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Dubs' Pigskin Picks & St. Louis Rams Preview - Week 7

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The Rams are coming off a tough loss to the San Francisco 49ers. They're at home again on Sunday, hosting the divisional rival Seattle Seahawks. Can the Rams come out of the "Octet of Pain" stretch with some victories? Can Dubs catch the leaders in the weekly picks contest? Stay tuned!

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Week 6 of the NFL season is now in the history books. The Rams are coming off a disappointing loss to San Francisco, where mistakes, penalties, and uneven/undisciplined play ultimately decided the outcome. The going gets even tougher in Week 7, with the Rams hosting their bitter divisional rival, the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. The game will be a tough match up for the Rams, but one that's eminently winnable, especially if they can play a disciplined, mistake-free game. It's also time for Dubs to make a move on the leaders, in the weekly Pigskin Picks contest!

Week 6 Results

Week Wins Straight Up Wins vs Spread Hot Picks vs. Spread Rams Straight Up
Last Week 11  3  1 10  5 1  2 1  0
Season 62  28  1 55  36 11  7 2  3
Percentage 68.9 60.4 61.1 40

Pickwatch is a site devoted to tracking weekly picks results from NFL experts, analysts, media types, and pundits (link). This year, they're tracking 129 experts on a weekly basis. I'm competing against them again this year, and will publish the weekly results! How did I fare against the experts in Week 6? My 11-3-1 record allowed me to move up to a tie for 4'th place in the overall standings, 2 behind the leader (Nate Silver - ESPN). Ties (Cincinnati 37 - Carolina 37) don't count in the standings. There's plenty of time left in the season to catch the experts at the front of the pack. In 2013, it took me until Week 15 to catch - and surpass - the leaders. TST's own Ryan Van Bibber stands in a tie for 103'rd overall, with a record of 53-37 on the season.

How did I make out with my "Hot Picks Against The Spread" last week? In a huge upset, the Seahawks lost to Dallas at home. Arizona won and covered the spread. San Diego defeated the Raiders, but didn't cover the spread. Record for the week: 1-2.

2014 NFL Team Records

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

NFL Crystal Ball

Dubs' Pigskin Picks - Week 7

Home Away Spread Straight Up Vs. Spread Score
New England NY Jets NE 9 1/2 New England New England 30  20
Buffalo Minnesota Buf 5 1/2 Buffalo Buffalo 24  17
Chicago Miami Chi 3 Chicago Chicago 24  20
Detroit New Orleans Det 2 1/2 Detroit Detroit 23  20
Green Bay Carolina GB 7 1/2 Green Bay Carolina 24  17
Indianapolis Cincinnati Ind 3 Indianapolis Cincinnati 21  20
St. Louis Seattle Sea 7 1/2 Seattle St. Louis 23  17
Washington Tennessee Was 6 Washington Washington 23  16
Jacksonville Cleveland Cle 5 1/2 Cleveland Jacksonville 23  20
Baltimore Atlanta Bal 7 1/2 Baltimore Baltimore 27 17
San Diego Kansas City SD 4 1/2 San Diego San Diego 27  20
Dallas NY Giants Dal 7 Dallas NY Giants 27  24
Oakland Arizona Ari 3 Arizona Arizona 21  13
Denver San Francisco Den 7 Denver San Francisco 21  17
Pittsburgh Houston Pit 3 Pittsburgh Pittsburgh 20  14
Byes Philadelphia Tampa Bay

Hot Picks Against The Spread

New England over New York Jets - The Patriots and Jets are headed in opposite directions, which should result in New England blowing out New York in Foxborough.

San Diego over Kansas City - The Chargers are 5-1 against the spread this season (3-0 at home). They should be able to cover the 4.5 point spread versus an inconsistent Chiefs team.

Arizona over Oakland - The 4-1 Cardinals should be able to cover the 3 point spread against the winless Raiders.

Seattle Seahawks @ St. Louis Rams

Keys for the Rams vs. Seattle
  • The Rams must get off to a fast start in Sunday's game. In each of their seven victories last season, the Rams were either tied or leading at the half. The Rams were leading at the half - 10-7 - in their only win this season (against Tampa Bay). The Rams must also sustain the lead once they have it. Against the 49ers, the Rams established an early 14-0 lead, but couldn't hold onto it.
  • Winning the turnover battle. In six of their seven wins last year, the Rams had a positive turnover differential, and a zero differential in the other victory. The correlation is holding true again this season. The Rams had a negative turnover differential in two of their losses, a zero differential in the other two losses, and a zero turnover differential in the win against Tampa Bay.
  • The Rams must establish the running game, and sort out the carries in their running back-by-committee approach. Tre Mason should see the ball more often. The Seahawks will be difficult to run against, as they are allowing only 82.2 rushing yards per game through 5 contests (6'th in the NFL). After his performance against the 49ers, Greg Robinson has likely earned himself the starting role at LG for the remainder of the season.
  • Minimizing mistakes and penalties. The Rams have committed too many costly penalties, and given up too many critical passing big plays, in their first five games.
  • Containing RB Marshawn Lynch. The Rams were much improved against the run in 2013, finishing 9'th in the league. In five games this season, the Rams have given up an average of 138.8 rushing yards per game (26'th in the NFL). Conversely, Seattle once again is exhibiting one of the more potent rushing attacks in the NFL, averaging 149.8 yards per game (2nd in the league).
  • Pressuring QB Russell Wilson. The Rams have a pass rush that could give the Seahawks' offensive line fits. The Rams are noted for their defensive line depth. William Hayes will again replace the injured Chris Long, who is missed for both his strong weekly performances and his leadership. Many have underestimated his impact on the Rams' defensive line. The Rams' defensive line remains a mystery. After 5 games, they have only 1 sack to their credit.
  • QB Austin Davis will need to forget about the second half of the 49ers game, and come out firing like he did in his previous starts.
Prediction: Seattle 23 - Rams 17

