St. Louis Rams (2-4 SU, 2-4 ATS) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (3-3 SU, 4-2 ATS)
NFL Week 8
Date and Time: Sunday, October 26, 2014 at 1:00PM EST
Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
by Scott, NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: STL +6/KC -6
Over/Under Total: 43.5
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On Sunday, the St. Louis Rams come into Arrowhead to face the Kansas City Chiefs. Both teams are coming off good wins on Sunday. The Rams scored an upset home win over the defending champion Seahawks, using some kooky special teams plays to notch the big win to go to 2-4. The Chiefs also had a good week, with a 23-20 win over the red-hot Chargers to even their record at 3-3.
The Chiefs have been a hard team to figure out this season. Theyve won 3 out of 4 and have clearly hit a groove, but its not quite so clear what you get from week-to-week with the Chiefs. They opened the season with a puzzling 16-point loss at home to the Titans, before losing a close one at Denver. They then smashed Miami on the road, before annihilating New England in a MNF beating at Arrowhead. They lost to the Niners, 22-17, on the road, before coming off the bye week with a big Sunday win over the 5-1 Chargers.
You could say the same thing about the Rams. It was hard to see the win over Seattle coming, especially with how flat they looked against the Niners the previous week at home. But this is a team that is going to sneak up on some people this season. Theyve only won twice, but in taking Dallas to OT and losing narrowly to the Eagles, they showed they cant be neglected.
Rams QB Austin Davis has filled in admirably for injured Sam Bradford, with over 1500 yards, 9 TD passes, and just 4 picks. he has thrown for 938 yards in the last 3 games and is making full use of a pass-catching crew that contains Brian Quick, TE Jared Cook, and surging Kenny Britt. Running backs Zac Stacy, Benjamin Cunningham, and Tre Mason have been productive and this offense has quickly forged an identity in the absence of Bradford. Its not a great group, but theyre making strides. Defensively, the Rams are allowing the second-most points on any D in the league with 29.3, largely attributable to their inability to stop the run.
Unfortunately for the Rams, the run is one area where the Chiefs offer a ton of upside. Against the one-loss home Chargers on Sunday, Jamaal Charles seemed to resume his normal ways with a 95-yard showing. With Knile Davis having staked his claim in Charles absence, KC now has an interesting 1-2 punch for QB Alex Smith to lean on. WR Dwayne Bowe sprang to life on Sunday and Travis Kelce is becoming one of the more productive tight ends in the conference. Throw in some X-factors like speedy rookie DeAnthony Thomas and this is an offense that can score some points.
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Defensively, the Chiefs really excel against the pass. This was in evidence on Sunday, as the Chiefs were the first team in a while to keep Philip Rivers in check. A lot of that can be chalked up to a vicious and unrelenting pass-rush that should make life hard on the young Rams QB on Sunday. While Davis has been putting up big numbers lately, he might find the going a little tougher on Sunday–both in a frothing road environment and against a Chiefs defense that is pretty difficult to deal with when they get rolling.
In some spots this season, Davis has looked a bit flummoxed and was reduced to a far-lesser force in the face of a robust pass-rush. Hes been getting some decent play out of his front line, a unit that seems to be getting better. But things can change in a hurry if Davis doesnt get the time he needs to make plays.
Full credit for the Rams getting the win on Sunday against the Seahawks, but dont look for them to continue to be bailed out by fake punts, big returns, and tricky special teams plays. Look for Kansas City to be prepared for any shenanigans after St. Louis showed their hand last week. In this game, the Rams may have to rely on more conventional means of scoring and that might not come so easy.
Kansas City is an easy team to overlook, something bettors cant afford to do. Arrowhead is still a very difficult place to play. There is not a lot of star-power on this offense, as even Jamaal Charles is generally a very underrated force. The Chiefs rely on things that do not typically get a lot of push in the national media–like a strong run-game, stressing low mistakes, a stingy secondary, and a menacing pass-rush. Combine that with some inconsistent results so far this season and there seems to be a general air of apathy as it pertains the the Chiefs. Overlooking KC could be a costly mistake.
By the same token, relegating the Rams to the scrap heap may also prove to be costly. Theyre a well-coached bunch that is playing with a certain pressure-free looseness that can often give way to some really good play. No game is unimportant to any team in the NFL. But one can almost sense a fork-in-the-road scenario here for the Chiefs. They started out 0-2 and everyone who forecasted a KC downturn this season felt vindicated in their beliefs. They have since soldiered back to the .500 mark and now have an opportunity to fully right the ship–an eventuality that requires them to beat a two-win Rams team at home. I see a tough game, but a moderately-conclusive win for the Chiefs.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Kansas City Chiefs minus 6 points.