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NFL Expert Picks: Mike Ditka is the St. Louis Rams Biggest Fan

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The St. Louis Rams, who boast a 4-6 record heading into Week 12, don’t have NFL experts picking them as winners with much regularity. Let’s see who HAS been picking them through Week 11...

Manny Rubio-USA TODAY Sports

If you follow me on Twitter, you probably know by now that I fancy Mike Ditka [ESPN] picking the Rams as winners each week.  Of that bunch, he’s prognosticated a Rams win 4 times this season, which is the most of any of their thirteen staff members.  It doesn’t say much about the Rams, but Ditka makes his picks with style...


He’s picking them again this week, as well.  And after a big win over the Broncos in Week 11, he’s bringing a few of his buddies with him.

Yesterday, I bumped into a tweet about the crew from Around the NFL making their weekly picks.  A smaller group, and with lesser expectations for the Rams...


This morning, while haphazardly wandering around the interwebs,  I stumbled upon NFL Pickwatch...a site dedicated to rounding up the weekly picks from a cornucopia of football related sites.  Depending on how reliable they are about submitting, there are roughly 130 experts making selections each week.

It comprises picks from the ESPN and NFL Network crews, familiar radio voices from Sirius XM, Fox Sports, CBS Sports, Sports Illustrated, Yahoo! Sports, Pro Football Talk...as well as guys from Bleacher Report and Pro Football Focus.  Rams Hall-of Fame running back Marshall Faulk is in the mix.  You’ll also get picks from SB Nation experts like Ryan Van Bibber and Danny Kelly over at Field Gulls.

With so many prominent names, I began wondering if Mike Ditka was indeed the biggest Rams’ fan of the bunch.  Maybe there was another notable name I had been overlooking.  I needed to know.  The search was on!

Let’s have a look at who picked the Rams - through the wins and losses - through the first 12 weeks of the 2014 NFL season.  But before we do, please enjoy this short video brought to you by brutal honesty and awesomeness...

Week 1:  Rams Lose to Vikings, 34-6.

61 out of 131 picked the Rams

Jamey Eisenberg, CBS Sports
Gordon McGuinness, PFF
Cris Carter, ESPN
FiveThirtyFive
Accuscore
Vegas Line
Numberfire
Team Rankings, ESPN
Yahoo! Users
Brad Gagnon, Bleacher Report
Chris Liss, Sirius XM
Gary Mihoces, USA Today
Jimmy Traina, Fox Sports
Marcas Grant, NFL Network
Microsoft Cortana, Bing
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports
Seth Wickersham, ESPN
Steve Mariucci, NFL Network
TD Daniel, NFL Network
Peter Schrager, Fox Sports
Rich Eisen, NFL Network
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News
Boomer Esiason, CBS Sports
Michael Irvin, NFL Network
Adam Schefter, ESPN
Jim Corbett, USA Today
Joel Thorman, SB Nation
Michael David Smith, NBC Sports
Michael Schotty, Bleacher Report
Ron Jaworski, ESPN
Kurt Warner, NFL Network
John Breech, CBS Sports
Mark Schlereth, ESPN
Matt Ufford, SB Nation
Mike Garafolo, Fox Sports
Ryan Fowler, Fox Sports
David Fucillo, SB Nation
Lindsay H. Jones, USA Today
Frank Schwab, Yahoo! Sports
Jarrett Bell, USA Today
Marshall  Faulk, NFL Network
Matt Bowen, Bleacher Report
Mike Ditka, ESPN
Shaun O’Hara, NFL Network
Adam Meyer, Fox Sports
Jason La Canfora, CBS Sports
Merill Hoge, ESPN
Braden Gall, Sirius XM
Chris Trapasso, NFL Network
Eric Adelson, Yahoo! Sports
Brandon Tierney, CBS Sports
Chris Mortensen, ESPN
Walter Football
Danny Kelly, SB Nation
Andrea Hangst, Bleacher Report
Erik Frenz, Bleacher Report
Sterling Sharpe, NFL Network
Ty Schalter, Bleacher Report
Rivers McCown, Bleacher Report
Jeff Erickson, Sirius XM
Nick Costas, Sirius XM



A blowout loss at home was destined to change the minds of a few of these 61 folks, right?

Week 2:  Rams beat Buccaneers, 19-17

3 out of 129 picked the Rams

Walter Football [2]
Rivers McCown, Bleacher Report [2]
PFT Commenter, SB Nation


...and suddenly Ditka trails McCown and Walter Football as a believer in this Rams team.  Let’s see what a close win over the Bucs did to help matters...

