Rams vs. Cardinals Odds, Predictions: Los Angeles Favored For Wild Card Round of 2022 NFL Playoffs
Getty Images. Pictured: Rams QB Matthew Stafford, Cardinals QB Kyler Murray
Rams vs. Cardinals Odds
The 4-seeded Rams are set to take on the 5-seeded Cardinals on Wild Card Weekend of the 2022 NFL Playoffs. Find our expert’s projected odds and a recap of each team’s seasons below.
Rams vs. Cardinals Schedule
Rams vs. Cardinals Projections
Our Director of Predictive Analytics, Sean Koerner, reveals his initial projections for the spread and over/under based on his model.
These are subject to change before kickoff, though, so be sure to check out our NFL PRO Projections — i.e. real-time consensus projections based on models of six experts (including Sean).
- Spread: Rams -3.5
- Total: 48
Rams vs. Cardinals Predictions
Lean Cardinals +4 or Better
Brandon Anderson: I don’t trust either of these teams as far as I can throw them.
I faded both into oblivion in Week 18 as each of them backed into the playoffs. And I’d love to fade them both in the opening round, but alas, one of them has to win.
Matthew Stafford is 0-3 in the postseason and has been a disaster down the stretch, continually throwing the ball to players in jerseys of the wrong color. Odell Beckham Jr. hasn’t clicked and the Rams can’t run the ball to save their lives, so the offense is mostly Cooper Kupp making magic.
By Football Outsiders’ weighted DVOA, the Rams offense is barely in the top-half of the league.
The Cardinals can’t run the ball, either, and their run defense has been shambolic since losing J.J. Watt. This team is built around passing and stopping the pass, though neither of those has gone that well lately, either. Kyler Murray was an MVP favorite early but faded late for the second season in a row, and DeAndre Hopkins is still missing. The potential return of Watt or Hopkins would be huge swing factors.
I also don’t trust either coach.
Sean McVay has made a Super Bowl appearance, but his offenses have consistently faded over the second half of seasons, plus the Rams finished 2-5 against playoff teams this year. And Kliff Kingsbury’s teams have collapsed late in every season since 2014, with this season’s version of the Cards starting 8-1 but finishing 3-5 after losing four of their final five:
Another Kliff Kingsbury regular season in the books!
Let’s update how he’s ended every season as head coach
'14: lost 4 of 5
'15: lost 4 of 6
'16: lost 6 of 8
'17: lost 6 of 8
'18: lost 5 of 5
'19: lost 7 of 9
'20: lost 6 of 9 (1 win by Hail Mary)
‘21: lost 4 of 5
— Matt Mitchell (@olboyunclemitch) January 10, 2022
The one unit I believe in is the Rams defense — Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey are two of the NFL’s finest, and the Rams entered Week 18 ranked top five in both pass and run defensive DVOA. I’m not sure I trust this gimmicky Cardinals offense to score on them, but as we’ve established, I don’t trust much of anything on either team.
If you’re looking to believe in the Cards, turn to Kingsbury’s history as an underdog. He’s 18-7-2 as a dog, covering 72% of the time by an average of 6.3 points per game, per our Action Labs data. That includes 6-0 this season with each of those covers on the road, winning all six outright.
If you want to believe in the Rams, they’ve won nine of the last 10 in this rivalry, with the Cards failing to even reach double digits in half of those games. McVay is 4-1-1 against the spread (ATS) head-to-head against Kingsbury.
I can’t make heads or tails of these teams, which usually means it’s a good idea to take the points with the underdog, especially when the line is past a key number like it is here. Supporting that is the trend of home favorites facing division opponents in the Wild Card Round going 3-9-1 ATS since 2003, losing five of the last six and failing to cover in all of them.
Still, Arizona +4 is only a lean for now.
How Rams Reached 2022 NFL Playoffs
Avery Yang: There are few teams in the NFL with more upside, so the Rams are rightfully priced as the fifth favorite to win the Super Bowl. This team is all in, with stars at half their positions, and the lack of draft capital to show for it.
But they have some problems, especially offensively. Matthew Stafford has had a good year, sure, but he leads the league in pick-sixes and always seems to put this team into precarious positions.
Can the Rams rip off three straight wins to get the Super Bowl? Absolutely. But football is a game of variance, and it’s up to you to depend on Stafford for three straight high-pressure games. His track record this season — and historically — doesn’t allow for much confidence.
How Cardinals Reached 2022 NFL Playoffs
Chase Howell: The Cardinals surprised a lot of people when they started the season 9-0. But, in typical Kliff Kingsbury fashion, they have faltered down the stretch and lost three straight games before beating the Cowboys in Week 17.
That is in large part due to star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins going out with an injury during that losing stretch. It appears that both Hopkins and J.J. Watt could return for the playoffs, but it’s unclear now and certainly something to keep an eye on.
When Kyler Murray had Hopkins this season, the entire offense was electric. But the offense has struggled to score at the same rate since losing him. They averaged just 17 points during the three-game losing skid despite leading the NFL in points per game at one point in the season. They rank 13th in offense in Football Outsiders’ total DVOA.
The defense hasn’t gotten the credit they deserve. A lot of the talk has been about the weapons on offense, but the defense has been steady throughout the season. They rank fifth in total DVOA on defense and could be even better if Watt can get healthy for the playoffs.