Arizona Cardinals (3-6) at Los Angeles Rams (3-5)
This game is complicated because both teams have quarterbacks questionable due to injury. In the Rams case, Matt Stafford seems highly unlikely to be able to clear the concussion protocol in time to start this week, while Cardinals’ quarterback Kyler Murray could play, but would likely be severely limited mobility wise due to his hamstring injury, in which case the Cardinals may be better off resting Murray and playing serviceable backup Colt McCoy. The Rams also have a serviceable backup in John Wolford, who is likely to be a significant downgrade from Stafford, who is struggling by his standards this season.
Murray is also struggling by his standards this season and, overall, both of these teams have mediocre offenses to begin with, as the Rams rank 20th and the Cardinals rank 21st in schedule adjusted offensive efficiency. The difference between these two teams is on defense, where the Rams rank 10th in schedule adjusted efficiency and the Cardinals rank 26th. The Cardinals are 3-6, but they have actually been one of the worst teams in the league overall this season, benefitting from a +3 turnover margin, which is not predictive, and still struggling to win games, in large part due to their 29th ranked overall schedule adjusted efficiency, which is much more predictive. Overall, they are 5 points below average in schedule adjusted efficiency, about 3.5 points worse than the Rams.
Both teams have mediocre offenses with injured quarterbacks, but the Rams are still the clearly better team overall due to their defense. Despite that, the Rams are only favored by 1.5 points at home in this game, suggesting these two teams are about even. My calculated line has them favored by 5, so there is enough here for the Rams to be worth betting, even with the uncertainty around both teams’ quarterback situations. There aren’t many games that are worth betting this week, so the Rams are actually going to be my Pick of the Week, largely by default, without another good option.
Los Angeles Rams 20 Arizona Cardinals 13
Pick against the spread: LA Rams -1.5
Confidence: Pick of the Week