Lock It Up: Cardinals Look To Clinch Playoff Berth, Close In On NFC West Title Vs. Rams On Monday Night Football

Written By C.J. Pierre on December 8, 2021
NFL Cardinals Monday Night Football

We are coming up on the homestretch of the 2021 NFL regular season. And fittingly, the slate of games for Week 14 features a pivotal NFC West clash between the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams.

And, of course, it’s on Monday Night Football.

This will be the first MNF game in Arizona since the state launched legal sports betting. In fact, it will be only the second primetime game.

A win would give the Cardinals a firm hold on the division. On top of that, it would also be a statement to any doubters. No one in the media projected that Arizona would be this good before the season started. A season sweep over the Rams will surely put the entire league on notice.

NFL Week 14: Cardinals favored over Rams for Monday Night Football

The Cardinals shocked many people around the NFL when they traveled to Los Angeles and upset the Rams in Week 4 with a 37-20 win. Now, the preseason NFC West favorites are looking for payback. The Rams have a golden opportunity at revenge when they go into the desert.

Heading into Monday’s showdown, according to Arizona online sportsbooks, the Cardinals stand as the betting favorites with the spread at .

That is not a very wide margin for a home team. After all, the general rule is that home-field advantage typically translates to three points. So here, oddsmakers are still a bit hesitant to put their faith in the Cardinals. The over/under for total points is at . Therefore, we should expect touchdowns galore in primetime. Which will be a nice change of pace after last week’s Monday Night Football debacle.

Cardinals-Rams rematch will feature a load of new faces

Since that Week 4 matchup, both teams remained two of the most successful teams in the first half of the 2021 NFL season. However, that has not been the case in recent weeks.

The Rams started to struggle under the weight of numerous injuries, including losing wide receiver Robert Woods. However, Los Angeles made some key additions to its roster, bringing in pass rusher Von Miller and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

These two stars have yet to make a significant impact. In his three games with the Rams, Miller has not recorded a sack, while OBJ has only had one big performance in his three games (in a losing effort against the Green Bay Packers). But Cardinals fans should not get overconfident, because that could mean these two talented players could be due to show up big inside State Farm Stadium.

The Cardinals are also introducing a new face to the rivalry in the form of tight end Zach Ertz. He was acquired in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles after the season-ending injury to Maxx Williams. In six games with Arizona, Ertz has 23 receptions, 279 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Ertz adds another weapon that this Rams defense did not have to worry about in Week 4, in a game where Arizona scored 37 points.

Los Angeles Rams (8-4) at Arizona Cardinals (10-2)
Date: Monday, Dec. 13th
Time: 6:15 p.m. MST
Location: State Farm Stadium – Glendale, Arizona
TV Coverage: ESPN

Time to start thinking NFL playoffs

With five weeks left in the regular season, the Arizona Cardinals are 10-2 — best record in the NFL. Only a catastrophic collapse of epic proportions would prevent this team from making the playoffs. In Week 14, Arizona can clinch a ticket to the dance through a variety of methods.

  • Scenario 1
    1. Cardinals win or tie against the Rams
  • Scenario 2
    1. Vikings lose to or tie the Steelers
    2. 49ers lose to the Bengals
  • Scenario 3
    1. Panthers tie the Falcons
    2. Saints lose to or tie the Jets
    3. 49ers lose to the Bengals
  • Scenario 4
    1. Vikings lose to or tie the Steelers
    2. Panthers lose to or tie the Falcons
    3. Saints lose to or tie the Jets

There is a laundry list of tiebreaker scenarios that would allow Arizona to punch a ticket to the postseason before they even step on the field on Monday night. However, the simplest way to get into the postseason is for the Cardinals to beat their NFC West rivals outright for the second time this season.

That result would make a lot of Cardinals futures bettors very happy. Prior to the season, the Arizona Cardinals betting odds to make the playoffs were at +150. The team’s odds to win the NFC West were at +650. A win Monday night will lock up one of those bets and put the other a stone’s throw away from cashing in.

Photo by AP / Jeff Haynes
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C.J. Pierre

CJ Pierre is a multimedia journalist currently residing in the Phoenix-Metro Area in Arizona. He has been covering news and sports for over a decade for both online and TV broadcasts. He was born and raised in Minneapolis and an alum of Minnesota State University: Moorhead. CJ has experience as a reporter and videographer and has covered high school, college and professional sports throughout his career. Most notably following Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Vikings and North Dakota State University football.

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