St. Louis Rams (0-4 SU, 0-4 ATS) at Green Bay Packers (5-0 SU, 4-1 ATS), NFL Week 6, Sun. October 16, 1pm ET, Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI, Fox.
by Evergreen, Professional Sports Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Stl +14.5/GB -14.5
Over/Under Total: 47.5
Two teams on very different paths meet this week as the winless St. Louis Rams travel to North to take on the undefeated Green Bay Packers. The game from historic Lambeau Field kicks in the first wave of the NFL’s week 6 schedule and airs on Fox. Expectations for the Rams were high entering the year, especially after a strong preseason, but Sam Bradford and crew are still looking for their first win while Aaron Rodgers has the Pack looking primed for a return trip to the Super Bowl.
Green Bay opened betting as a 15.5 point favorite and lines are mixed across the online betting sites withthePackersat -14.5 at some with 5dimes listing the Rams as a 16 point dog. The over/under total is a bit more consistent with 47.5 or 48 currently listed at both the offshore and Vegas sportsbooks.
Despite the 0-4 start, St. Louis remains in the mix in the NFC East if they can get on track as two meetings are still ahead with the division-leading 49ers. A win against the Packers isthe tallest of orders but maybe a bye in week 5 along with two weeks to prep for Green Bay will allow the Rams a better chance to put a winning gameplan together. St. Louis held the Redskins to 17 points in a week 4 loss but the defense has underperformed, allowing the most rush yards and second most points per game through the first month of the season. The offense is struggling nearly as much, ranking outside the top-25 in rush and pass yards while scoring a league-low 11.5 points per game.
Sam Bradfordsanpping out of his funkis the key to any success for the Rams as the young QB has completed less than 50% of his passes so far and has thrown for just three scores. Steven Jackson is a force but has been limited by injury and Cadillac Williams has stepped in to lead the team with 202 rushing yards but has not found the endzone. Brandon Gibson and Mike Sims-Walker have been the most reliable options for Bradford but TE Lance Kendricks could see a lot of looks against a Packers defense that has had trouble containing opposing tight ends. A healthy Jackson eating up the clock and keeping the ball out of Rodgers’ hands will likely be the best approach.
The Pack are rolling at 5-0 but have not been able to shake the Lions in the NFC North and need to stay focused and avoid the letdown this week. The Packers trailed 14-0 at Atlanta in Week 5 but held the Falcons in the second half and ran off 25 unanswered on the way to the victory. Green Bay is among the NFL elite on offense with the 4th best passing and total yards per game averages and leads the league at 34.6 points per contest. The defense can be moved on, especially through the air, but they limit points well, giving up an 11th best, 22 points per game.
Aaron Rodgers has moved to the top of the QB foodchain and the MVP candidate has hit on 71% completions for 1,721 yards and 14 touchdowns against just two interceptions. James Starks got the carries last week with Ryan Grant but even as Grant returns, the passing game is the staple for the Pack. Greg Jennings leads the team with 448 yards on 29 grabs and has 4 touchdowns. Jermichael Finley is a matchup nightmare and has three TD receptions as Rodgers has found six different receivers with a scoring strike.
One issue for Green Bay is the health of it’s offensive line as Chad Clifton and Bryan Bulaga are both out for Sunday’s game. Clifton suffered a serious hamstring injury and will miss several weeks as Bulaga is still dealing with a bum knee. Derek Sherrod and Marshall Newhouse have filled in nicely but the depth is certainly a question if any more injuries occur. The injury sheet is pretty clean for the Rams following the bye week.
St. Louis has been on a bad run against the spread of late, going 0-5 ATS in their last five overall as well as their last five as an underdog. Green Bay has beat the line just about any way you slice it, going 7-1 ATS in thier last eight games at Lambeau and are riding a 6-1 ATS mark in the last seven against the NFC. The favorite has covered in the last six meetings between the teams. The Sagarin rankings are no suprise with the Packers in the top spot and the Rams in the basement.
Evergreen’s Pick to cover the point spread: There is just too much Green Bay offense for a struggling Rams team and the Packers still boast some of the best individual defensive playmakers waiting for Bradford. Even if St. Louis can slow the pace, they probably can’t score with enough to give the Packers a game and McCarthy has Rodgers throwing throughout. Packers 40, Rams 13.
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