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Cardinals’ odds vs. Rams, making playoffs tilt after Goff news

Los Angeles Rams running back Darrell Henderson (27) breaks free for a touchdown as Arizona Cardinals cornerback Byron Murphy (33) pursues during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Win and they’re in.

The Arizona Cardinals dug themselves a hole on Saturday by losing to the San Francisco 49ers and putting their playoff hopes in the hands of others. But after games on Sunday, it’s back to a simple formula.

All they must do to make the NFL playoffs is win this coming Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams to leap-frog the 9-6 division rival.

A victory for Arizona (8-7) would tie both teams with 9-7 records to end the regular season. By splitting their head-to-head games, the Cardinals will own the tiebreaker with a better NFC West division record.

Arizona would be the sixth seed if it wins and the Chicago Bears fall to the Green Bay Packers in Week 17. The Cardinals would be the seventh seed if they win and the Bears also win because Chicago has a tiebreaker over Arizona.

What are the chances of the Cardinals beating the Rams to make the playoffs?

Here are the latest projections from ESPN, FiveThirtyEight and Las Vegas oddsmakers after Rams quarterback Jared Goff was ruled out due to his thumb injury suffered last week.

It’s expected those numbers could adjust again once there is more clarity on the status of Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray, who is working through a lower leg injury.

ESPN

On Monday morning, Arizona had 40.7% chances of beating the Rams, per the Football Power Index (FPI).

Those odds as of Tuesday morning actually dropped to 37.4% after the Monday Night Football game between the Bills and Patriots — we’re guessing because a 38-9 win for Buffalo had the formula judging Arizona’s loss to New England more harshly.

FPI does account for quarterback absences. Goff’s backup, John Wolford, only has last season’s preseason games worth of limited action, and considering how poorly Goff has played of late, well, maybe that is factored into the decreasing Cardinals odds as well.

FiveThirtyEight

Compared to ESPN, the website was already more in favor of the Cardinals odds of winning on the road, giving them 49% chance of beating the Rams as of Monday.

By Tuesday, Arizona got a 6% bump to make it a slight favorite with 55% odds of making the postseason after a win.

Odds

Las Vegas’ line on the game opened in favor of Los Angeles by -4 to -5. It edged a little more in the Cardinals’ direction, from -3 to -1 with the Ram still favored as of Wednesday.

How much that changes with Murray clarifying that he will play remains to be seen.


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