NFL Week 17: Scouting five games with serious playoff implications on Sunday –

Cardinals’ playoff percentage: 49.9
Rams’ playoff percentage: 82.3

The winner of this game clinches a playoff berth. If Los Angeles loses, the Rams can still make the postseason with a Chicago loss to Green Bay.

With Jared Goff fresh off thumb surgery, John Wolford will be making his NFL debut as the Rams’ starter on Sunday. Having worked as an AAF analyst during the league’s only season, I got a close look at Wolford’s last real game action as the Arizona Hotshots’ starting signal-caller. Wolford led the league in touchdown passes (14) while finishing in a fourth-place tie on the interceptions front (7). The area of his game that stood out the most? Deep passing, as in throws of 20-plus air yards. Wolford’s 53.6 percent deep completion rate (15 for 28) was the highest mark in the league. He enjoyed the most deep success between the numbers (with a perfect 158.3 passer rating, per Pro Football Focus) and outside right (125.0 passer rating, per PFF). An area of concern is how Wolford will perform under pressure. The Hotshots’ O-line let him down, as Wolford took the second-most sacks in the AAF (14), but he also threw the most interceptions under pressure (6).

On the other side of this matchup, Cardinals receiver DeAndre Hopkins will likely see a lot of Jalen Ramsey. In the Rams’ 38-28 win at Arizona back in Week 13, Next Gen Stats had Hopkins lined up against Ramsey on 85 percent of routes. According to PFF, Hopkins was targeted eight times while covered by Ramsey, catching three balls for 20 yards. NGS shows that Hopkins had zero receptions of 10-plus air yards in that game and zero in this past Sunday’s loss to San Francisco — his only two contests of the season with no catches in that range. NGS also shows that Hopkins’ 75 receptions on passes of fewer than 10 air yards rank as the sixth-most among wide receivers in 2020, but he only has one touchdown reception on such throws.

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