No. 5 Arizona Cardinals (10-7) at No. 4 Los Angeles Rams (12-5)
Monday, January 17, 8:15PM ET
At this point, I don’t have a ton of confidence in the Los Angeles Rams. Oddly enough, I don’t have a ton of confidence in the Arizona Cardinals either. So that presents quite the dilemma as we move into the first round of the 2022 NFL Playoffs.
It’s a bit baffling how far the Cardinals have fallen after starting the 2021 campaign at 9-1. That means they’ve lost six of their last seven, and are coming off another disappointing effort against the Seattle Seahawks. While the Rams were far more successful down the stretch, they have their own concerns coming into the Wild Card Round.
This will come down to whether or Matthew Stafford can take care of the football. He’s become a bit of a turnover machine as of late — in the last three games, he’s thrown seven interceptions. The Cardinals have excelled on the road this season, but that doesn’t mean they’re ready to outscore a Rams offense that still produces even with Stafford’s lack of ball security.
Ultimately, I believe this comes down to defense. Even if DeAndre Hopkins returns for the Cardinals, the Los Angeles defense relies on top playmakers like Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey to get the job done. A late stop allows the Rams to move to the next round.
Prediction: Rams win 26-24