Detroit Lions (4-8 SU, 4-8 ATS) vs. St. Louis Rams (4-8 SU, 4-7-1 ATS)
NFL Week 14
Date/Time: Sunday, December 13, 2015, 1:00 pm EST
Where: Edward Jones Dome
TV: FOX, DirecTV 708
by Badger, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: DET +1/STL -1
Over/Under Total: 41
Two NFC franchises with eerily similar 4-8 records and coaching staffs that have already been jettisoned for a lack of production will tangle inside the Edward Jones Dome this Sunday in week 14 NFL action, when the Detroit Lions travel to face the St. Louis Rams in an early game tilt on Fox.
When the Lions stumbled on offense out of the gate this season it cost OC Joe Lombardi his job at the end of October. The Lions have been playing better under new OC Jim Bob Cooter and were riding a three-game win streak up until last Thursday night when it was snapped in historic fashion on an extra-down Hail Mary ending in a loss to the Packers, 27-23. Now with little to play for in 2015, the Lions and head coach Jim Caldwell are all playing for their jobs in 2016 as Detroits soon-to-be new management teams tries to decides whether who stays and who goes as the season winds down to the finale.
After struggling again last Sunday in a, 27-3, loss to Arizona in a game where they ended with only 6 first downs, the Rams fired OC Frank Cignetti this week in hopes to shake things up in St. Louis and keep their jobs in 2016. Nick Foles (1-for-11 on third down) has fallen off the Earth as an NFL QB and his fall has crushed the Rams this season, who traded for him in the offseason and pegged their hopes in the NFC West on his shoulders. With veteran journeyman Case Keenum cleared from concussion protocol and ready to play quarterback this Sunday, the Rams and new OC Rob Boras will try and salvage anything of whats left in 2015.
Even though nobody outside of Detroit and St. Louis may be watching this game Sunday, oddsmakers still have a point spread live for this week 14 contest setting the opening number with St. Louis as a 1-point home favorite. The over/under total opened at 40.5 and has moved to 41 at a few sportsbooks, but has held for the most part at a majority of the other books.
Just how bad has the Rams offense gotten you may ask? The Rams are 31st in total offense (296 ypg) and have become so one-dimensional in favor of stud rookie running back Todd Gurley that the Rams passing game is ranked dead-last in the NFL at 178 yards a game. With no reason to back out of the box over the threat of the pass, defenses have been teeing off on Gurley who had nine carries last week for 41 yards and 34 of those yards came on the opening carry of the second half. Anybody who watched the Packers Aaron Rodgers rain down that Hail Mary pass last week already knows that the Lions defense is susceptible to big plays, but considering they are just 18th against the run (109 ypg allowed) could mean a good debut for Boras as OC and a big day for Gurley if Keenum can just manage the game at QB.
The Lions offense has produced in recent weeks under new OC Cooter because Cooter must have reminded everyone in the offensive meeting room that they have Calvin Johnson on their team. The Stafford-to-Megatron connection has produced during the win streak for the Lions, and considering the Rams top-notch combo of starting corners Trumaine Johnson (thigh) and Jenoris Jenkins (concussion) are both listed as questionable for Sundays action, Johnson could become a fantasy darling on Sunday.
These two last played in 2012 and 2010, both games won by Detroit at home in Ford Field. Going back through the years the Lions are 6-4 both SU and ATS in the series with the Rams, but St. Louis is 2-1 SU in the three games played in Missouri. The best betting trend following this contest is the over, which is 4-1 in the last five head-to-head meetings. However, it should be noted that the under is 7-1 in the Rams last eight overall this year, and the under is also 12-3 in the Lions last 15 road games.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The QB situation is so bad in St. Louis right now, and we all know that in the NFL you live or die by the quarterback. If you would have asked anyone before the season started who they would want at QB, Foles or Keenum, I doubt anybody would have answered Keenum. But for Rams fans thats where we are. Plus, the Rams defense which has carried the team all year is starting to break down with injuries. Im taking Detroit plus the point.
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