams the Cardinals only had 232 yards while giving up 463 yards.

Who is John Wofford?

John Wofford was a four-year starter at Wake Forest and had a short cup of coffee with the Jets before landing a spot on the Rams, as Goff’s backup. This will be his first NFL game action and he has to step up.

Look for the Rams to lean heavily on the run in this game and with good reason. Not only because they have Wofford starting but because the Cardinals were torched on the ground in their last game giving up 227 rushing yards. Darrell Henderson Jr. (771 yards 5 TD) rushed for 62 yards in the Rams last game, which was a 20-9 loss to the Seahawks, and Cam Akers (591 yards) may be back after missing the Seattle game with an ankle injury.

With an inexperienced QB, Aaron Donald and the Rams’ defense has to come up big at home in the finale. They did their job in the first matchup with the Cardinals and they may need to do it again to get back to the playoffs.

Prediction

The Cardinals have failed to cover the spread in six of their last eight games. The Rams have covered in four of their last five games facing a team with a winning record.

I think Wofford will have a decent first start but am taking the Rams in this one because of their defense and the run D of Arizona. L.A. will have a good game on D and rack up the yards on the ground. This NFC West matchup will be a close one but at home, the Rams will come through and win and cover making the playoff after missing out last season.

PICK: Rams +3