Los Angeles Rams Could Go From Division Favorite To Out of the Playoffs

29 December 2020

los angeles rams

A couple of weeks ago, it looked like the Los Angeles Rams would win the NFC West. With one of the best defenses in the NFL and an offense that was not great but good enough, things were looking good for the Rams.

Following their last win, a 24-3 victory over the New England Patriots, the Rams were favored to win the division.

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But then they lost a stinker to the previously winless New York Jets, and then they lost last week to the Seattle Seahawks, 20-9.

The win gave the division title to the Seahawks. The loss dropped the Rams record to 9-6, but they are still in a position to secure the No. 6 seed in the NFC. However, depending on how things go in Week 17, there is a good chance they do not make the postseason.

How the Los Angeles Rams Miss The Playoffs

As a 9-6 team sitting in the 6-seed above two 8-7 teams, the Rams should be sitting pretty. All they need to do is win, and they are in. But that may be easier said than done.

Why? Because after breaking his thumb in Sunday’s loss to the Seahawks, they are going to be without the services of Jared Goff.  

That means the Los Angeles Rams are going to have to turn to John Wolford to lead them to victory, a quarterback with no NFL experience that last played in the Alliance of American Football. But there is a chance they could turn to Blake Bortles if things look bad early on.

The Rams are signing Bortles off the practice squad of the Denver Broncos. He spent last season with the Rams and may be a little more familiar with the offense than Wolford.

So, there is no telling what offense, if any, the Rams will be able to produce Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. However, there is a chance the Rams may not need to generate much at all because the Cardinals could have quarterback issues as well.

Late In their loss to the San Francisco 49ers last week, Kyler Murray suffered a lower leg injury. Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury has been vague on whether Murray is likely to play. All he has said is the team is “hopeful” Murray can play.

If he cannot, it will be up to former Canadian Football League quarterback Clint Streveler or Brett Hundley to lead the team to victory in a must-win game.

Should that be the case, both offenses will be limited because of quarterback issues; the edge goes to the Rams because of their defense. However, Kingsbury has made one comment that makes it sound like Murray will likely be in the game (via ESPN):

“I think if that’s how he’s got to play, if he’s got to adjust his style, he can definitely play from the pocket and try to lead us in that way.”

In this case, with the stakes being what they are, a limited Murray may be enough.

So – How Should You Bet?

Right now, the game is expected to be a close one. Some sportsbooks do not have odds posted, but DraftKings has the Rams as 1.5-point favorites in the game—which means it could easily go either way.

Depending on how the quarterback scenarios play out, that sounds about right. If the Los Angeles Rams are without Goff and the Cardinals are without Murray, the Rams will have the edge in the game.

But if the Cardinals do have Murray, limited or not, the advantage belongs to Arizona. A Murray that cannot scramble will have a hard time against the Rams defense, but he can still play well enough to win with the weapons he has.

However, even if the Rams do lose to the Cardinals, they can still make the playoffs. They will need the Chicago Bears to lose to a Green Bay Packers team that can lock up the No. 1 seed in the NFC with a win.

Betting Play: The safe bet would be to take the Los Angeles Rams to make the playoffs (-667; odds via PointsBet). But there is value in betting on them not making the playoffs (+450). If you take that route, though, do not bet anything you cannot afford to lose.

The spread may not be much (Green Bay by 5.5), but the Packers will not lose to the Bears.

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