After last Sunday's loss at home to the Cowboys, expect the Seahawks to come out focused, intense, and on fire against the Rams at the EJD. In last years home game, the Rams were a goal-line stand away from defeating Seattle. The key to keeping this years game close is a repeat of last years performance, where the Rams rushed for 200 yards, and limited the vaunted Seattle ground game to 44 rushing yards. This game is eminently winnable, if the Rams can minimize mistakes, penalties, and turnovers, and play two full halves of consistently good football.

Perspective On The Rams Versus The Seahawks

Stat Fact: 44.5 %

"The Rams have blitzed on nearly half of their opponents' dropbacks, second in the league only to Arizona's 47.9 percent. But those blitzes aren't getting home as the Rams have just one sack on the year and even that didn't come via a blitzer." ESPN

ESPN's Nick Wagoner and Terry Blount preview the game between the Rams and Seahawks.

CBS Sports: 27-17, Seahawks

"The Seahawks were pushed around in a loss to the Cowboys last Sunday. They respond here. St. Louis couldn’t match the 49ers’ physical defensive style, and that happens vs. the champs, too. Seattle gets all over Austin Davis and Russell Wilson bounces back."

ESPN's Mike Sando shares his Inside Edge on Sunday's game.

From STATS/NY Times:

Seattle Seahawks at St. Louis Rams

  1. The Seahawks are 16-2 against the Rams since 2005. The 16 victories are the most in any NFC series over that span. And in the eight meetings since 2010, the two teams have combined for just 30.4 points per game, the fewest in any series in the entire NFL over the past five seasons (minimum 4 games).
  2. Seattle lost at home to Dallas last week, 30-23, as the Seahawks fell to 3-2. It was Seattle's second loss in 19 regular-season home games since 2012. After allowing just 13 red-zone touchdowns in 2013, the Seahawks already have surrendered 10 in 2014. Seattle led the league with an opponent red-zone touchdown percentage of 36.1 last year, but currently ranks 24th in 2014 with a rate of 66.7 percent.
  3. After breaking to 14-0 lead, the Rams fell at home to San Francisco on Monday, 31-17. It was St. Louis' third straight loss, dropping the team to 1-4. The Rams have mustered just one defensive sack so far this year. It's the fewest by any defense through its first five games of any season since 1964. Every other team in the NFL has generated at least five sacks in 2014.
  4. Russell Wilson is 8-1 in his career when coming off a team loss. And although he's in just his third NFL season, Wilson (7453) needs just 100 more passing yards to overtake Jon Kitna (7552) for the fifth most in Seahawks history.
  5. With 44 career rushing touchdowns, Marshawn Lynch needs one more to pass Chris Warren for the third most in Seattle history. Through five games this season, Lynch has seemed to wear down with more work, as he's averaged 6.5 yards per rush on his first five carries within games, compared to 5.1 on carries 5-10 and 2.9 on all rushes thereafter.
  6. Jared Cook has caught at least four passes in all five games this season. With four last week, Cook has overtaken Brian Quick for the Rams team lead with 23 receptions in 2014. Cook joins New Orleans' Jimmy Graham and Carolina's Greg Olsen as the only tight ends to lead their teams in catches each of the past two years (2013-14). 30-21, Seahawks

"Been taking some mild heat for putting the Seahawks at No. 5 in the Week 7 Power Rankings. Funny — when they win, their followers chime in as if they’ve reeled off five straight Super Bowls. No, they’re not dominant, but I don’t see them not winning in St. Louis. That’s a double negative — kind of like the Rams’ passing game faltering (because guys don’t run routes well) while their defense fails to stop the opposition’s aerial attack. Perhaps the most unreal stat of the season is that St. Louis has one sack after tallying 53 in 2013. Maybe that injury to Chris Long should have been more widely reported. And maybe Seattle should start giving Marshawn Lynch the rock more. Seventy-nine attempts in five games? Seriously?"

Ramblin' Fan: Seattle 24 - Rams 21

"I don’t think many people were expecting the Seahawks to roll into the Edward Jones Dome with a 3-2 record, but here they are. The two Seahawk losses came against teams with strong offensive lines and running games, so that may just be the key to topping them. Unfortunately for the Rams, the offensive line looked the worst it has all season last week against the 49ers. The Rams rushing attack averaged 3.9 yards per rush, but if you subtract Tre Mason’s 24 yard run the average was just 3.0 ypr. Add in the fact that Austin Davis spent most of the game running for his life and it could be a long week for the Rams defense. Speaking of the Rams defense, Janoris Jenkins had the kind of a week that Rams fans pulling their hair out once again. The overly aggressive cornerback got burnt all night long and was rarely in position to do anything right. Any way you slice it, it could be a long day for the Rams coming off of a short week against a team that will be determined to prove they’re legit."

Can the Rams pull the upset versus Seattle? ESPN's Mike Sando previews Sunday's game on The Fast Lane: