Posts Tagged ‘St. Louis Rams’

By W.G. Ramirez

San Diego has never been known as a team that can travel well.

Last week it did just fine in Philadelphia. Then again, when you have a team like the Eagles, running the offense coach Chip Kelly runs, you’re going to have a very weary team on your hands. Though the Chargers have won three straight in Tennessee and nine consecutive overall in series, today will be a good test for the Chargers (1-1), who go back on the road, traveling a little less than they did last week. Waiting in Nashville are the spunky Titans (1-1), who might be in the right spot at the right time to knock off the Bolts.

The Chargers might be averaging 37.7 points per game over their past three versus the Titans, and yes Philip Rivers was 36 of 47 for 419 yards and three touchdown passes to Eddie Royal in last week’s 33-30 victory at Philadelphia, but the Titans have a staunch defense that is tied for 11th overall in the league.

The Titans, who are mired in a 4-11 ATS slide in their past 15 games as a favorite, they’ve won two of their past three home openers. San Diego, meanwhile, has covered 8 of 9 against Tennessee since 1993, and is on an 8-3 ATS win streak as an underdog.

Looking at some of the other intriguing lines and stats in the NFL:

Texans (-1′) at Ravens – The storyline here is the return of safety Ed Reed to Baltimore, and whether or not he’ll play for the Texans (2-0) in this game, as he’s been dealing with a nagging hip injury. Retired Ray Lewis is also coming back just to see his name added to the Ravens’ Ring of Honor.

The Ravens (1-1) are on a 6-1 straight-up run against the Texans. Last season Houston won 43-13 in October, so revenge might be a factor for Baltimore.

Rams at Cowboys (-3) – Look for Dallas’ defense to be tested, as St. Louis quarterback Sam Bradford is off to the fastest start of his four-year career with 651 yards through two games. He had 352 yards last week against Atlanta, the second-best total of career, in a losing cause as the Rams (1-1) lost to Atlanta 31-24. It could very well be a quarterback-showdown, as Cowboys signal-caller Tony Romo has completed more than 70 percent of passes in both games, albeit his average per attempt is 6.2 yards, significantly lower than career mark of 7.9.

The Cowboys (1-1) are in on an abysmal 4-14 ATS run at home, while the Rams have covered 6 of their last 7 on the road.

Packers (-3) at Bengals – Not too hard to figure out who will be in the spotlight here, as the matchup of the day could very well be Cincinnati’s defense against Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who was 34 for 42 for a career-high 480 yards and four touchdowns in last week’s 38-20 win over the Washington Redskins last Sunday. Also, James Jones had a career-best 178 yards receiving in the win. It was the first time the Packers (1-1) had a 400-yard passer and 100-yard rusher in the same game.

The Packers come in on a 5-1 ATS run against the Bengals (1-1), dating back to 1986, while they’ve covered 8 of 9 as the installed chalk. Cincinnati has covered 5 of its last 9 as an underdog.

Bears (-2) at Steelers – Interesting Sunday night game, as Chicago rolls in as the favorite here, something probably not expected when the season first started. After all, the Bears (2-0) haven’t won in Pittsburgh since 1989. But after scoring fourth-quarter comebacks in their first two games, the Bears are looking to open up 3-0 on the strength of quarterback Jay Cutler. He completed 28 of 39 passes for 290 yards and three touchdowns in Chicago’s 31-30 victory over Minnesota last week.  The Steelers, who are looking to avoid their first 0-3 start since 1986, have lost seven of their last nine dating back to Week 10 of the 2012 season.

Chicago is mired in a 1-5-1 ATS slide overall, while Pittsburgh is in on a 1-5 ATS skid overall. Also, the Steelers have gone 1-4-1 ATS in its last 6 games at home.

Speaking of football, in London, this weekend it’ll be the kind we’re used to in America, not the brand the Brits are familiar with.

The St. Louis Rams (3-4) “host” Tom Brady and the New England Patriots (4-3) Sunday at Wembley Stadium in the annual NFL International Series in London.

The Patriots are 7-point favorites over the Rams, while the total is sitting at 47.

First-year coach – but certainly no newbie to the game – Jeff Fisher has seemingly turned this team around, and it’s evident on the defensive side of the ball. St. Louis has the 10th-ranked defense in the league overall, after being 22nd last year.

Prior to last week’s 30-20 loss to the Green Bay Packers, the Rams had stifled their foes to a mere 14.7 points per game at home in the Edward Jones Dome, with impressive victories over the Redskins, Seahawks and Cardinals.

Of course, there might be a question mark against more-formidable opponents after seeing what the Packers did; this week may tell more against the Patriots and their No. 1 ranked overall offense.

The young Rams figure to have their hands full, as is this their first trip across the pond; the Patriots have been here before, beating Tampa Bay at Wembley in 2009. And let’s be real, though the official boxscore will list St. Louis as the home team, the Patriots are by far the more popular team in Europe.

No doubt in my mind the Patriots will get a majority of the support.

That’s not to say I’m ready to lay the chalk with New England, especially after seeing last Sunday’s second-half collapse and overall scare, relinquishing a 10-point fourth-quarter lead to the New York Jets in a three-point, overtime win. And that was one week after blowing a 13-point fourth-quarter lead in a loss to Seattle.

I will be intrigued to see how well these two teams defend one another, since Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels held the same position with the Rams last season. Theory being, the Rams might be able to predict some of his tendencies, albeit with guys like Brady, Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. And, the Patriots could benefit by McDaniels’ info about the tendencies of the Rams’ offensive personnel.

The ‘under’ is on a 4-1 run in this ‘London game,’ and the Rams were on a four-game ‘under’ streak til last week, when they went over 45 with the Packers, totaling 50 points. They have to know their best chance in this game is to slow the Patriots down, eat up clock by controlling the tempo with a strong rushing game, protecting the football and keeping Brady off the field. I can buy into that philosophy and still see the Patriots win this game.

Again, I don’t want to lay the points, since I could see New England up by 10 late in this one, and the Rams scoring a backdoor touchdown. The Patriots might just put it on Fisher’s boys, like they did the Buccaneers in 2009, in a 35-7 rout.

For my official free play on this game, head over to Chris Jordan Sports where I have a 4* play (based on a scale of 1* to 5*) ready right now.

PREVIOUS NFL GAMES OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES

Oct. 2 2005 Cardinals (-3, 44) 31–14 over 49ers, at Mexico City

Oct. 28 2007 Giants 13-10 over Dolphins (+10, 47.5), at London

Oct. 26 2008 Saints (+3, 45.5) 37-32 over Chargers, at London

Oct. 25 2009 Patriots (-15.5, 44.5) 35-7 over Buccaneers, at London

Oct. 31 2010 49ers (-2, 41) 24-16 over Broncos, at London

Oct. 23 2011 Bears (-1.5, 44) 24-18 over Buccaneers, at London

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