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Dubs' Pigskin Picks & St. Louis Rams Preview - Week 11

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Can the Rams upset Peyton Manning and the high-flying Denver Broncos? Can Dubs catch the leaders in the weekly picks contest? Stay tuned!

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 SaintsSeahawks49ers, and Panthers had a combined record of 48-16. This season, they're a combined 18-18-1. In contrast, the LionsCowboys, 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
Percentage 71.2 60.5 60.0 44.4

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

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
Carolina Atlanta Even Atlanta Atlanta 23  17
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
Byes NY Jets Baltimore
Jacksonville Dallas

Hot Picks Against The Spread

San Diego over Oakland - The Chargers are coming off the bye well-rested, and should cover against the winless Raiders.

Cleveland over Houston - Ryan Mallett makes his first NFL start for the Texans. RB Arian Foster is banged-up. The Browns are riding a three-game winning streak, and will make it four this weekend.

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 ManningWilliam 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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: