Los Angeles Rams vs. Arizona Cardinals: Win/loss predictions for Week 17
First and foremost, Happy New Year to you! Hoping this finds you and yours safe and healthy. And as always, thanks for stopping by BTH -- much appreciated!
The Los Angeles Rams (9-6) host the Arizona Cardinals (8-7) to finish out the 2020 regular season this Sunday at SoFi Stadium. The Rams couldn't handle business against the Jets (ugh) or the Seahawks (ugh) over the last two weeks and now their postseason aspirations hinge on their ability to beat a divisional opponent to secure a playoff berth. To be fair, they could get a break if the Bears lose to the Packers, but they haven't put themselves in a position to rely on luck this weekend.
And they'll have to beat the Cardinals without starting QB Jared Goff (thumb) AND Cooper Kupp AND Darrell Henderson AND Michael Brockers. John Wolford -- undrafted QB out of Wake Forest in 2018 -- will not only make his first career start on Sunday, but it'll also mark his first career snap in regulation. Blake Bortles will be around too, so that's pretty sweet.
In the words of good friend Larry David (someone's friend, not mine sadly), Sean McVay has fared prettay, prettay, prettay good against the Cardinals since taking over as head coach of the Rams, and he'll move to 8-0 against Arizona if they can win this Sunday.
Will the Rams stop a three game skid and sneak into the postseason?
The BTH crew make their predictions...
With Goff out, that could force McVay to ride the ground game -- normally a good thing. But Henderson is out, Akers has a high ankle sprain, and they're thin in the backfield. Copper Kupp and Michael Brockers are on the COVID list so it's hard to sit here and predict victory. Turns out they should've used the ol " beat the Jets at home technique".
Normally I'd think it would be like a fun preseason game that we never had back in August, but given the fact that we have gone from NFC powerhouse to possibly missing the playoffs none of this is really relaxing or stress-free at all.
The hope that somehow they slink into the playoffs and reinforcements like Whitworth, Goff, and Kupp reemerge.
Prediction: Cardinals win, 17-10
Joey the Jerk
Like Link acquiring his master sword in Zelda, John Wolford will finally unleash his Doug Flutie. The undersized QB Bowl is bound to be epic
Prediction: Rams win, 42-21
I have zero confidence in this prediction. But you know what? That’s okay. I’m excited to see the legend of Wolford begin.
Prediction: Rams win, 30-17
The LA Rams are down a starting QB with Goff’s tiny hands being hindered by a broken thumb and possibly down a starting WR (that damn ‘rona plandemic!) The gov’t conspiring against our team! Insert sarcasm, please). Not to mention the injured running back group. All those missing pieces won’t bode well for McVay’s O. That’ll put all the pressure and onus on the defense to dominate.
Unfortunately, the lack of offense will eventually exhaust the defense, having them run on fumes. Kyler Murray’s short self (idk why I’m calling him short when we’re the same height, 5’10) will run amuck. Larry Fitz is a legend. And Nuke is still Nuke.
Prediction: Cardinals win, 24-9
If John Wolford gets 300yds and leads the Rams to a win, he should be the starter now and Goff should have to say 5 nice things about the AAF every week the Rams are still alive in the postseason and none of those things can include the “gambling app” or whatever the hell that league died for.
Prediction: Rams win, 21-20
Prediction: Cardinals win, 24-10
I want John Wolford to make this some sort of QB controversy but I ain’t getting my hopes up. Two wounded teams limping/fighting for a playoff spot could make for some desperate football. Least amount of turnovers probably wins. I think Wolford and offense keep it safe enough.
Prediction: Rams win, 20-14
The Rams playoff hopes essentially come down to the second team offense having to do just enough to not disappoint a championship level defense.
I've been saying for weeks that the Rams need to go all in on the 2000 Ravens model. Part of me believes that McVay is smart enough to realize he needs to adjust the offense. But without the rose colored glasses on, he's clearly shown an unwillingness to adjust with Goff at the helm.
I'm not sure which philosophy prevails this weekend, but either way, I don't think the defense is going to allow us to lose.
Prediction: Rams win, 16-14
I legitimately have no idea what to expect from this team and this offense, but I think the exciting legs of John Wolford and out-of-structure ability will lead to a half-decent game on offense. I just think the Cardinals happen to be a lot healthier and probably more desperate at this point in time. This game feels like a complete toss-up, so I wouldn't be surprised with anything, really.
Prediction: Cardinals win, 23-20
No Goff, no Kupp, and no Hendo leaves me thinking no bueno.
The good news is that the Pack will win, allowing the Rams to back into the playoffs riding a three game losing streak.
Prediction: Cardinals win, 17-6
Please reply in the comments with the things you'll be cooking this weekend.
Prediction: Cardinals win, 16-13
I am fully prepared to be disappointed...kinda grown used to it in recent weeks. I'm also fully amped up for the biggest game of the Rams' season. The Rams' defense comes ready and Wolford & Co. surprise some folks.
Prediction: Rams win, 20-13
Staff pick summary: 6 picks for the Rams, 6 picks for the Cardinals