NFL Betting Preview: Cowboys might host Rams without Bradford

St. Louis Rams at Dallas Cowboys
Sunday, 10/23/11, 4:15 PM EST, TV:  FOX
Opening Point Spread:  Dallas -12
Current Betting Line:  Dallas -13
Opening Total:  44.5
Current Total:  43
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

St. Louis Rams Vs Dallas Cowboys NFL Pick
Miles Austin and the Cowboys are double-digit favorites against the injury-plagued Rams.

The winless St. Louis Rams did not envision a season like this after they finished last year just one win away from winning the NFC West and making the playoffs.  Then again, the Dallas Cowboys (2-3) also expected a better start and will try to reach the .500 mark with a win over the Rams (0-5) at home on Sunday.

St. Louis could be without second-year quarterback Sam Bradford, who suffered a high-ankle sprain in last week’s 24-3 road loss to the Green Bay Packers.  Backup A.J. Feeley has taken the first-team reps in practice with Bradford missing the last three days of practice and could make his first start since 2007 when he was with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Bradford has been sacked an NFL-high 21 times this season, which is the main reason why he has been dealing with a number of different ailments through the first five games.  The Rams made a trade with the Denver Broncos earlier this week to give him a top target in wide receiver Brandon Lloyd, who led the league in receiving yards last year.

Lloyd should be familiar with the playbook of his former head coach in Denver, Josh McDaniels, who is now the offensive coordinator in St. Louis.  However, McDaniels has not done a great job so far this season as the team has struggled mightily on offense due in part to poor offensive line play and injuries.  The Rams are averaging an NFL-low 9.8 points per game and hoping WR Mark Clayton will also return to the lineup after starting the year on the PUP list with a knee injury.

The Cowboys (-13, O/U 43) know all about injuries since they have been dealing with them most of this season as well.  They are coming off a disappointing 20-16 road loss to the New England Patriots following their bye week.

Dallas did everything right against New England except score touchdowns and stop Patriots QB Tom Brady from throwing the game-winning touchdown with 22 seconds remaining.  The Cowboys scored just one touchdown themselves and are tied for 30th in red-zone touchdown efficiency at 33.3 percent.  Only St. Louis ranks worse at 25 percent.

Starting running back Felix Jones is also dealing with a high-ankle sprain that is expected to keep him out of the game for the Cowboys while their offensive line has been shuffled several times due to injuries.  The only positive thing on the injury front for Dallas is that QB Tony Romo appears to be getting healthier, and he has a couple of healthy wide receivers in Miles Austin and Dez Bryant for just the third time this year.

The OVER is 10-1 in the last 11 home games for the Cowboys and 9-1 in their past 10 when they are favored.  The teams have split the last four meetings both straight-up and against the spread, but those are the only regular-season games between them since 1992.

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