St. Louis Rams vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Preview and Pick – Point Spread

St. Louis Rams (0-5)(1-4 ATS) v. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-3)(3-2 ATS)
Sunday, Oct. 18, 1pm ET, Jacksonville Stadium, FOX

by Evergreen of

Point Spread: St. Louis +9.5/Jacksonville -9.5
Over/Under Total: 42.5

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Be it tackle, flag, or fantasy, football is usually very fun, but Sunday brings a match between two teams that aren’t having much fun early in the season. The Jacksonville Jaguars host the St. Louis Rams in a Week 6 tilt between two very underperforming squads. The Jaguars had been considered a playoff team entering the 2009 season, but have looked anything but, especially after the egg they laid in Seattle last week and the Rams have likely wrestled the worst team in the NFL title away from the Lions. FOX has the game telecast, but Jacksonville has come very close to being blacked out a few times already. You’ll be forgiven if you decide not to tune in anyway.

Las Vegas opened with the Jags as 10 point favorites, and the online books have kept that pretty standard although you can find a stray 8.5 or 11 out there. The money line is pretty consistent across the board with the Rams at +400 and the Jaguars at -500 with the over/under total at 42 or 43.

St. Louis looked to be onto something in winning three of the last four games in 2008, but have come out with a thud in 2009. A win escaped them against Washington, and they haven’t looked good in the last two weeks, losing 35-0 to the 49ers and 38-10 to the Vikings. It’s hard to believe that the Rams will go 0 for 16, but they’ll likely be an underdog in every game from here on out. St. Louis isn’t faring much better against the spread either, going 1-4 to start the year and are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 road games.

Jacksonville started out 0-2 against tough opponents in Indy and Arizona and managed to even their record in the following weeks against Houston and Tennessee, but a 41-0 beatdown at the hands on the Seahawks last week have the Jags searching. This week is a must win to stay relevant in the AFC South where the Colts are off to a 5-0 start and have the early tiebreak. Jack Del Rio has to be fuming at the general spotty play by all phases of his team and betters should note that the Jags are a mere 1-9 against the spread in the last 10 as the favorite. They are even worse as the home fav, going 0 for the last 6 in Jacksonville when they are giving points.

The Rams offense has been offensive, pun intended. The greatest show on turf is a mere memory as St. Louis ranks outside the top-25 in pass yards, total yards and are dead last in points scoredwitha paltry 6.8 points per game average. The run game is above average with Steven Jackson still an all-pro caliber back, and remains the Rams best chance to steal a W by controlling the clock. The defense has been nearly as bad, giving up a second worst 29.2 points per game and ranks no better than 23rd in yards allowed categories.

Jacksonville hasn’t lit the world on fire with their offensive unit either, averaging 19.4 points per game and ranking only 20th in total yards. The Jaguars strength is in the run as well, rushing for 113 yards on average and using a variety of screens as checkdowns as the main passing options. The Jags defense has dropped the ball so far, giving up nearly 400 yards per game and yielding 25.4 points on average, often digging too deep a hole for the offense to overcome.


Marc Bulger will be back under center after missing parts of two games with a shoulder injury. In four games, Bulger has thrown for 427 yards with 2 scores, compiling an 81.4 rating and remains the best option at QB as Kyle Boller looked pretty rough in relief. Bulger entered the game late last week and led the only touchdown drive of the game, going seven for seven. Steven Jackson leads the team with 427 rushing yards and is active in the pass game with 92 receiving yards, but hasn’t found the endzone yet this year. Donnie Avery leads the receivers with 18 grabs and 196 yards and the tight ends have been utilized by both QB’s with Laurent Robinson out for the year.

Jacksonville is a bit of a one man show with Maurice Jones-Drew doing a bit of everything for the Jags offense. Jones-Drew leads with 330 rushing yards, finding the endzone five times and adding 192 yards as a receiver. David Garrard is a fine game manager, throwing for 1,129 yards with five touchdowns and is among the better scrambling quarterbacks in the game, accounting for 122 rush yards in five games. Torry Holt hasn’t provided a big play threat, but does lead the team with22 catches and 306 but hasn’t hit paydirt yet. Mike Sims-Walker and Marcedes Lewis aresolid second and third options for Garrard and have combined for all fiveof his TD throws.

Notables on the St. Louis injury report includeKyle Boller as the backup quarterback is questionable with a concussion. Jacksonville will be thin on defense with S Sean Considine, CB Scott Starks, LB Adam Seward, and DT Greg Peterson all questionable for Sunday.

Evergreen’s Pick: Given that a Jacksonville loss would all but end their season, a solid Jaguar effort is expected, but neitherteam is really likely tolight up the score board so take the under. Theclock should be running all day long with as much as these teams like the ground game, another good reason to take the under. I like the Jags by a 24-13 margin.