The New England Patriots (2-0) will get their chance to introduce rookie quarterback Sam Bradford into the NFL when he makes his first pro start for the St. Louis Rams (1-1) on Thursday. The Rams had started veteran A.J. Feeley at QB in their first two games, but he is out with a thumb injury. Since Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is a defensive guru who knows how to attack the opposition, his team is favored by more than a touchdown at -7.5 at most sportsbooks. Preseason lines do move quick and with a lot less money than regular season nfl games so be sure to view our NFL betting odds page to compare the current lines at the sportsbooks.
New England has faced St. Louis just twice since pulling off a 20-17 upset as a 14-point underdog in Super Bowl XXXVI more than eight years ago. Belichick has made a name for himself ever since then for shutting down the opposition’s QB, starting way back then with former Rams All-Pro Kurt Warner. He figures to do the same against the rookie this week.
Bradford – the top overall pick in April’s NFL draft – completed only 6-of-14 passes for 24 yards in last week’s 19-17 win over the Cleveland Browns which St. Louis led 13-0 after one quarter. He was not sacked a week after going down four times for 18 yards in a 28-7 loss to the Minnesota Vikings while connecting on 6-of-13 passes for 57 yards. Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo said Bradford will play at least the entire first half against the Patriots and maybe longer.
St. Louis running back Steven Jackson made his preseason debut against the Browns as well, rushing four times for 20 yards. Jackson underwent back surgery in April and must stay healthy in order to take some time off Bradford this season. The team’s other players combined to run for only 37 yards on the ground vs. Cleveland, which does not bode well this week.
The three-time Super Bowl champion Patriots do not have to worry about the QB position thanks to Tom Brady, who has looked outstanding in winning both preseason games so far. Brady has completed 15-of-20- for 152 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions, and he got top receiver Wes Welker back from a knee injury in a 28-10 rout of the Atlanta Falcons last week.
Welker had two catches for 20 yards and looks like he will be on target to start the regular-season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals. Rookie tight ends Aaron Hernandez (four catches for 46 yards) and Rob Gronkowski (four for 38) also looked impressive for New England against the Falcons, each scoring touchdowns. The duo gives Brady another couple weapons in the passing game with bigger size than they have had in a while.
After the game, Atlanta traded offensive guard Quinn Ojinnaka to the Patriots for an undisclosed draft pick. The move gives the Pats some flexibility on the offensive line since former Pro Bowler Logan Mankins remains out due to a contract dispute and might sit out the entire season. In addition, Nick Kaczur is not healthy following back surgery. Ojinnaka must sit out the season-opener due to a violation of personal conduct but could step in as a starter the rest of the way in place of Mankins and Kaczur.
For our free NFL pick we are going to take New England -7. There are a couple books that have -7 out there at the time of publish so be sure to shop around for the best number on this game.
It’s a heartbreaker that the Patriots lost by one to the Rams on Josh Brown’s 37 yard field goal. The Rams got a good performance from its rookie Sam Bradford who threw two touchdowns before watching the 2nd half from the sidelines.
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