St Louis Rams (4-3 SU, 4-3 ATS) vs. Minnesota Vikings (5-2 SU, 6-1 ATS)
NFL Week 9
Date/Time: Sunday, November 8, 1:00pm
Where: TCF Bank Stadium – Minneapolis, MN
by Bob, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: STL +2.5 / MIN -2.5
Over/Under Total: 39.5
This Sunday we have a match up of two teams that are rather surprising and are both right in the middle of a potential playoff race. This Sunday at 1:00pm, the St Louis Rams will travel into TCF Bank Stadium to take on the Minnesota Vikings. The Rams are in second place in the NFC West while the Vikings are just a game behind the Green Bay Packers for the NFC North division lead. I did not think either of these teams would make much of an impact this season but I was wrong. Not only is this game important for each of these teams to stay in their own division race, but this head to head match up could make a difference for the fate of either teams wild card chances.
The line opens with Minnesota as a 2.5 point home favorite over the Rams. The over under has been set at a low 39.5 total points. So far in 2015, both teams have managed to do well against the spread. Minnesota has covered all but one of their games, while the St Louis Rams are 4-3 against the spread. I like this match up and firmly believe this is a game that will be in question at the final two minute warning. This is anyones game.
The St Louis Rams traded Sam Bradford away to the Eagles and in exchange got Nick Foles. So far I would like to say that it appears that Rams got the better end of that deal, but it is still early. Not only did the Rams add Nick Foles, a quarterback that can help his receivers get big numbers, but they also drafted rookie running back, Todd Gurley, out of the University of Georgia. Boy oh boy has Gurley been a beast. I am a die hard Georgia fan so I know all about Gurley, but even I am shocked at the impact he has made so early, especially coming off of ACL surgery just last November. Gurley, who did not even suit up the first two games of the season is now leading the NFL in rushing and has set a rookie record for most games over 125 yards in their first set of starts. Gurley now sits at four games, and another great weekend in the Minnesota could make it five. The Rams signature win of 2015 was when they went into Arizona and upset the Cardinals 24-22. That game was Gurley’s coming out party and it was evident that the Rams finally had someone to help their offense not be one dimensional. However, with the emergence of a solid run game, the Rams are one dimensional, but on the ground and not the air. St Louis is ranked 3rd in the NFL in rushing but are the worst passing team in the NFL averaging not even 180 yards a game in the air. Not only is the passing game lacking, but their offense is only scoring 19 a game. So after all that, you start to wonder, how do these guys have a winning record? Well, a solid run game and one hell of a defense. The Rams scoring defense is allowing just 17.9 points per game which is what has kept them alive in many games this season. This weekend, it is the same recipe. Play good defense and run run run the ball. If St Louis can force a few turnovers and keep their drives alive, I like their chances to make things interesting on the road.
Coming into 2015, many people liked the Vikings chances to win the NFC North. Now I was not that high on them, not even close. I figured a pretty average 8-8 ot 7-9 is how they would finish, and that still very well could be the case, but right now the Vikings are 5-2 and find themselves within striking distance of division leading Green Bay. When I say that Minnesota and St Louis are very similar teams, just wait til you compare the numbers. Like earlier stated, the Rams are 32nd in the NFL in passing, well the Vikings are 30th. The Rams are 3rd in the NFL in rushing, the Vikings are 5th in the league. The Rams are scoring 19 a game, the Vikings get 21. And last but not least, the Rams scoring defense is allowing 17.9 per game, the Vikings are giving up 17.4. it is like these teams are playing themselves in this showdown and I think this could be a good one. Just like the Rams will let Todd Gurley carry the load, the Vikings will go to their superstar, Adrian Peterson. Peterson already has 633 yards rushing on the season and he takes much of the pressure off Teddy Bridgewater. This game for the Vikings is just like the Rams. Try and take away the run from the other team, and make the QB make mistakes. This game is an absolute toss up and one play could dictate the entire outcome.
Plain and simple, this game is a dead even heat. I do not think either team has much of an advantage over the other. Yes, Minnesota is at home, but the Rams have already won at Arizona which is a much better team at home in my opinion. I have no idea who wins this game, but since I am getting spotted points with the Rams, I will take them.
Bob’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: TAKE THE ST LOUIS RAMS +2.5
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