Week 3:  Rams lose to Cowboys, 34-31

28 out of 130 picked the Rams

FiveThirtyFive [2]
Numberfire [2]
Chris Liss, Sirius XM [2]
Gary Mihoces, USA Today [2]
Adam Schein, CBS Sports
Dave Richard, CBS Sports
Prediction Machine
Alex Marvez, Fox Sports
Adam Schefter, ESPN
John Halpin, Fox Sports
Mike Garafolo, Fox Sports [2]
Pickwatch [2]
Sam Monson, PFF
Frank Schwab, Yahoo! Sports [2]
Jim Miller, Sirius XM
Marshall Faulk, NFL Network [2]
Mike Freeman, Bleacher Report
Braden Gall, Sirius XM [2]
Chris Mortensen, ESPN [2]
Walter Football [3]
Danny Kelly, SB Nation [2]
Will Brinson, CBS Sports
Chris Hansen, Bleacher Report
PFT Commenter, SB Nation [2]
Jeff Erickson, Sirius XM [2]
Chris Law, NFL Network
Stephen A. Smith, Sirius XM
Nick Kostos, Sirius XM



Week 5:  Rams lose to Eagles, 34-28

3 out of 131 picked the Rams

Jim Miller, Sirius XM [2]
Merill Hoge, ESPN [2]
Danny Kelly, SB Nation [3]


Week 6:  Rams lose to 49ers, 31-17

5 out of 130 picked the Rams

TD Daniel, NFL Network [2]
John Halpin, Fox Sports [2]
Bill Cowher, CBS Sports
Sam Monson, PFF [2]
Jeff Erickson, Sirius XM [2]


Week 7:  Rams beat Seahawks, 28-26

1 out of 129 picked the Rams

No table necessary.  Only Bleacher Report’s Ty Schalter [2] picked the Rams to win this home game against the Seahawks.  Would an unexpected win against the defending Super Bowl Champions change a few minds about the Rams?

A few, yes.  A lot? Not quite.

Week 8:  Rams lose to the Chiefs, 34-7

7 out of 129 picked the Rams

Stephen White, SB Nation
Ryan Van Bibber, SB Nation
Andrea Hangst, Bleacher Report
Chris Trapasso, NFL Network [2]
Mike Ditka, ESPN [2]
Tom Pelissero, USA Today
Pickwatch [3]



Another blowout.  How would this affect about 130 experts opinions on whether or not the Rams could INTO San Francisco and escape with a win?

Week 9:  Rams beat 49ers, 13-10

0 out of 127 picked the Rams

Ever seen 127 people collectively guess something wrong?  Now you have.

Week 10:  Rams lose to Cardinals, 31-14

1 out of 129 picked the Rams

Again, no table required.  A very soft-spoken, reserved Warren Sapp was the only expert to go with the Rams beating the then 7-1 Cardinals.  Well done, Warren.

Week 11:  Rams beat Broncos, 22-7

2 out of 129 picked the Rams

Mike Ditka, ESPN [3]
Dave Dameshek, NFL Network


And that brings us to today.  There’s no doubt that Ditka is going all in on the Rams in Week 12; meaning he will have chosen the Rams for the fourth time this season.  Will he stand alone atop this list of approximately 130 peers, or will a dominant win against another Super Bowl team have folks jumping aboard the Rams’ bandwagon?

Week 12:  Rams at Chargers

29 out of 115 are picking the Rams

Peter Schrager, Fox Sports [2]
Alex Marvez, Fox Sports [2]
Gregg Rosenthal, NFL Network
Brent Sobleski, Bleacher Report
John Halpin, Fox Sports [3]
Keyshawn Johnson, ESPN
Kurt Warner, NFL Network [2]
Mark Schlereth, ESPN [2]
Lindsay H. Jones, USA Today [2]
Mike Tanier, Bleacher Report
Pickwatch [4]
Matt Bowen, Bleacher Report [2]
Mike Ditka, ESPN [4]
Shaun O’Hara[2]
Jason La Canfora, CBS Sports [2]
Melissa Stark, NFL Network
Merill Hoge, ESPN [3]
Mike Freeman, Bleacher Report [2]
Mike Golic, ESPN
Chris Mortensen, ESPN [3]
Fox.com Editors
Ryan Van Bibber, SB Nation [2]
Danny Kelly, SB Nation [4]
Sterling Sharpe, NFL Network [2]
Will Brinson, CBS Sports [2]
Chris Hansen, Bleacher Report [2]
Stephen White, SB Nation [2]
Rivers McCown, Bleacher Report [3]
Jeff Erickson, Sirius XM [4]


...no, he cannot.  A late surge by a pair of unexpected experts means that we’ve got three folks who’ve chosen the Rams as victors through Week 12.

I’m giving the edge to Ditka because of his gumption in Week 11 against the Broncos.  I’d also like to thank Danny Kelly from Field Gulls, and Jeff Erickson from Sirius XM for their continued support.