Week 10 of the NFL regular season is now in the history books. The Rams are coming off a disappointing 37-13 loss to the Chicago Bears. This weekend the Rams travel to Baltimore to face the Ravens, one of a series of upcoming games important to the Rams' fading playoff aspirations. Will the Rams move to 5-5 on the season and inch towards playoff contention? Can Dubs make up some ground on the leaders in the weekly picks contest?
Dubs' Pigskin Pick 'em & Rams Game 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 136 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 10 Results
|Week||Wins Straight Up||Wins vs Spread||Hot Picks vs. Spread||Rams Straight Up|
|Week 10||5 9||8 6||1 2||0 1|
|Season Record||94 52||90 53 3||21 9||4 5|
How did I fare against the experts in Week 10? With a total of 8 major upsets, it was a brutal week for most of us. My 5-9 straight up picks record was still enough to move up two spots into a tie for 6th place in the overall standings, 6 behind the leader Josh Katzowitz of Forbes. My "Hot Picks Against The Spread" hit a little bump in the road this past week. Both Denver and Cincinnati lost as favorites. The Panthers won handily and covered the spread. Record for the week: 1-2 (21-9 overall on the season). Given the number of upsets, my ATS picks record for the week was solid, if unspectacular. Let's hope I can get back on track picking against the spread.
2015 NFL Team Records
|NFL ATS RANKINGS|
Dubs' Pigskin Picks - Week 11
|Home||Away||Spread||Straight Up||Vs. Spread||Score|
|Jacksonville||Tennessee||Jac 3||Jacksonville||Jacksonville||27 21|
|Baltimore||St. Louis||Bal 2.5||St. Louis||St. Louis||24 17|
|Atlanta||Indianapolis||Atl 5||Atlanta||Atlanta||27 20|
|Philadelphia||Tampa Bay||Phi 6.5||Philadelphia||Tampa Bay||21 17|
|Carolina||Washington||Car 8.5||Carolina||Carolina||30 20|
|Houston||NY Jets||Even||Houston||Houston||23 14|
|San Diego||Kansas City||KC 3||Kansas City||Kansas City||24 17|
|Minnesota||Green Bay||Even||Minnesota||Minnesota||28 27|
|Seattle||San Francisco||Sea 13.5||Seattle||Seattle||24 10|
|Arizona||Cincinnati||Ari 5||Arizona||Cincinnati||21 17|
|New England||Buffalo||NE 7||New England||New England||27 17|
|NY Giants||New Orleans|
Hot Picks Against The Spread
Carolina over Washington - The Panthers sport a perfect 9-0 record and are 7-2 against the spread. The surprising Carolina juggernaut continues to roll.
Cincinnati over Arizona - The Cards will win this game at home, but the 5 point spread is too much against a tough, once-defeated Bengals team.
New England over Buffalo - The undefeated Patriots are 3-0-2 at home against the spread this season and keep finding ways to win football games.
St. Louis Rams @ Baltimore Ravens
Keys For The Rams Vs. Baltimore
- The Rams must get off to a fast start in Sunday's game. In each of their 17 victories over the last 2 plus seasons, the Rams were either tied or leading at the half. In their first 9 games this season, the Rams have been outscored 60-35 in the first quarter.
- 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. Thus far in 2015, the Rams are 2-2 when they win the turnover battle and 2-3 when they don't.
- The Rams must establish the running game, against a Baltimore defense ranked 10th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed (98.7) for the 2015 season. Can Todd Gurley get back on track and run for 100+ yards?
- 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 3-1 when they've had the same or fewer penalty yards than their opponent and 1-4 when they've had more than their opponent. The Rams were flagged for 8 penalties last week in the game against the Bears.
- Pressuring and containing QB Joe Flacco. Putting pressure on and containing Flacco is one of the bigger keys in this game. He's ranked in the bottom third of QB's in the NFL. The Ravens' offense is averaging 23.3 points per game (15th in the league). The Rams are 3rd in the league in sacks (29).
- Case Keenum takes over for the benched Nick Foles. He will lead a conservative, ball-controlling Rams offense, against the 25th ranked Ravens defense. 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. Better utilization of: the RB's coming out of the backfield, screens and shorter patterns all may help in reducing the pressure being put on Foles in the pocket.
- 3rd down and red zone conversions will play a big role in this game. The Rams rank close to the bottom of the league in both statistical categories (last in 3rd down conversions). It doesn't matter how many times Todd Gurley gashes the opposing defense, if the Rams can't punch it in (see the Green Bay and Minnesota games).
Prediction: Rams 24 - Baltimore 17
This is a really difficult game to handicap, especially with the Rams on the road. Case Keenum is the wild card in this game. Will he spark the offense out of its doldrums? Will the injuries to the offensive line be too much to overcome? I have no truly logical reason for picking the Rams to win this game. Instead, we'll call it a hunch and run with it!
