NFL Betting NFC West Picks: St. Louis Rams at Arizona Cardinals
St. Louis Rams at Arizona Cardinals
University of Phoenix Stadium – Glendale, Arizona
Sunday, December 8, 2013, 4:25 pm Eastern, TV: Fox, NFL Sunday Ticket
Opening Line: Arizona -7
Current Line: Arizona -4 1/2
Opening Total: 42 1/2
Current Total: 41 1/2
Opening Money Line: Cardinals -260 / Rams +215
Current Money Line: Cardinals -220 / Rams +180
The 7-5 Arizona Cardinals are one game behind the San Francisco 49ers for the last playoff spot in the NFC. The Cardinals are in a precarious position though with tough games remaining before they host teh 49ers the last week of the regular season. It all starts Sunday as the Cardinals host the 5-7 St. Louis Rams. The Rams are still alive for the playoffs but just barely. St. Louis will be eliminated with a loss to Arizona or a San Francisco win over Seattle Sunday.
Since 2001, Arizona leads the series against St. Louis 12-11. The Rams have beaten the Cardinals 3 straight times including 27-24 in the season opener for both teams in St. Louis earlier this year. In that game Arizona led 24-13 going into the fourth quarter but St. Louis scored 14 points in the fourth quarter to win the game by a field goal. Each team had 2 turnovers, (including a two yard pick six by the Cardinals) and the teams combined for 13 penalties for 127 yards.
The St. Louis Rams are coached by Jeff Fisher. The Rams have home wins over the Cardinals 27-24, Jacksonville Jaguars 34-20, and the Chicago Bears 42-21, along with road wins at the Houston Texans 38-13 and Indianapolis Colts 38-8. The Rams have home losses to San Francisco 35-11, Seattle 14-9 and the Tennessee Titans 28-21, along with road losses to the Atlanta Falcons 31-24, Dallas Cowboys 31-7, Carolina Panthers 30-15 and last week at the 49ers 23-13. St. Louis is 5-7 ATS and the total is 9-3 this season. The Rams were 7.5 point favorites against the 49ers and the total was 40.5.
San Francisco took a 13-0 lead against St. Louis before the Rams finally got on the board with a field goal just before halftime to make it 13-3. The two teams each kicked a field goal in the third quarter. San Francisco expanded the lead to 23-6 early in the fourth. St. Louis added a late cosmetic touchdown with 18 seconds left to make the final 23-13. The Rams had 312 total yards including 198 passing yards. The 49ers had 338 total yards including 255 passing. Each team had a turnover and they combined for 20 penalties for 190 yards.
St. Louis is scoring 23.2 points per game and allowing 23.2 points per game as well. The Rams are #17 in scoring and #15 in points allowed. St. Louis is averaging 323.6 yards per game on offense including 209.8 passing yards and 113.8 rushing yards per game. The rams are #25 in both total and passing offense. On defense, The Rams are allowing 356.7 yards per game including 247.7 passing and 109 rushing yards. St. Louis is +8 in turnovers. The Rams are 60/177 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 60/153. The Rams have forced 37 sacks this season and allowed 29. St. Louis has 7 defensive/special teams touchdowns and have allowed 3 this season. The Rams are averaging 60 penalty yards per game and opponents average 65.
St. Louis quarterback Kellen Clemens took over earlier in the season when Sam Bradford tore his ACL. Clemens has completed 51.7% of his passes for 1,019 yards with 5 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, along with 47 rushing yards. Clemens has been sacked 14 times this season. Back-up Brady Quinn is also on IR with a hip injury. If something happens to Clemens, Austin Davis is the back-up.
Running back Zac Stacy has 160 carries for 696 yards with 4 touchdowns, along with 17 catches, 106 yards and a touchdown. Benny Cunningham has 42 carries for 254 yards and a touchdown, along with 3 catches for 41 yards. Daryl Richardson has 69 carries for 215 yards along with 14 catches for 121 yards. He is probable with a foot injury after missing last week.
Tight end Jared Cook has 40 catches 557 yards and 4 touchdowns. Chris Givens has 30 catches for 493 yards. Tavon Austin has 39 catches for 409 yards and 4 touchdowns. Austin also had 8 carries for 95 yards and a rushing touchdown, along with a punt return for a touchdown. Austin Pettis has 29 catches, 308 yards and 4 touchdowns. Brian Quick has 16 catches for 286 yards and 2 touchdowns. Lance Kendricks has 23 catches for 172 yards and 3 touchdowns. Four defensive players and three offensive linemen are listed on the injury report.
