After 18 weeks, 17 games, COVID outbreaks and more, the NFL playoffs have finally arrived. The road to Super Bowl LVI begins this weekend.
For Arizona Cardinals fans, it has been a long time coming. The Red Birds are in the postseason for the first time since 2015. The team will begin its quest for a Super Bowl in the same place where they hope the journey will end. The Cardinals will head to SoFi Stadium to take on the Los Angeles Rams in the wild card round.
The matchup presents the rare occurrence of two division rivals meeting in the postseason and playing for the third time. Now oddsmakers are trying to figure out which team has the advantage.
Cardinals underdogs in LA during rare Monday night wild card
Two NFC West foes will face off once again on the NFL’s Super Wild Card Weekend. The Cardinals and Rams play for the third time this season. Only this time, it is winner moves on, loser goes home. It will also be a special playoff edition of Monday Night Football.
Both teams ended the regular season with losses. However, the Cardinals’ struggles down the stretch allowed the Rams to win the NFC West and secure a home playoff game. In this matchup, the No. 5-seeded Cardinals are underdogs to the No. 4 Rams with the spread at .
The over/under for the game is at . Across Arizona online sportsbooks, this game has the highest or second-highest over/under total out of all the wild-card round matchups. That is somewhat surprising, given playoff games are often low-scoring affairs. Furthermore, this game will feature two good defenses.
NFL Playoffs – NFC Wild Card Round
#5 Arizona Cardinals (11-6) at #5 Los Angeles Rams (12-5)
Date: Monday, Jan. 17
Time: 6:15 p.m. MST
Location: SoFi Stadium– Inglewood, CA
TV Coverage: ESPN
Can road warrior Cardinals continue success away from home?
Home-field advantage during the NFL playoffs is something every team pushes for during the regular season. However, State Farm Stadium has not been too kind to the Arizona Cardinals. In fact, the Cards have found most of their success on the road.
Arizona is 8-1 against the spread in away games, including two wins as road underdogs of four points or more. These stats showcase just how different the Cardinals play when they are at home as opposed to on the road.
|Arizona Cardinals Stats||Home||Road|
|Points Per Game||22.8||29.7|
|Yards Per Game||351||393.8|
|Points Allowed Per Game||24.5||18.9|
|Yards Allowed Per Game||348.1||337.7|
Arizona will likely have to win three road games to punch a ticket to the Super Bowl. It will take win at SoFi Stadium to get things started. Arizona beat the Rams in these confines in Week 4 with a 37-20 win before LA returned the favor during a Week 14 Monday night matchup at State Farm Stadium with a 30-23 win over the Cards.
Arizona is hopeful that defensive end JJ Watt will be healthy enough to play in Monday’s playoff game. However, star receiver DeAndre Hopkins will not play. Meanwhile, running backs James Conner and Chase Edmonds are both questionable. That means quarterback Kyler Murray could be missing three of his top offensive weapons.
But if Arizona can maintain this ‘road warrior’ mentality, it would not be a shock if they upset the Rams.