Week 4 of the NFL regular season is now in the history books. After a pair of disappointing losses to Washington and Pittsburgh, the Rams rebounded in dramatic fashion, beating the previously undefeated Arizona Cardinals 24-22. This week, the Rams travel to Wisconsin for a tough road game against the undefeated Green Bay Packers. Can the Rams pull off another big upset and climb over the .500 mark? Can Dubs make up some ground on the leaders in the weekly picks contest?
Dubs' Pigskin Picks & Rams Preview returns for a third season. I'll be predicting the winners (both straight up and against the spread) for all 256 regular season games. In addition, each week I'll be featuring 3 games in my "Hot Picks Against The Spread".
Pickwatch is a site devoted to tracking weekly picks results from NFL experts, analysts, and media types. This year, they're tracking 134 experts on a weekly basis. I'm competing against them again this season, and will publish the weekly results! In each of the last two seasons, I've managed to tie for first place in the overall standings. Can Dubs make it three years in a row?
Week 4 Results
|Week||Wins Straight Up||Wins vs Spread||Hot Picks vs. Spread||Rams Straight Up|
|Last Week||10 5||10 5||2 1||0 1|
|Season||43 20||45 17 1||11 1||1 3|
How did I fare against the experts in Week 4? My 10-5 record was good enough to remain in a tie for 6th in the overall standings, two behind the leaders: Adam Meyer (Fox Sports), Geoff Ulrich (Draft Kings) and Gordon McGuinness (Pro Football Focus). In my "Hot Picks Against The Spread", Cincinnati and Carolina both won and covered the spread. Denver won their game against Minnesota, but did not cover the spread. My overall record against the spread continues to shine and I will continue to use the primary strategy of picking favorites to cover so long as it continues to work!!
2015 NFL Team Records
|NFL ATS RANKINGS|
Dubs' Pigskin Picks - Week 5
|Home||Away||Spread||Straight Up||Vs. Spread||Score|
|Green Bay||St. Louis||GB 10||Green Bay||St. Louis||23 20|
|Atlanta||Washington||Atl 8||Atlanta||Atlanta||30 21|
|Cincinnati||Seattle||Cin 2.5||Cincinnati||Cincinnati||17 14|
|Tennessee||Buffalo||Buf 1||Buffalo||Buffalo||21 14|
|Kansas City||Chicago||KC 10||Kansas City||Kansas City||23 10|
|Philadelphia||New Orleans||Phi 5.5||Philadelphia||Philadelphia||27 20|
|Tampa Bay||Jacksonville||TB 2.5||Jacksonville||Jacksonville||21 17|
|Baltimore||Cleveland||Bal 7||Baltimore||Baltimore||24 14|
|Detroit||Arizona||Ari 2.5||Arizona||Arizona||27 10|
|Dallas||New England||NE 10||New England||New England||31 20|
|Oakland||Denver||Den 4.5||Denver||Denver||21 6|
|NY Giants||San Francisco||NYG 7||NY Giants||NY Giants||28 20|
|San Diego||Pittsburgh||SD 3||San Diego||San Diego||24 20|
Hot Picks Against The Spread
Arizona over Detroit - The Cardinals are looking to rebound from a tough loss to the Rams last Sunday. The Lions can't seem to get it together and win a game.
New England over Dallas - The Patriots' juggernaut rolls on after a bye week, against a Dallas team sorely missing Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and former Cowboy DeMarco Murray.
Denver over Oakland - The Broncos are undefeated and are 2-0 on the road against the spread. Denver's defense has been among the league's very best this season.
St. Louis Rams @ Green Bay Packers
Keys For The Rams vs. Green Bay
- The Rams must get off to a fast start in Sunday's game. In each of their 15 victories over the last 2 plus seasons, the Rams were either tied or leading at the half.
- Winning the turnover battle. In 2014, the Rams were 0-6 in games with a negative turnover differential. In contrast, the Rams were 3-0 in games with a positive turnover differential and 3-4 in games with an even turnover differential. Finally, the Rams were 4-0 in games where they didn't turn over the football. The Rams benefited from a trio of Cardinals turnovers (to none for the Rams) in their 24-22 Week 4 win.
- The Rams must establish the running game against a Green Bay defense ranked 21st in the NFL in rushing yards allowed (115.0) for the 2015 season.
- Minimizing mistakes and penalties. When the Rams play disciplined football, they win games. In 2014, the Rams were 3-1 when they had a positive team penalty yards differential, and 3-9 when they had more penalty yards than their opponent. This season, the Rams are 1-0 when they've had fewer penalty yards than their opponent and 1-2 when they've had more than their opponent.
- Pressuring QB Aaron Rodgers and containing RB Eddie Lacy. Putting pressure on Rodgers may be the biggest key in this game. If the Rams can contain the Packers' rushing attack, look for them to harass and tee off on Rodgers throughout the game.
- Nick Foles will lead a conservative, ball-controlling Rams offense. A clean, mistake-free game is all that's expected of him. He'll need to connect deep with Jared Cook, Tavon Austin and Kenny Britt to open up the Rams' running game.
