Dubs' Pigskin Picks & Rams Preview - Week 11

Andy Lyons

The St. Louis Rams take a break from the action, with a bye in the schedule this week. The Rams put on an incredible performance this past weekend, demolishing the Indianapolis Colts 38-8. The future indeed looks bright. In the weekly picks race, can Dubs continue to gain ground on the leaders, and overtake them in the coming weeks?

Week 10 of the NFL season is in the history books. Although the St. Louis Rams have missed QB Sam Bradford on the field, they continue to play inspired football. The Rams are now 4-6, after their convincing victory over Indianapolis this past weekend. Jeff Fisher has this team playing like a playoff contender. Winning their remaining 6 games would appear to be a prerequisite for making the playoffs. The odds of this occurring are not high; however, if the Rams continue to play like they did against the Colts, anything is possible.

Week 10 Results

The accompanying chart presents the results of my picks for Week 10, and the season totals to-date:

Week Wins Straight Up Wins vs Spread Hot Picks vs. Spread Rams Straight Up
Last Week 8 6 9 5 2 1 0 1
Season 98 49 91 56 23 7 5 5
Percentage 66.7 61.9 76.7 50

As I predicted in last weeks column, Week 10 proved to be the most challenging of the year for picking winners. There were many close match ups and spreads, with significant injuries [Sam Bradford, Jake Locker, Aaron Rodgers] adding to the difficulty. In addition, the last remaining teams without a victory [Jacksonville and Tampa Bay] pulled off upsets on the weekend. 8-6 picking straight-up turned out to be a fine result, given the circumstances. 9-5 versus the spread was an outstanding result, given the parity inherent in last weeks games. Week 11 promises to be more difficult than Week 10. 13 of the 15 games have point spreads that are less than a touchdown. Achieving 10 wins - straight-up or against the spread - will be a remarkable achievement this week.

How am I faring against the 93 experts Pickwatch is tracking? (link). My 8-6 record was enough to keep pace with most of the leaders. Former NFL quarterback Ron Jaworski remains in the lead, with 103 wins. My 98 wins is tied for 6th in the overall standings, 5 behind the leader. The chart below identifies the top 25 in the overall standings:

Rank Expert Affiliation Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Wins Losses Win %
1 Ron Jaworski ESPN 11 12 12 12 11 9 9 11 7 9 103 44 70%
2 Gregg Rosenthal NFL 11 13 8 11 7 14 9 10 9 8 100 47 68%
3 Prediction Machine CBS 11 13 11 9 7 12 11 11 9 6 100 47 68%
4 Andrea Hangst Bleacher Report 10 11 12 9 9 9 10 11 9 9 99 48 67%
5 Black Tie NFL 13 11 6 11 10 11 10 10 8 9 99 48 67%
6 Matt Smith NFL 10 12 7 9 10 11 11 11 8 9 98 49 67%
7 Nate Davis USA Today 11 14 8 8 9 11 9 11 8 9 98 49 67%
8 John Halpin FOX 9 11 11 10 7 12 10 11 9 8 98 49 67%
9 Joel Beall FOX 11 11 11 9 9 11 8 11 9 8 98 49 67%
10 Chris Law NFL 12 11 7 11 8 11 8 11 8 10 97 50 66%
11 Accuscore Accuscore 11 11 7 9 9 10 10 11 10 9 97 50 66%
12 Tom Jackson ESPN 10 13 11 7 7 10 12 10 9 8 97 50 66%
13 Khaled Elsayed ProFootballFocus 11 11 9 9 8 12 10 10 9 8 97 50 66%
14 Ryan Wilson CBS 12 12 9 9 8 10 10 10 6 10 96 51 65%
15 Steve Mariucci NFL 12 13 8 8 8 10 10 10 8 9 96 51 65%
16 Rick Drummond ProFootballFocus 8 12 10 10 9 11 9 12 7 8 96 51 65%
17 Pete O'Brien USA Today 12 11 10 9 8 10 10 11 7 8 96 51 65%
18 Ben Stockwell ProFootballFocus 12 11 8 11 7 11 10 10 9 7 96 51 65%
19 Matt Bowen Bleacher Report 11 13 9 7 8 12 11 10 8 7 96 51 65%
20 Chris Brockman NFL 9 14 11 9 8 10 11 9 8 7 96 51 65%
21 Michael Silver NFL 12 14 9 9 8 10 10 10 7 7 96 51 65%
22 Jamey Eisenberg CBS 11 13 12 8 8 9 10 11 8 6 96 51 65%
23 Michael Fabiano NFL 10 13 8 10 10 11 10 10 8 6 96 51 65%
24 Don Banks Sports Illustrated 11 14 10 9 8 10 9 12 7 6 96 51 65%
25 Dave Damashek NFL 9 11 7 9 9 10 10 10 10 10 95 52

How did my weekly "Hot Picks Versus The Spread" fare? Seattle and New Orleans won and covered the spread. Jacksonville upended Tennessee for its first win of the season [I picked Tennessee]. My "hot picks" record for the week: 2-1. Overall, my 'hot picks" record for the season is 23-7.

