St. Louis Rams (4-6 SU, 4-5-1 ATS) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (8-2 SU, 8-1-1 ATS)
NFL Week 12
Date/Time: Sunday, November 29, 2015, 1:00 pm EST
Where: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio
TV: FOX, DirecTV 706
by Badger, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: STL +8/CIN -8
Over/Under Total: 42
The St. Louis Rams have reached the critical point of the season if they have any chance at all of keeping their dwindling NFC playoff hopes alive, which is why this Sundays trip to Paul Brown Stadium for a game against the AFC North-leading Cincinnati Bengals is going to be a tough one worth watching on Fox.
One of these teams will snap a losing streak on Sunday too.
The Rams are stuck in a three-game rut, but the season overall has been such a struggle that the Rams demoted the QB they traded for in the offseason Nick Foles in favor of journeyman veteran Case Keenum last week. Keenum played okay in what turned into a disappointing, 16-13, loss at Baltimore, but a crucial fumble in the final minute of the game by Keenum that may or may not have happened because of an apparent concussion the previous series before, could make the Rams have to go back to the demoted Foles this week in Cincinnati.
After nine weeks of not losing at all, now the Bengals find themselves losers of two straight to drop to 8-2 on the year. The Bengals have no shame in losing, 34-31, to Arizona last Sunday when former Bengal Carson Palmer rallied his new team into field goal position in the closing seconds. The Bengals still have a two game lead in the AFC North, but they will have to find a way to get off the schnid in order to keep pace with New England and Denver in the race for an AFC playoff bye and homefield.
Oddsmakers opened this game with Cincinnati as 9-point favorites at home, and even though the QB situation in St. Louis is unsettled the number has actually gone down to Bengals minus -8 after the early steam in the first 24 hours. The over/under total opened at 42 and has yet to move in either direction yet early in the week.s
About the only thing working and performing for the Rams offense right now is rookie running back Todd Gurley. Gurley has been everything the Rams have asked for when they drafted him in the first round as Gurley has helped them rush for 126 yards a game (7th in NFL). Gurley had two critical fumbles in last weeks loss in Baltimore, so theres an opportunity for the Bengals defense to stack the box and attempt to make either Foles or Keenum to beat them throwing the football. One downside is that the Bengals defense will be without starting corner Darqueze Dennard who hurt his shoulder in the Arizona loss and will have season-ending surgery this week.
Andy Dalton and the Bengals defense has been one of the NFLs best passing for 263 yards a game (9th), rushing for 114 yards per game (12th) and scoring almost 27 points per game (5th). The Rams defense is also one of the best in the NFC and NFL, especially against the pass allowing just 229 yards per game (9th) with corners Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson locking down opposing wideouts on a regular basis.
The Bengals won on the field the last time these two met in 2011, 20-13. The Rams quarterback at the time was Kellen Clemens, so too much weight based on history and betting trends for this one would be a mistake. But for what its worth, both of these teams play out of their own conference pretty well, with St. Louis going 7-3 ATS in games against the AFC, while the Bengals are 6-2 ATS versus the NFC.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The Bengals defense is hurting in the secondary right now, but with the Rams QB issues this week with Keenum in the concussion protocol and Foles who knows where after being demoted Im not sure the Rams can take advantage of the Bengals injuries. Ill take the Bengals to snap their losing streak and barely cover the spread in the process. Im taking Cincinnati minus the points.
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