The road to SoFi Stadium in Inglewood goes through … SoFi Stadium in Inglewood.
UPDATE: The Rams passed the first playoff test of the 2021-22 NFL season with an impressive 34-11 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Monday at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood.
From there they progress to the Divisional Round against the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay. A win there would put them in the NFC Championship Game against the winner of the Green Bay-San Francisco contest.
The Rams jumped out to a 21-0 halftime lead and never looked back. Matthew Stafford passed for 202 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. Cooper Kupp caught five passes for 61 yards and one score, while Odell Beckham Jr. caught four for 54 yards and one TF.
The team relied on rushing to set up passing opportunities, getting 140 yards on the ground. Sony Michel had 15 carries for 58 yards and Cam Akers added 55 yards on 17 carries.
If the Los Angeles Rams hope to be playing in Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13 at what happens to be their home stadium, they’ll have to defeat the Arizona Cardinals in tonight’s first round playoff game.
The bookies have the Rams as a four-point favorite, but there are plenty of variables to consider.
- Rams’ quarterback Matthew Stafford has thrown eight interceptions in his last four games. However, the team has gone 3-1 in those contests, and would have won all four if not for some last-second heroics by the 49ers last week. Also, the last time that Stafford didn’t throw any picks was against Arizona.
- The Rams’ secondary was a bit embarrassed in that loss to the Boys from the Bay, but here’s a chance for redemption. The Cardinals’ QB Kyler Murray passes a lot, throwing between 38 and 43 passes in his last four games. That means opportunities for interceptions, especially if the Rams’ pass rush forces Murray to make a quick – and perhaps ill-advised – decision or two.
- History is on the Rams’ side, as well as a dubious home field advantage. Although the teams have split their series this season – one win for each team in the other guys’ stadium – recent results showed the dominance for Our Guys, having won 10 of their last 11 games and scoring at least 30 points in eight of their last 10 games. And yes, we know … that was then, this is now.
Our guess: We don’t call it a prediction because it’s impossible to predict the future until Apple comes out with a Time Machine, so we are guess-timating that Rams win by three.
Here’s the inside story
The area teams that play their winter sports in arenas are going in different directions.
“Our” ice hockey teams are clustered near the top of the NHL Pacific, with the Kings and Ducks tied for second and bound – so far – for playoff spots.
“Our” basketball teams are not doing nearly as well. Both he Lakers and Clippers are “under water,” so to speak, posting losing records. In conference play, they are eighth and ninth. The top teams in each conference make the playoffs, so – to use another “inside” game expression – both LA area squads are on thin ice at this point.
Here’s the schedule of games coming up for area pro teams
- Los Angeles Rams: First round playoff game today (Monday) at SoFi Stadium hosting the Arizona Cardinals at 5:15 p.m., ABC and ESPN.
- Los Angeles Lakers (21-22): Today hosting Utah Jazz; on Wednesday hosting Indiana Pacers; on Friday at Orlando Magic.
- Los Angeles Clippers (21-23): Today at Indiana Pacers; on Wednesday at Denver Nuggets; on Friday at Philadelphia 76ers.
- Los Angeles Kings (20-13-5): Today at San Jose Sharks; on Tuesday hosting the Tampa Bay Lightning; on Thursday hosting Colorado Avalanche.
- Anaheim Ducks: (19-15-7): On Wednesday hosting Colorado Avalanche; on Friday hosting Tampa Bay Lightning.
“Sports Monday” is written by Pete Zarustica with Associated Press reports.