NFL Week 3 Rams vs. Cardinals Best Bets: NFC West Showdown in the Desert

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Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates throwing a two-point conversion with no time left on the clock against the Las Vegas Raiders. Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP

The Rams invade the desert on Sunday afternoon when they take on their NFC West rivals from Arizona.

Let’s break down this late afternoon contest and keep cashing our NFL picks

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Los Angeles Rams vs. Arizona Cardinals

Sunday, September 25, 2022 – 04:25 PM EDT at State Farm Stadium

The Rams' Struggles

The Rams hardly looked like defending Super Bowl champions when they were throttled, 31-10, by one of the premier challengers to the throne, the Buffalo Bills, in the opening game of the 2022 NFL season.  

They did have a much easier contest ahead of them last Sunday, but a comedy of errors in the fourth quarter changed their game with the Falcons from a blowout to a 31-27 squeaker. Matthew Stafford was 27-of-36 for 272 yards, three touchdowns, and two picks with only one sack.  

Cooper Kupp was once again Stafford’s primary target and he delivered 11 receptions for 108 yards and two trips inside the end zone. We should also note that Kupp had a disastrous fourth-quarter fumble that likely cost a cover to all of those who laid the 10 to 10 ½ points on Los Angeles.

The Offense Needs to Step It Up

One of the most concerning aspects of the Rams’ offense this season has to be the geriatric pace of the rushing attack, which has resembled more of a mild affront up to this point.

Cam Akers has been stuck in quicksand with a combined 18 carries for 44 yards over the first two games while his backfield stablemate, Darrell Henderson Jr., has been better but by no means a game-changer. 

After holding a 31-10 lead with 12 minutes left in the final frame, the Rams fell apart. The Falcons managed 17 unanswered points after that, including a blocked punt, and those who were counting their money on the chalky favorite were dumbstruck when the Rams won by only a four-point margin.  

"There's a lot of different, very uncharacteristic things, but they happened. And we still found a way," Rams coach Sean McVay said. "We're not going to run away from some of the things that we didn't do well today. But we're also going to allow ourselves to appreciate being able to come away with a win." 


Cardinals Prove Resilient 

The Cardinals were chewed up and spit out by the juggernaut that is Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in the opening week of their season. When the dust settled, Kansas City drew away to a 44-21 victory and the Redbirds had to regroup with a visit to Sin City in their sights for Week 2. The outlook was not pretty and things looked their darkest when the Raiders held a 20-0 lead at the half on Sunday

However, the Cardinals struck first in the second half when Kyler Murray tossed a little flare to Greg Dortch, who found the end zone on Murray’s five-yard pass. Darrel Williams would take a one-yard plunge into the end zone after a Raiders’ field goal.

But the white-knuckle moment came when Murray charged into the end zone from the Raiders’ three-yard line and then found veteran A.J. Green for the two-point conversion to tie the game. 

The mojo was clearly in Arizona’s camp and it continued in the overtime frame when Byron Murphy Jr. scooped a fumble and rumbled 59 yards for the game-winning touchdown. The final score was Cardinals 29 – Raiders 23.  


Rams vs. Cardinals: Pick and Prediction

I have been underwhelmed by the Rams thus far but I also realize the Cardinals could very well be 0-2 entering this matchup. But Kyler Murray turned last week’s game around for Arizona and his stunning mobility should allow him to elude, if not at least buy time, against LA’s menacing pass rush.  

This should be a high-scoring affair with both Matthew Stafford and Kyler Murray airing it out early and often. But the thing about Stafford is he always seems to toss a couple of picks to go along with his three touchdown passes. I don’t think he will get away with much in this one and those interceptions could prove costly to the Super Bowl champs this week. 

This line has already dropped from 4 ½ to as low as 3 ½ in some shops, which tells me the sharps are on the home dog in this one. I’m never sorry to be on that side of the argument so we will let the squares bet the road chalk hand over fist while we cash with the Cards.

I think this game goes high and Arizona wins outright, but we’ll take the points just in case. 

Trends

  • Rams are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games overall. 
  • Rams are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games after accumulating less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game. 
  • Rams are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games after accumulating more than 250 yards passing in their previous game. 
  • Over is 6-1 in the Rams' last 7 games in September. 
  • Over is 5-1 in the Rams' last 6 games in Week 3. 
  • Over is 4-0 in the Cardinals' last 4 games following an ATS win. 
  • Over is 4-0 in the Cardinals' last 4 games following a straight-up win. 

Scoring Prediction: Cardinals 31 – Rams 27 

NFL Pick: Cardinals +4 (-108) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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Cardinals +4 (-108)
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NFL Pick: Over 50 ½ (-110) at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

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Over 50 ½ (-110)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.