Week 10 of the NFL season is now in the history books. The Rams are coming off a disappointing loss to the Arizona Cardinals, in a game the Rams could have won. The Rams are back at home this week, hosting the Denver Broncos, a team with Super Bowl aspirations. The game will be a tough match up for the Rams. Can they pull off the upset, against heavy odds? It's also time for Dubs to make a move on the leaders, in the weekly Pigskin Picks contest!
This season has produced many surprises, but none more unexpected than the rise and fall of teams in the NFC. Last year, the Saints, Seahawks, 49ers, and Panthers had a combined record of 48-16. This season, they're a combined 18-18-1. In contrast, the Lions, Cowboys, and Cardinals were a combined 25-23 in 2013. In 2014, they're sporting a combined 22-6 record. Such is the ebb and flow of the NFL from season-to-season.
Week 10 Results
|Week||Wins Straight Up||Wins vs Spread||Hot Picks vs. Spread||Rams Straight Up|
|Last Week||10 3||8 5||3 0||1 0|
|Season||104 42 1||89 58||18 12||4 5|
Pickwatch is a site devoted to tracking weekly picks results from NFL experts, analysts, and media types. This year, they're tracking 129 experts on a weekly basis. I'm competing against them again this season, and will publish the weekly results!
How did I fare against the experts in Week 8? My 10-3 record allowed me to remain in sole possession of 3'rd place in the overall standings, only 2 wins behind the leader, CBS Sports' Jamey Eisenberg. 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 100th overall, with a record of 89-57 on the season.
How did I make out with my "Hot Picks Against The Spread" last week? Denver, Seattle, and Green Bay all won their games handily and covered the spread. Record for the week: 3-0.
2014 NFL Team Records
|NFL ATS RANKINGS|
Dubs' Pigskin Picks - Week 11
|Home||Away||Spread||Straight Up||Vs. Spread||Score|
|Miami||Buffalo||Mia 6||Miami||Buffalo||21 17|
|Chicago||Minnesota||Chi 3||Chicago||Chicago||24 17|
|Cleveland||Houston||Cle 3||Cleveland||Cleveland||24 20|
|Kansas City||Seattle||Even||Seattle||Seattle||20 17|
|St. Louis||Denver||Den 10||Denver||Denver||34 17|
|New Orleans||Cincinnati||NO 8||New Orleans||Cincinnati||27 20|
|NY Giants||San Francisco||SF 4||San Francisco||San Francisco||23 14|
|Washington||Tampa Bay||Was 8 1/2||Washington||Washington||20 10|
|San Diego||Oakland||SD 11 1/2||San Diego||San Diego||27 14|
|Green Bay||Philadelphia||GB 7||Green Bay||Green Bay||31 23|
|Arizona||Detroit||Ari 1||Arizona||Arizona||21 19|
|Indianapolis||New England||Ind 2 1/2||New England||New England||27 24|
|Tennessee||Pittsburgh||Pit 7||Pittsburgh||Pittsburgh||28 20|
Hot Picks Against The Spread
Denver over St. Louis - The Rams are 1-3 at home against the spread. The Rams have given up over 30 points in 6 of 9 contests this season. The Broncos make it 7 out of 10.
Denver Broncos @ St. Louis Rams
Keys for the Rams vs. Denver
- 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 or tied at the half in all three of their victories this season.
- 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 three of their losses, a zero differential in the other three losses, and a zero turnover differential in their three wins. The Denver Broncos rank 9th in the league in turnover differential (plus 4).
- The Rams must establish the running game, and sort out the carries in their running back-by-committee approach. Tre Mason should once again see the bulk of the work. The Rams' re-vamped offensive line must control the line of scrimmage, against a Denver rushing defense ranked 1st in the NFL, allowing only 67 yards per game.
- Minimizing mistakes and penalties. The Rams have committed too many costly penalties in their first nine games. They need to minimize the infractions, and play a disciplined game, if they expect to be competitive against the Broncos on Sunday.
- The Broncos have a wide array of receiving targets that will test the Rams' secondary. The Rams will need to find a way to minimize the impact of Emmanuel Sanders, Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas, and Julius Thomas. Peyton Manning must be forced to look beyond his first read. The Rams will be thin at CB for the game against Denver. Marcus Roberson is out, and Lamarcus Joyner is doubtful. The Rams will only have Trumaine Johnson, Janoris Jenkins, and E.J. Gaines available on Sunday.
- Pressuring QB Peyton Manning. William Hayes will once 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 defensive line has finally begun to earn its preseason moniker "Sack City", and will once again need to dominate. Inside pressure is one of the few ways a defense can throw Manning off of his game.
- Shaun Hill gets the start this weekend for the Rams, replacing Austin Davis. He'll be expected to manage the game, and minimize the mistakes and turnovers prevalent in the Rams' last 3 contests.
Prediction: Denver 34 - Rams 17
The Broncos were my favorite to win the Super Bowl before the season started. They've done nothing through 10 weeks to make me think differently. John Elway went all-in during the offseason to improve their defense, acquiring DeMarcus Ware (8 sacks), Aqib Talib, and T.J. Ward. Von Miller is back with a vengeance, recording 9 sacks to-date. For the Rams to have a chance in this game, the key is the number zero. Zero sacks allowed, Zero turnovers. Zero big plays allowed. Zero key penalties. A pretty tall order to fill.
Perspective On The Rams Versus The Broncos
ESPN's Nick Wagoner and Jeff Legwold preview the game between the St. Louis Rams and the Denver Broncos.
Fisher Up Front: Rams vs. Broncos: St. Louis Rams Official Website
From STATS/New York Times:
- The Broncos won in Oakland for the fourth straight time and the 10th time in their last 12 trips there after a 41-17 triumph last week. Nine of the 10 wins by Denver at Oakland during this stretch have been by 13 points or more.
- The Rams went down to defeat 31-14 to the Cardinals in Arizona last week despite holding a fourth-quarter lead. The 17-point loss for St. Louis was the largest margin of defeat since 1992 for an NFL team that led the game with eight minutes left in the fourth quarter.
- Denver has lost both of its meetings against the Rams in St. Louis as well as four straight road losses against them overall. The Broncos' last road victory against the Rams' franchise was a 27-24 win at Anaheim Stadium back on December 12, 1982, when the Rams were still in Southern California.
- Demaryius Thomas has compiled six consecutive games with at least seven receptions and 100-plus yards receiving, the longest NFL streak since Isaac Bruce's run of six in a row with the Rams in 1995.
- Austin Davis has thrown five touchdown passes while out of the pocket this season; only Colin Kaepernick (seven) and Aaron Rodgers (six) have more than Davis.
- The Broncos are 9-0 on the road against teams with losing records since Peyton Manning took over as quarterback in 2012, the only undefeated team in this category during this stretch. The Rams enter the game with a 3-6 record on the season.
CBS Sports' Pete Prisco and Pat Kirwan preview Sunday's game between the Rams and the Broncos: