Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay looks up at the scoreboard during the first half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
- The Arizona Cardinals are three-point underdogs Sunday as they host the Los Angeles Rams in a key NFC West game at State Farm Stadium
- John Perrotto Betting Record: 7-5-1 (1.5 units won)
- This game features a matchup of two All-Pros in Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey
The two teams chasing the first-place Seattle Seahawks in a highly competitive NFC West race meet in a pivotal interdivisional game.
The Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals square off at 4:05 p.m. ET Sunday at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, with the visiting team favored.
Rams vs Cardinals Odds
|Los Angeles Rams||-146||-3 (+104)||Over 48.5 (-110)|
|Arizona Cardinals||+124||+3 (-128)||Under 48.5 (-110)|
Odds taken Dec. 5 from FanDuel
The Seahawks (8-3) hold a one-game lead in the division over the Rams (7-4) while the Cardinals (6-5) are two games back with five to play.
The Rams are coming off a 23-20 home loss to the San Francisco 49ers in which they were favored by five points. The Cardinals have lost three of their last four games, including 20-17 at the New England Patriots a week ago as one-point favorites.
The Rams have gone 6-0 against the Cardinals since Sean McVay took over as coach prior to the 2017 season, including going 5-0-1 against the spread.
Los Angeles has also won five straight games at Arizona and been the winning side ATS each of the last three seasons.
“The advantage the @RamsNFL have in the NFC west is their HC Sean McVay and his success versus the Cardinals and Seahawks. He respects Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll, and what Kingsbury and Kyler can do. But he’s not scared of either team, and shouldn’t be.” — @PSchrags pic.twitter.com/a2UjLMd0vW
— GMFB (@gmfb) November 27, 2020
The teams are facing each other for the first time this season after the Rams won 34-7 as 2.5-point underdogs on the road in 2019, then pushed in a 31-24 victory in Los Angeles as seven-point favorites.
In the first matchup, the Rams outgained the Cardinals by a whopping 549-198 in total yardage. Jared Goff passed for 424 yards and two touchdowns and Robert Woods had 13 receptions for 172 yards.
The rematch was closer, but the Rams prevailed again behind a 319-yard, three-TD performance by Goff.
Hopkins vs. Ramsey
A matchup that should be fun to watch is Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins against Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Hopkins is a three-time All-Pro and Ramsey won that honor in 2017.
Hopkins and Ramsey have plenty of familiarity with one another. They used to meet twice a season when both players were in the AFC South.
Jalen Ramsey and Deandre Hopkins matchup is HEATING UP 🔥 pic.twitter.com/l3Ut8flWYi
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) September 15, 2019
Hopkins has made a major impact during his first season with the Cardinals after being acquired from the Houston Texans in a trade. He has 77 receptions for 967 yards and four touchdowns.
In his first full season with the Rams since coming over from the Jacksonville Jaguars in a trade, Ramsey has helped anchor a defense that is second in the league in yards allowed with 296.7 a game.
Interestingly, Ramsey is ranked 18th among NFL cornerbacks in Pro Football Focus’ grades while fellow Rams corner Darious Williams is third.
Neither Goff nor his Cardinals counterpart Kyler Murray have played particularly well recently.
Goff has 10 turnovers in his last four games, including four lost fumbles and six interceptions. Three of those giveaways came in last week’s loss to the 49ers.
McVay rarely criticizes players publicly but called out Goff after the defeat.
Sean McVay, on his rare specific criticism of Jared Goff after Sunday’s loss: “I wouldn’t say anything if there weren’t broad shoulders that were able to handle it. I know he can handle it. I’m not going to apologize for the high expectations I have of him.”
— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) December 1, 2020
Murray has rushed for a combined 46 yards in the last two games, both Cardinals’ losses. He averaged 67.9 yards in the first nine games and was on pace for 1,000-yard season on the ground.
That was a big reason why Arizona started 6-3 and were considered one of the league’s biggest surprises of 2020 after going 5-10-1 last season.
Both teams should be at nearly full strength for this one.
The Rams have ruled linebacker Terrell Lewis out with a knee injury. Cardinals safety Jalen Thompson (ankle) also will not play.
And the Winner is …
The Cardinals might not be quite in desperation mode, but they need a win. They are clinging to seventh and final playoff spot in the NFC with fading chances of a division title.
Goff’s recent propensity for turnovers gives the Cardinals a fighting chance to get that victory, though.
The Pick: Cardinals +3 (-128)
John Perrotto has been covering and writing about sports for various outlets for over 40 years. His work has appeared in the likes of USA TODAY, ESPN.com, SI.com, Forbes.com, The Associated Press, Baseball Digest, and more. John is based out of Beaver Falls, PA.