Prediction: Green Bay 23 - Rams 20
In their last ten home games at Lambeau Field, the Green Bay Packers sport a perfect 10-0 record. QB Aaron Rodgers is playing lights out, with the NFL's highest passer rating (125.9) and best TD:INT. ratio (11-0). Surprisingly, the Packers' defense has played very sound football. They are tied with the Rams for the 2nd most number of sacks in the league (17). To pull off the upset, the Rams will need a strong team effort and high level individual performances, similar to last week in the win against Arizona. In a closely contested affair, the Packers pull off the win, with the Rams covering the 10 point spread.
Perspective On The Rams Versus Green Bay
- In last week's 24-22 road win over the Arizona Cardinals, the Rams' defense held their opponent to five field goals and one touchdown. In their first three games of 2015, Arizona averaged 42.0 points and 5.7 touchdowns per game, both NFL team-highs.
- With their 17-3 road victory over the San Francisco 49ers, the Packers secured their 11th 4-0 start in the long history of their franchise and their fifth such start in the Super Bowl era. Out of the previous four seasons, however, only the 1966 team that began 4-0 ended up winning the Super Bowl.
- The Packers have won four games in a row over the Rams dating back to 2007. Since 1996, Green Bay's last seven victories over St. Louis have all been by 10 points or more, outscoring the Rams 209-87 in those games.
- Rams' rookie Todd Gurley gained 146 rushing yards in the win over the Cardinals in his second career game. It was the most rushing yards by a Rams player in either his first or second game with the team since Greg Hill gained 158 in a 34-33 win at Buffalo on September 20, 1998. Gurley's total is the second most in this category by a Ram since 1960.
- The Packers have scored 383 points over their last 10 home games, the most in any 10-game home span in franchise history. During this span, they have posted 42 points of more four times and their lowest point total is 26.
- Aaron Rodgers has thrown 11 touchdown passes without an interception this season. Since 1960, only two quarterbacks have thrown more TD passes without an interception in the first four team games of the season (Peyton Manning -- 16 in 2013 with Denver & Don Meredith -- 14 in 1966 with Dallas).
The "Around the NFL" crew discusses (packers.com) whether or not Aaron Donald and Robert Quinn can slow down Aaron Rodgers as the Rams take on the Packers in Week 5.
Noted analyst Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel delivers a scouting report on the Rams in advance of the game between the Packers and Rams.
Rams Reporter Dani Klupenger talks to head coach Jeff Fisher prior to Sunday's road game against the Green Bay Packers.
Associated Press Rams-Packers Capsule
ST. LOUIS (2-2) at GREEN BAY (4-0)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS
OPENING LINE — Packers by 9
RECORD VS SPREAD — Rams 2-2, Packers 4-0
SERIES RECORD — Rams lead 46-45-2
LAST MEETING — Packers beat Rams 30-20, Oct. 21, 2012
LAST WEEK — Rams beat Cardinals 24-22; Packers beat 49ers 17-3
AP PRO32 RANKINGS — Rams No. 10, Packers No. 2
RAMS OFFENSE — OVERALL (32), RUSH (23), PASS (28)
RAMS DEFENSE — OVERALL (16), RUSH (26), PASS (14)
PACKERS OFFENSE — OVERALL (10), RUSH (3), PASS (21)
PACKERS DEFENSE — OVERALL (8), RUSH (21), PASS (7)
STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES —Rams seeking second straight victory over unbeaten opponent on road after defeating Cardinals last week. ... QB Nick Foles has 3.46 TD-to-INT ratio since becoming starter in 2013. ... Foles was 12 of 18 for 228 yards and three TDs in only career start against Packers in 27-13 win while with Philadelphia in 2013. ... WR Tavon Austin first player in NFL history to have punt return of 75 yards or longer in three straight seasons. ... RB Todd Gurley ran for all but 40 of 146 yards last week in fourth quarter. ... Rams have league-high 162 sacks since 2012. ... LB James Laurinaitis' 100 consecutive starts are third-longest active streak among linebackers. ... Secondary coach Chuck Cecil played safety for Packers from 1988-92. ... Packers 11-0 at home since start of 2014 season, only unbeaten team at home in that stretch. ... Dating back to December 2012, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has thrown 486 passes and 43 touchdowns at home since last interception at Lambeau Field, both NFL records. ... WR James Jones tied for first in league with six catches of 25-plus yards. ... WR Randall Cobb tied for first in league with four TD catches in red zone. ... Packers have sack in franchise-record 40 straight regular-season games, also longest current streak in NFL. ... With 276 career field goals, K Mason Crosby is two short of passing Ryan Longwell for most in team history. ... Fantasy Tip: Packers holding opposing starting running backs to average of 36 yards on 11 carries last three games
CBS Sports NFL analysts Pete Prisco, Pat Kirwan and Brady Quinn break down the keys for the St. Louis Rams and Green Bay Packers ahead of Sunday's Week 5 showdown in Green Bay.