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Week 11 Picks

For reference, the accompanying chart presents the straight-up, against the spread, and over/under records for all 32 NFL teams, after Week 10:

NFL RANKINGS
Straight-Up Against The Spread Over/Under
Team Total Home Away Total Home Away Total Home Away
Arizona Cardinals 5-4-0 4-1-0 1-3-0 5-4-0 3-2-0 2-2-0 4-5-0 2-3-0 2-2-0
Atlanta Falcons 2-7-0 2-3-0 0-4-0 2-7-0 2-3-0 0-4-0 5-4-0 4-1-0 1-3-0
Baltimore Ravens 4-5-0 3-1-0 1-4-0 5-4-0 4-0-0 1-4-0 2-6-1 0-4-0 2-2-1
Buffalo Bills 3-7-0 2-3-0 1-4-0 5-5-0 4-1-0 1-4-0 5-4-1 2-3-0 3-1-1
Carolina Panthers 6-3-0 3-1-0 3-2-0 6-3-0 3-1-0 3-2-0 3-5-1 1-3-0 2-2-1
Chicago Bears 5-4-0 3-2-0 2-2-0 2-6-1 0-4-1 2-2-0 6-3-0 3-2-0 3-1-0
Cincinnati Bengals 6-4-0 4-0-0 2-4-0 5-4-1 4-0-0 1-4-1 5-5-0 2-2-0 3-3-0
Cleveland Browns 4-5-0 3-2-0 1-3-0 5-4-0 3-2-0 2-2-0 4-4-1 2-2-1 2-2-0
Dallas Cowboys 5-5-0 4-1-0 1-4-0 7-3-0 4-1-0 3-2-0 5-5-0 2-3-0 3-2-0
Denver Broncos 8-1-0 5-0-0 3-1-0 5-4-0 3-2-0 2-2-0 8-1-0 5-0-0 3-1-0
Detroit Lions 6-3-0 3-1-0 3-2-0 5-4-0 2-2-0 3-2-0 5-4-0 4-0-0 1-4-0
Green Bay Packers 5-4-0 3-2-0 2-2-0 4-5-0 3-2-0 1-3-0 4-5-0 1-4-0 3-1-0
Houston Texans 2-7-0 1-3-0 1-4-0 2-7-0 0-4-0 2-3-0 6-3-0 4-0-0 2-3-0
Indianapolis Colts 6-3-0 3-2-0 3-1-0 5-4-0 2-3-0 3-1-0 5-4-0 4-1-0 1-3-0
Jacksonville Jaguars 1-8-0 0-4-0 1-4-0 2-7-0 0-4-0 2-3-0 5-4-0 1-3-0 4-1-0
Kansas City Chiefs 9-0-0 5-0-0 4-0-0 6-3-0 2-3-0 4-0-0 2-7-0 1-4-0 1-3-0
Miami Dolphins 4-5-0 2-2-0 2-3-0 4-5-0 2-2-0 2-3-0 5-3-1 2-1-1 3-2-0
Minnesota Vikings 2-7-0 2-3-0 0-4-0 4-5-0 2-3-0 2-2-0 6-2-1 4-0-1 2-2-0
New England Patriots 7-2-0 5-0-0 2-2-0 5-4-0 4-1-0 1-3-0 4-5-0 2-3-0 2-2-0
New Orleans Saints 7-2-0 5-0-0 2-2-0 6-3-0 5-0-0 1-3-0 4-5-0 3-2-0 1-3-0
New York Giants 3-6-0 2-2-0 1-4-0 3-6-0 1-3-0 2-3-0 5-4-0 3-1-0 2-3-0
New York Jets 5-4-0 4-1-0 1-3-0 6-3-0 4-1-0 2-2-0 5-4-0 2-3-0 3-1-0
Oakland Raiders 3-6-0 3-2-0 0-4-0 6-3-0 3-2-0 3-1-0 3-6-0 1-4-0 2-2-0
Philadelphia Eagles 5-5-0 0-4-0 5-1-0 5-5-0 0-4-0 5-1-0 6-4-0 1-3-0 5-1-0
Pittsburgh Steelers 3-6-0 2-2-0 1-4-0 3-6-0 2-2-0 1-4-0 3-6-0 1-3-0 2-3-0
San Diego Chargers 4-5-0 2-2-0 2-3-0 5-3-1 3-1-0 2-2-1 4-5-0 2-2-0 2-3-0
San Francisco 49ers 6-3-0 3-2-0 3-1-0 6-3-0 3-2-0 3-1-0 5-4-0 2-3-0 3-1-0
Seattle Seahawks 9-1-0 4-0-0 5-1-0 6-4-0 2-2-0 4-2-0 5-5-0 2-2-0 3-3-0
St. Louis Rams 4-6-0 2-3-0 2-3-0 4-6-0 2-3-0 2-3-0 8-2-0 4-1-0 4-1-0
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1-8-0 1-4-0 0-4-0 3-6-0 2-3-0 1-3-0 5-4-0 3-2-0 2-2-0
Tennessee Titans 4-5-0 2-3-0 2-2-0 5-3-1 1-3-1 4-0-0 6-3-0 4-1-0 2-2-0
Washington Redskins 3-6-0 2-2-0 1-4-0 3-6-0 2-2-0 1-4-0 6-3-0 3-1-0 3-2-0

