NFL Wild Card Preview: L.A. Rams at Detroit

A betting preview for the Sunday NFL Wild Card game between the Los Angeles Rams and Detroit Lions.

Preview and Pick for the Wild Card game between Los Angeles and Detroit

The finale of Sunday’s wild-card tripleheader in an evening affair in Detroit, a 3-6 NFC-seeding contest between the 10-7 Los Angeles Rams and the 12-5 (North champion) Detroit Lions. 

While the main storyline involved the quarterbacks (more later), there are others. LA wasn’t considered a playoff contender at the outset of the season, but finished with four wins in a row. 

Lions Wild Card predictionDetroit ended a three-decade drought with a division championship this season, 3-1 in its last four (controversial loss at Dallas the lone blemish here). It’s the Lions’s first home playoff game since ‘94, having lost its last eight postseason games (1-12 since winning the NFL title in ‘57). 

Detroit is a field-goal favorite (total at 51½), according to NFL odds. Moneyline is Lions -160, Rams at +140.

It’s the Rams franchise leading the all-time series (including postseason), 45-41-1. 

Now, to the "reunion" of traded quarterbacks, as in the Lions' Jared Goff and the Rams' Matthew Stafford opposing their former teams.


Rams with Balance

The Los Angeles Rams have been a fun team to watch this season. Quarterback Matthew Stafford (3,965 passing yards, 24 touchdowns, 11 interceptions) returns to the city where he played the first dozen seasons in a 15-year career. He was 0-3 with Detroit in the postseason. 

Rams Lions free pickRookie wideout Puka Nacua (105 receptions,1,486 yards, six touchdowns) is the favorite target of Stafford, while running back Kyren Williams (1,144 yards, 12 touchdowns) helped the team average 120.3 rushing yards per game. 

Defensively, LA is about what's been presented (22.2 points this season versus 22.6 in ‘22) in recent seasons, though not above surrendering acreage (337.9 yards/game, 20th in NFL).

"D" in Detroit?

There weren’t many (if any) better feel-good stories around the league than the Detroit Lions, but not without some holes along the way. 

Detroit surrendered more than 247 passing yards/game (27th in league), preparing now to try and stop its once-own quarterback (albeit with a different staff of coaches). 

Detroit Lions free pick LA RamsIt's a top-five scoring offense (27.1 points/game, fifth in league) led by Jared Goff (4,575 passing yards, 30 touchdowns, 12 interceptions). Goff plied his craft in SoCal over five seasons before he and Stafford swapped change-of-venue-forms. Goff was 3-2 with LA in the playoffs.

Running back David Montgomery (1,015 yards, 15 touchdowns) leads the backfield, while Amon-Ra St. Brown (119 receptions, 1,515 yards, 10 touchdowns) may need to do even more with the possible absence of record-setting tight end Sam LaPorta (86 receptions, 889 yards, 10 touchdowns) with a hyperextended knee.

While susceptible against the pass, Detroit doesn’t allow much (88.8 yards/game, second in NFL) versus the run.

Rams to Roll

There are any number of props available, as per Rams vs. Lions wagering.

Though the Detroit Lions have had a terrific season, and with a big boost playing at home, Detroit may be without the services of a Jared Goff favorite in Sam LaPorta. That hurts, as does a defense that can be softened through the air. 

While neither Matthew Stafford nor Goff sees this as an issue of revenge, perhaps the Rams are playing a bit better entering the contest. 

It will be the Los Angeles Rams +3 winning what should be a game that goes over, too.

Sign-up for the OSGA Newsletter!

Every week get news and updates, exclusive offers and betting tips delivered right to you email inbox.