NFL super wild-card weekend wraps up with a special Monday Night playoff matchup between a pair of NFC West rivals.

The Arizona Cardinals and the Los Angeles Rams will meet for the third time this season, with the winner advancing to next week’s divisional round against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Rams opened as a 4.5-point favourite, but that number has since moved a full point in the Cardinals’ favour. The total currently sits at 49.5, a number that each of the first two meetings between these two exceeded.

Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams

Line: Rams -3.5

Total: 49.5


All square

Arizona and Los Angeles split their first two meetings this season, with the Cardinals posting a convincing 37-20 road victory in Week 4, and the Rams responding with a 30-23 victory in Arizona in Week 14.

Arizona limps into Monday’s contest losers of four of its past five, with its lone victory during that stretch coming on the road in Dallas.

L.A. had a chance to lock up the NFC’s second seed in Week 18 and secure a more favourable wild-card matchup but fell to San Francisco at home in overtime.

 Although they split the regular-season matchups, you could argue the Cardinals were the better team. They dominated the first meeting, and outgained L.A. in both games.

Turnovers were their downfall in the rematch, as two costly Kyler Murray interceptions, including one near the goal line, proved to be the difference.


Stafford struggling

The Rams may have won five of six down the stretch, but you’d never know it from Matthew Stafford’s play.

After a scorching-hot start to the season, the former No.1 overall pick has regressed in a big way.

In the first eight weeks, he posted a brilliant 22-to-4 TD-to-INT rate. Over his final nine games he threw 13 interceptions, including seven in L.A.’s past three contests.

Word out of Los Angeles is that Stafford is dealing with a toe injury, but he hasn’t missed any action to date. He’s still looking for his first career playoff victory but has a long history of struggling versus quality opposition.

Throughout his career, Stafford is just 31-53-2 against the spread versus teams with a winning record. It’s been a reoccurring trend this season as well, as he and the Rams have covered in just two of nine games versus teams with a record above .500.


Road warriors

The Cardinals are one of the few teams in the NFL that have performed better on the road than at home this season. Arizona was 3-5 at home, but 8-1 on the road.

They were also 8-1 against the spread on the road, winning outright as an underdog six times, including in L.A. in Week 4.

Not surprisingly, given the team’s success, is the fact Murray also performed much better on the road this season. He threw six more touchdown passes on the road and added three more rushing scores.


Best bets

Two of Murray’s six biggest passing games came against L.A. this season, including a season-best 383-yard performance last time they met. The Rams secondary has been decimated by injuries, and even though Murray won’t have DeAndre Hopkins, he can still find plenty of success.


Meanwhile, Arizona’s defence struggled down the stretch but is set to welcome back J.J. Watt. The five-time All-Pro defensive end will join Chandler Jones and Markus Golden to form a very formidable pass rush, and one that can wreak havoc on Stafford.

Pick: Cardinals +3.5