New Orleans Saints vs. St. Louis Rams Preview and Pick – Point Spread

New Orleans Saints (8-0 SU, 6-2 ATS) vs. St. Louis Rams (1-7 SU, 3-5
ATS), 1:00 p.m. EST, Week 10 NFL, Sunday, November 15, 2009, Edward Jones Dome,
St. Louis, Mo., TV: FOX

by Badger of

Point Spread: Saints -13.5/Rams +13.5
Over/Under: 50

Two teams on opposite ends of the spectrum in the NFC will meet in
the Edward Jones Dome on Sunday when the perfect New Orleans Saints
face off against the one-win St. Louis Rams on the Fox Network.

The Saints remained undefeated on the season with a 30-20 victory
over their NFC South rival Carolina Panthers last weekend. New
Orleans fell behind quickly and actually trailed the Panthers 17-6 at
halftime last Sunday, but the leagues most potent offense kicked it
back into gear outscoring Carolina 24-3 in the second half to pull
away for a deceiving 10-point victory at home in the Superdome.

The Rams will come into the game well rested and in good spirits too,
since they spent their bye week last Sunday savoring their first and
only victory of the season two weeks ago with a 17-10 win over the
Detroit Lions. The Rams used a touchdown pass from kicker Josh Brown
and a 149-yard effort from running back Steven Jackson to drop the
Lions on the road, and theyll be looking to parlay that momentum in
order to shock the world and knock the Saints from their perch atop
the NFC on Sunday.

As you would expect, the oddsmaker in Las Vegas have installed the Saints as a giant chalk in this matchup with the point spread opening
with New Orleans as 14-point favorites. The ridiculous number has
come down to 13.5 at a few offshore sportsbooks, but the two-
touchdown line has not swayed enough of the betting public to side
with the Rams so the number remains at minus -14 at a majority of the
books, with one book at -15 and one book at -13 (Planet Hollywood).

The over/under total opened at 50 and has held firm at the number through early action at the window.

Offensively this game is as lopsided as it can get.

The Saints are the leagues most prolific offense, leading the NFL in scoring with a 37.9 points per game average. The Rams the leagues worst at just 9.6 points per game.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees has thrown for 17 touchdowns already
and will probably eclipse the 2,500-yard mark in the game on Sunday.
The Rams duo at quarterback havent even crossed the 1,000-yard mark
yet, and as funny as it sounds, the Rams kicker Josh Brown has one
less touchdown throw than Kyle Boller (two) and two less than starter
Marc Bulger (three). Ouch.

About the only phase of offense where the Rams can compete is with Jackson in the running game, but even there the Saints trio of
running backs average 145.9 yards per game (5th) compared to Jackson
and the Rams 116.1 yards per game (14th). Plus, the Rams are usually
behind by multiple scores so the running game is a mute point.

Defensively its lopsided as well, but not nearly as drastic as it is
on offense.

The Saints are in the middle of the pack statistically, but they
feature an opportunistic ball-hawking unit that scores almost as many
points per game as the Rams offense. They returned another fumble for
a score last week against the Panthers, their seventh touchdown
scored on defense this season.

The only problem is that the unit is banged up physically, with
safety Darren Sharper and corner Jabari Greer listed as questionable
on the injury report. The run defense also gave up 182 yards on the
ground last week against Carolina, but the Panthers run game is way
better than the Rams so it might not mean much.

The Rams defense was expected to get an overhaul with new coach Steve
Spagnuolo at the helm, but even he isnt a miracle worker. The Rams
are 27th overall (373.4 ypg) and have been giving up way too many big
plays (27.6 ppg 29th) for Spags to turn the defense loose and blitz
like he used to do every play with the Giants.

Going back to the days of the Greatest Show on Turf, the Rams own a
big advantage over the Saints in the head-to-head matchup, winning
three of the last four straight up as well as against the spread. The
last time they met, in 2007, the Rams put a 37-28 victory in the
books at the Superdome. The only Saints victory over that four game
span was a 28-25 overtime triumph in St. Louis back in 2004.

Played out over the last 10 meetings the Rams own a 6-4 SU record and
a 6-4 ATS record. The over has a solid 7-3 record in that span,
including a 5-1 record in the last six games dating back to 2000. The
over is also 6-1 in the last seven games played in St. Louis.

Badgers Pick: The Rams have had two weeks to prepare, but that
matters little. I never like eating chalk, but I honestly dont see
how the Rams can keep this game close. Even at 14 points. I also like
the under again this week because I dont think the Rams will score
much and 50 is a big number. A score like 42-7, or 38-10 still falls
under the total. Take the Saints minus the 13.5-points if you like,
but Im playing it safe with a small play on the under of 50.