Arizona is coached by Bruce Arians. The Cardinals have road losses at the St. Louis Rams 27-24, the New Orleans Saints 31-7, the San Francisco 49ers 32-20, and last week at the Philadelphia Eagles 24-21 along with a home loss to the Seattle Seahawks 34-22. Arizona has home wins over the Detroit Lions 25-21, the Carolina Panthers 22-6, the Atlanta Flacons 27-13, the Houston Texans 27-24 and the Indianapolis Colts 40-11, along with road wins at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13-10 and Jacksonville Jaguars 27-14. The Cardinals had won 4 straight games before the Philadelphia loss. Arizona is 8-4 ATS and the total is 6-6 this season. The Cardinals were 3.5 point underdogs against the Eagles and the total was 48.
The Eagles took a 7-0 first quarter lead against the Cardinals last week. Philadelphia would expand the lead to 17-7 by halftime. The two teams would exchange touchdowns in the third quarter to make it 24-14 going into the fourth quarter. The Cardinals would pull to within 24-21 with 4:45 left in the fourth. Arizona would get one more chance from their own 10 with 2:03 left after a Philadelphia punt. The Cardinals could not get a first down though and the Eagles took a knee to run out the clock. Arizona had 350 total yards including 260 passing yards. Philadelphia had 307 total yards including 202 passing yards. The Cardinals were unable to overcome 3 turnovers and 6 penalties for 55 yards.
Arizona is being outscored 23-21 this season. Arizona is #18 in scoring and #8 in points allowed. The Cardinals are averaging 335.3 yards per game including 246.5 passing and 88.8 rushing yards. Arizona is #24 in rushing. On defense, the Cardinals are allowing 316.2 total yards per game including 233 passing and 83.2 rushing yards. Arizona is #4 in rush defense and #7 in total defense. The Cardinals are -1 in turnovers. Arizona is 52/155 on third and fourth down conversions. Cardinal opponents are 69/184 on third and fourth down conversions. Arizona has forced 34 sacks and allowed 35 this season. Arizona has three defensive touchdown and has allowed one. The Cardinals average 47 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 61.
Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer has completed 62.8% of his passes for 3,189 yards with 19 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He has been sacked 35 times this season. Palmer is probable with an elbow injury. Drew Stanton and Ryan Lindley are the back-ups but neither has taken a snap this season.
Rookie running back Andre Ellington has 73 carries for 441 yards and 2 touchdown, along with 28 catches, 247 yards and a touchdown. Ellington is probable with a knee injury after missing last week. Rashard Mendenhall has 148 carries, 467 yards and 5 touchdowns, along with 15 catches for 112 yards. He missed some time with a toe injury and was supplanted as the feature back by Ellington. Stepfan Taylor and Alfonso Smith will also get some carries and catches. Smith has a rushing touchdown.
Receiver Michael Floyd has 54 catches for 860 yards and 4 touchdowns. He is probable with an ankle injury. Larry Fitzgerald has 55 catches, 678 yards and 9 touchdowns. Andre Roberts has 35 catches for 349 yards and a touchdown. Rob Housler has 31 catches for 334 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Jim Dray has 18 catches for 140 yards with 2 touchdown catches. He is probable with a back injury. Arizona has 17 players listed on the injury report including 5 linebackers.
St. Louis is 4-1 ATS against teams with winning records, 8-3 against NFC West teams, 23-48-1 against teams with winning home records, 2-6 against NFC teams, 1-4 in week 14, and after allowing less than 90 rushing yards. The road team is 5-2 ATS in this series recently. the underdog has covered the last four games in the series.
Arizona is 6-1 ATS against teams with losing records, 5-1 after a straight up loss, 4-1 overall and on grass, 5-2 after passing for more than 250 yards, 7-3 against NFC teams, and 2-6 against NFC West teams. The under is 8-3 in this series recently, including 4-1 in Arizona.
If Arizona is a true playoff contender, this is a game they must win. They have road trips to Seattle and Tennessee coming up in the next two weeks and neither one will be easy. The Rams are very unpredictable and sometimes look very good. Other times, not so much. I think the return of Ellington will help, the Cardinals to get a much needed win at home.