The accompanying chart presents the format - and my selections - for each game this week: home team - away team - the spread - my straight-up winner - which team covers/beats the spread - and the outcome of the game:

Home Away Spread Straight Up Vs. Spread Score
Tennessee Indianapolis Indy 3 Indianapolis Indianapolis 23 20
Buffalo NY Jets Pick NY Jets NY Jets 23 17
Chicago Baltimore Chi 2 1/2 Chicago Chicago 21 16
Cincinnati Cleveland Cin 5 1/2 Cincinnati Cincinnati 23 17
Houston Oakland Hou 6 1/2 Houston Oakland 21 17
Jacksonville Arizona Ari 6 1/2 Arizona Arizona 21 14
Philadelphia Washington Phi 3 1/2 Philadelphia Philadelphia 27 23
Pittsburgh Detroit Det 1 Detroit Detroit 23 17
Tampa Bay Atlanta Atl 1 Tampa Bay Tampa Bay 20 14
Miami San Diego Mia 1 1/2 San Diego San Diego 23 20
New Orleans San Francisco NO 3 New Orleans New Orleans 23 19
Seattle Minnesota Sea 13 1/2 Seattle Seattle 30 14
NY Giants Green Bay NY 6 NY Giants Green Bay 20 17
Denver Kansas City Den 7 1/2 Denver Kansas City 28 24
Carolina New England Car 1 Carolina Carolina 24 21

Hot Picks Versus The Spread

Seattle over Minnesota - Seattle keeps rolling along, and is 12-0 in its last dozen home games. The injury to Christian Ponder does not help the Vikings cause. The Seahawks will be welcoming back Percy Harvin to the lineup.

Detroit over Pittsburgh - Detroit is playing sound football, coming off victories against Chicago and Dallas. Pittsburgh has been wildly inconsistent, with a 2-2 record at home.

Cincinnati over Cleveland - The Bengals are 4-0 against the spread at home this season. After starting 6-2, the Bengals lost their last two games - to Miami and Baltimore - by a combined 5 points.

Can The Rams Make The Playoffs?

The St. Louis Rams have a bye this week. Normally, I would be previewing the Rams' upcoming game in this space. Instead, let's briefly take a look at the Rams' remaining schedule:

Week Opponent Home/Away
12 Chicago Home
13 San Francisco Away
14 Arizona Away
15 New Orleans Home
16 Tampa Bay Home
17 Seattle Away

As Ryan Van Bibber pointed out in "Rams By The Numbers" (link), the Rams have a daunting task ahead of them over the remainder of their schedule:

"Opponents over the next six games have an average DVOA of 15.6 percent, making it the toughest remaining schedule of any team."

Given the tie-breakers, records, and circumstances in the NFC at present, the Rams would likely have to win all of their remaining games to be in consideration for a playoff spot. Although anything is possible - and I will not shut the door on the playoffs until the Rams are mathematically eliminated - the chances of the Rams making the playoffs are less than 10%. I'm not too worried about making the playoffs this year. I just want to see this young team perform to the best of their abilities, gain confidence and experience, and create enough momentum to be a force - and playoff contender - in 2014. The goal for the Rams should be continuing to show steady improvement.

Dubs' Pigskin Picks still has some prognosticating to do for the 6 remaining Rams games. The games against Chicago, Arizona, and Tampa Bay are all winnable. I will be picking the Rams to win all 3. Seattle, San Francisco, and New Orleans will all be formidable challenges for the Rams. I will be picking against the Rams in all 3 of those games. That would put the Rams at 7-9 for the season, although 8-8 is not out of the realm of possibility. Finishing the season on a high note [5-2 record] would create a lot of momentum heading into next season.

Can the Rams run the table and make the playoffs? Miracles do happen...

Final Minute of the "Miracle on Ice" (via Railfan2103)


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