Perspective On The Rams Versus Baltimore
On The Phone: John Harbaugh: St. Louis Rams Official Website
Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh speaks with St. Louis media members.
Fisher Up Front: St. Louis Rams Official Website
Dani Klupenger sits down with Head Coach Jeff Fisher to discuss this week's upcoming matchup against the Baltimore Ravens.
St. Louis Rams at Baltimore Ravens
- The Ravens have won three of the five games they've ever played versus St. Louis, including both contests in Baltimore. The last time these teams squared off in 2011 in St. Louis, the Ravens set a team record with 553 yards of total offense in a 37-7 rout.
- Baltimore's 22-20 loss at home to Jacksonville last week dropped the Ravens to 2-7 this season. All nine games have been decided by eight points or fewer. It's the longest streak ever by any team to begin a season.
- The Rams were blasted at home by Chicago last week, 37-13, dipping St. Louis to 4-5. The Rams are now 3-0 when facing teams from the NFC West, but just 1-5 against opponents from outside their division.
- Case Keenum is expected to take over from Nick Foles and make his first start of the season on Sunday. After losing the first eight starts of his career in 2013, Keenum won his only two starts last season, the first of which came against Baltimore on December 21, 2014 (25-13 victory for Houston).
- Todd Gurley's 709 rushing yards are the sixth most ever by a Rams rookie. With 57 more on Sunday, Gurley would move past Ron Waller (716 yards in 1955) and Tre Mason (765 yards in 2014) for the fourth most ever by a Rams rookie.
- Joe Flacco is 13-1 in his career when facing NFC opponents at home. The .929 winning percentage is the second highest among all quarterbacks who have ever started at least 10 times at home in non-conference games. Only Jim McMahon (15-1, .938) has posted a better record.
ESPN's Nick Wagoner joined Kevin Wheeler to talk about the Rams/Ravens, the challenges the Rams face heading into this weekend, what Keenum can do for the offense, Todd Gurley trying to get more space to run in, and the offensive line carousel.
St. Louis Rams - Baltimore Ravens Capsule: The Associated Press
ST. LOUIS (4-5) at BALTIMORE (2-7)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox
OPENING LINE — Ravens by 2
RECORD VS. SPREAD — Rams 4-5, Ravens 1-7-1
SERIES RECORD — Ravens lead 3-2
LAST MEETING — Ravens beat Rams 37-7, Sept. 25, 2011
LAST WEEK — Rams lost to Bears 37-13; Ravens lost to Jaguars 22-20
AP PRO32 RANKING — Rams No. 19, Ravens No. 28
RAMS OFFENSE — OVERALL (31), RUSH (5), PASS (32).
RAMS DEFENSE — OVERALL (6), RUSH (17), PASS (5t).
RAVENS OFFENSE — OVERALL (10), RUSH (23), PASS (9).
RAVENS DEFENSE — OVERALL (20), RUSH (10), PASS (26).
STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES — Ravens WR Chris Givens was traded from Rams last month. He scored his first TD with Baltimore last week. … Rams WR Tavon Austin grew up in Baltimore. … In last meeting, Ravens QB Joe Flacco connected for three first-quarter TDs, all to Torrey Smith. … Rams will start Case Keenum at QB. He beat Baltimore with Houston in 2014. … Rams WR Wes Welker needs 146 yards receiving to reach 10,000 and seven catches to reach 900. … Rams lead NFC with 29 sacks, including six by Aaron Donald and five by Robert Quinn. … It’s first of two straight road games for the Rams against AFC North. Cincinnati is next. … Rams rookie Todd Gurley has 709 yards rushing, fourth most in NFL. . Rams’ red-zone defense has permitted TDs just 36 percent of time, best percentage in NFL. … St. Louis has forced 16 turnovers and scored following 11 of them. … Flacco has 13 TDs and three INTs in his last eight home games. Last week, he threw three TDs and two INTs. … Ravens RB Justin Forsett is averaging 100.5 yards from scrimmage in last five games. … Ravens FB Kyle Juszczyk had career-high five catches last week. … Ravens TE Crockett Gillmore seeking third straight game with TD catch. … LB Daryl Smith leads Ravens with 81 tackles, which ranks fourth in AFC. … Ravens placed Jeremy Zuttah on IR Wednesday, leaving John Urschel to make first career start at center. … Interception by Lardarius Webb last week was Baltimore’s first takeaway since Week 3. Ravens have recovered one opponent’s fumble all season and own a minus-10 turnover differential. … Baltimore is 46-14 in games played at home under coach John Harbaugh, but 1-3 this season. … Fantasy Tip: Look for Rams to attempt to establish run with Keenum making his first start of year, so expect Gurley to have productive afternoon.