The St. Louis Rams travel to Arizona to take on the Cardinals. The Cardinals have owned the Rams since 2006, but the Rams have a brilliant opportunity to turn the trend as the Cardinals are a weak football team. Can Sam Bradford win his second consecutive road game?
The early spread on this game is Rams (-3). Here are seven of the key aspects of the game and what to watch out for when betting. All stats are from NFL.com unless otherwise noted. Lines from Cooper’s Picks.
#1 Recent History
The Cardinals have won the past eight meetings against the Rams, including the regular season opener that featured Bradford’s debut. The Rams haven’t scored more than thirteen points against the Cardinals since 2007, and they haven’t beaten them since a 16-14 Week 3 victory in 2006.
#2: Short Week
The Cardinals are coming off a Monday Night national humiliation against the San Francisco 49ers. The Rams are coming off an afternoon victory at Denver. The Rams have had more time to prepare for this game.
#3: Sam Bradford
Sam Bradford lost his NFL debut against the Cardinals despite a late surge to bring the Rams back. The Rams lost 17-13, but Bradford has matured and improved with every week. This is demonstrated through the Rams winning their next four home contests and Bradford winning his first road game last week against the Denver Broncos.
Bradford went 32/55 with three interceptions in his first game. Expect a more balanced approach and fewer interceptions.
#4: Steven Jackson
The 49ers ran for nearly 300 yards against the Cardinals, and that was without Frank Gore for most of the game. The Cardinals defense is very soft, and that won’t be good when Steven Jackson is powering through the middle of the trenches. Jackson had 22 carries for 81 yards in the last game.
#5: Cardinals Worse Than Record Indicates?
The Cardinals are 3-8 in the NFC West. Their only victories have come against a Rams team whose rookie QB was making his first start (barely), a shank by usually reliable Sebastian Janikowski, and a victory that featured three defensive scores against the Saints.
They’ve needed some good fortune just to win the games they have. Teams don’t beat themselves, the Cardinals are 1-10, at best.
#6: Turnover Ratio
The Rams hold the turnover advantage ratio +4 to -9. The Cardinals are amongst the NFL’s worst in turnover differential, and they coughed up four turnovers against the Rams in Week 1 (including countless other fumbles they recovered).
#7: Time of Possession
The Cardinals inability to extend drives on third down and poor ball handling makes them the NFL’s worst in time of possession. The Rams average nearly six-minutes more of possession than their opponent.
With Steven Jackson, that trend will probably continue.
Recent history suggests that the Cardinals are just a thorn in the Rams side. A victory would give the Rams their first win since 2006 and propel them back to .500 in the race for the NFC West crown.
Like I mentioned, the Cardinals are 3-8, but their victories have been more of the other teams’ wrongdoings. The Cardinals are all-around a bad football team, and I’d probably take the Panthers over them in a game because at least they have a passing defense. With that said, look for the Rams to blossom.
Against the Spread: St. Louis Rams (-3)
Straight: St. Louis Rams
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Week 13 Predictions Against the Spread (Complete Version)
Cooper’s Picks, November 30, 2010.
NFL.com, November 30, 2010.
Rams and Cardinals ESPN Box Score, Week 1 2010 Season. Accessed November 30, 2010.