Week 2 of the NFL regular season is now in the history books. The Rams are coming off a gritty win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, their first victory of the season. This weekend the Rams host the Dallas Cowboys, a bitter rival historically. The game will be a tough match up for the Rams, but one that's eminently winnable. It's also time for Dubs to make a move on the leaders, in the weekly Pigskin Picks contest.
Week 2 Results
|Week||Wins Straight Up||Wins vs Spread||Hot Picks vs. Spread||Rams Straight Up|
|Last Week||9 7||8 8||2 1||0 1|
|Season||19 13||17 15||3 3||0 2|
Pickwatch is a site devoted to tracking weekly picks results from NFL experts, analysts, media types, and pundits (link). This year, they're tracking 117 experts on a weekly basis. I'll be competing against them again this year, and will publish the weekly results! How did I fare against the experts in Week 2? My 9-7 record puts me into a 19'th place tie in the overall standings, three behind the leaders. It's a rare week when a 9-7 record actually allows one to move up six places in the standings. There's plenty of time to catch the leaders. 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 72'nd, finishing the week with an 8-8 record (16-16 for the season).
How did I make out with my "Hot Picks Against The Spread" last week? Both New England and Arizona won easily (and covered the spread) in games versus Minnesota and the New York Giants, respectively. Seattle was upset by San Diego, and did not cover the spread. Record for the week: 2-1.
2014 NFL Team Records
|NFL ATS RANKINGS|
Dubs' Pigskin Picks - Week 3
|Home||Away||Spread||Straight Up||Vs. Spread||Score|
|Atlanta||Tampa Bay||Atl 6||Atlanta||Atlanta||27 17|
|Buffalo||San Diego||Buf 1||San Diego||San Diego||23 14|
|Cincinnati||Tennessee||Cin 7||Cincinnati||Cincinnati||26 13|
|Detroit||Green Bay||Det 2 1/2||Green Bay||Green Bay||24 21|
|St. Louis||Dallas||Even||St. Louis||St. Louis||23 20|
|New England||Oakland||NE 15 1/2||New England||New England||28 7|
|New Orleans||Minnesota||NO 10 1/2||New Orleans||New Orleans||24 13|
|NY Giants||Houston||Hou 1||Houston||Houston||23 20|
|Philadelphia||Washington||Phi 7||Philadelphia||Philadelphia||27 17|
|Jacksonville||Indianapolis||Ind 7||Indianapolis||Indianpolis||30 17|
|Arizona||San Francisco||SF 2 1/2||San Francisco||San Francisco||20 17|
|Miami||Kansas City||Mia 4||Miami||Kansas City||23 20|
|Seattle||Denver||Sea 5||Seattle||Denver||24 21|
|Carolina||Pittsburgh||Car 3||Carolina||Carolina||20 14|
|NY Jets||Chicago||NY 2 1/2||Chicago||Chicago||24 21|
Hot Picks Against The Spread
Carolina over Pittsburgh - The Panthers' defense looks every bit as tough as last years' unit. The D - and Cam Newton - prove to be the difference against an improved Pittsburgh team.
Dallas Cowboys @ St. Louis Rams
The Dallas Cowboys are one of the more up-and-down teams in the NFL. Some weeks they look like Super Bowl contenders; other weeks they look like basement dwellers. The ups and downs are reflected in the Cowboys' regular season record: 17-17 since the beginning of the 2012 season. Which Dallas team will show up this week at the EJD?
Keys For The Rams vs. Dallas
- 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. In their season-opening loss to Minnesota, the Rams were losing 13-0 at the half. Against Tampa Bay last week, the Rams led 10-7 at half-time.
- 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. Against the Vikings in Week 1, the Rams had a minus-2 turnover differential. In the game against Tampa Bay, the Rams' turnover differential was even.
- The Rams must establish the running game, and get some push from the offensive line, which thus far has played erratically. The Cowboys have allowed 4.86 yards per rushing attempt in their two games this season.
- With CB Trumaine Johnson still out for 2-4 weeks, the Rams could have match up problems with Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant and TE Jason Witten.
- Minimizing mistakes and penalties. The Rams have the youngest - and most inexperienced - team in the league (for the third consecutive year). The Rams were flagged for 13 penalties in their loss to the Vikings. Versus Tampa Bay, the Rams committed 5 penalties officially. Including the offset and declined penalties, the Rams committed 9 infractions in total.
- Containing RB DeMarco Murray. The Rams were much improved against the run in 2013, finishing 9'th in the league, despite Murray's 175 yard rushing onslaught against them last year. Murray has fared well against the Rams historically, rushing for 253 yards in the 2011 contest between the 2 teams. The Rams' defense has given up 342 rushing yards in two games this year (29'th in the league).
- Pressuring QB Tony Romo. The Rams have a pass rush that could give the Cowboys' offensive line fits. Watch for the match up between Cowboys OT Tyron Smith and Rams' DE Robert Quinn. 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.
- QB Austin Davis will need to replicate his performance of last week, against the Buccaneers.
Prediction: Rams 23 - Dallas 20
Perspective On The Rams vs. Cowboys
CBS Sports' Pete Prisco and Pat Kirwan preview the NFL Week 3 matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and the St. Louis Rams:
Former Dallas Cowboy Daryl Johnston previews the game between the Rams and the Dallas Cowboys on 101 ESPN: