Indianapolis Colts vs. St. Louis Rams Preview and Pick – Point Spread – NFL Week 7

Indianapolis Colts (5-0 SU, 4-1 ATS) vs. St. Louis Rams (0-6 SU, 2-4
ATS), 1:00 p.m. EST, NFL Week 7, Sunday, October 25, 2009, Edward Jones Dome, St.
Louis, Mo., TV: CBS

by Badger of

Point Spread: Colts -13.5/Rams +13.5
Over/Under: 45

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning will take his MVP-type
start of the season on the road this week when they travel to St.
Louis to take on the winless Rams in the Edward Jones Dome.

So far the Colts are perfect this season and its mostly due to the
fact that Manning has recovered from the knee injury that hampered
him all season. The oldest Manning has already thrown for 1,645 yards
and 12 touchdowns while hitting on a ridiculous 73 percent of his
passes, and thats only through five games.

Add in the fact that the Colts are coming off of their bye week and
what you get is a recipe for this game to get ugly real quick.

The Rams are still winless this season at 0-6, but they have shown
some signs of improvement each week including last week when they
nearly sprung an upset of Jacksonville on the road. Kicker Josh Brown
drilled a 27-yard field goal with four seconds remaining in the game
to put it into overtime, but the Jags rallied in the extra period and
won it when Josh Scobee kicked a 36-yarder for the win.

The week before the Rams outgained the undefeated Vikings 400-to-377,
but they went 0-for-4 in the red zone and 0-for-2 on the goal line to
seal their fate in a 38-10 loss that wasnt nearly as lopsided as it

But the Rams week-to-week improvement seems to falling of deaf ears
in Las Vegas, as oddsmakers have installed the Colts as huge 13-point
favorites on the road. The public isnt drinking the Rams Kool-aid
either, as most of the early money has come in on Indy which has
caused a few offshore sportsbooks to move the point spread up to 13.5
or even a full two-touchdown 14 points at a few books.

The over/under total opened at 46 and has dropped the hook down to
45.5 and most of the books. A few of them are down to 45, so shop
around for the extra point.

What else really needs to be said about the Colts offense other than
the fact thats its clearly Mannings team. You can change head
coaches, take away All-Pro running backs (Edgerin James) and
receivers (Marvin Harrison) and even put a few new big uglies in
front of him and he still runs the NFLs top-rated passing offense
(326 ypg) and a very potent scoring machine (27.4 ppg 5th).

The same cannot be said for the new look Rams on offense. The Rams
struggle to move the ball (281.3 ypg 27th) and consequently they
are the NFLs worst scoring offense at just 9 points per game. They
did score a season-high 20 points last week against the Jags, so as
mentioned, they seem to be making adjustments but it may take a few
more weeks before it translates into a victory.

The big problem for the Rams is that their defense isnt much better
than their offense. As a unit the Rams are 30th in yards allowed
(384.5), which translates into another 30th ranking in points allowed
at 28.2 per game. Although it doesnt help that the play an extra 15
to 20 snaps a game because their offense is three-and-out a large
majority of the time.

The Colts defense is still a little susceptible to the running game (103.2 ypg 14th), but they have made major strides in that area and
it has translated directly to their success because they boast the
leagues 7th-ranked defense (295.6 ypg) and the 2nd-ranked scoring
defense at just 14.2 points allowed per game. Now, keep in mind that
the Arizona Cardinals are the best offense theyve faced all season
(others including Tennessee, Seattle, Miami and Jacksonville), but
its still somewhat impressive.

Plus, the Colts might get their defensive leader back this week as
word out of Indy has it that All-Pro safety Bob Sanders has practiced
all week and could suit up as see his first action of the season on
Sunday. Sanders has yet to play this season since having knee surgery
in the offseason.

The Colts will be without a significant piece of the puzzle on Sunday though, as kicker Adam Vinatieri had his knee fixed during the bye
week and will be out for 4-to-6 weeks. The Colts signed veteran Matt
Stover to fill in while hes gone, so there shouldnt be too much
drop off in production.

The last time these two teams met in the regular season was back in
2005, and the numbers from that game are eerily similar to this
weekends game. The Colts won the game 45-28, but they were
ironically 13.5-point favorites. The Colts needed a big rally in the
game too, as the Rams jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter
before Manning led the Colts to the big comeback.

As a whole though its the Rams that hold the edge in the head-to-
head series (dating back to 1986), with a 3-2 SU record and a 3-1-1
ATS record as well. Three of the five games ended over the total too.

Badgers Pick: Im usually never one to wager on NFL games with huge double-digit point spreads, but the factors going into this game
certainly make it look like this one could be an exception. But my
rule is a rule, and changing my style would only make me second-guess
myself later. So Im on the over in this game, hoping Peyton and the
Colts go over the number on their own. Take the over of 45.