There are three weeks left in the regular season and plenty of meaningful games. It starts tonight, but you’re probably more focused on this weekend’s slate. There are six games matching teams with .500 records or better and the late window on Sunday has two really good games. Just when you think you’re out of the water you get to enjoy the Eagles-Cowboys rivalry. It’s unfortunate we have to start off the week with a game no one’s excited to watch outside of two U.S. states, but it is what it is.
Thursday Night Pick:
ST LOUIS -4.5 over Arizona
Maybe this all seems too simple on paper. We’ll start with the Cardinals, who have scored an abysmal 13 points per game since Drew Stanton took over for Carson Palmer at QB. One of the touchdowns scored in that timeframe was a defensive touchdown, so the offensive output is even worse. Part of those numbers came against the suddenly rejuvenated Seattle defense, but Arizona only scored 18 at Atlanta. That’s the same Atlanta who just gave up 40 points to Green Bay and have allowed more passing yards per game than any team in the league. It certainly doesn’t help that Arizona lost their starting running back Andre Ellington to injury two weeks ago. Somehow they came through with 17 points against Kansas City, but even the Raiders tore up Kansas City recently, so let’s take that game with a grain of salt.
The Rams, on the other hand, just ripped off two impressive shutout wins. We can’t forget that both wins were against really bad teams, those same Raiders and then Washington. The defense, however, wasn’t just a product of playing those weak teams as Chris Long is back, Aaron Donald is killing it recently in his rookie campaign, and the group as a whole is averaging 4.25 sacks a game in their last eight. Those games included six against teams with winning records. The Rams won three of those games and have now won five of their last eight. They went head to head with the Cardinals in their last game before quarterback Austin Davis melted down in the fourth quarter.
To Arizona’s credit, they don’t take that many sacks. They’re tied for sixth-best in the league in sacks allowed and grade out as the 7th-best offensive line in pass protection according to Football Outsiders. The problem is you can’t get excited about a team led by Drew Stanton and whatever schmo they put at running back. Antonio Cromartie is also bange- up, so that won’t help the pass defense. Their run defense started off well, but has given up 100 yards in consecutive weeks including to Steven Jackson. (Vomit…)
I highly urge you to do something other than watch this game. It won’t be pretty. Go get drunk with your friends. I really like the under given both teams’ quarterbacks, defenses, and the short week to get prepared. And how do you not ride a head coach who just pulled the ultimate troll on the football team in Washington?
Kyle’s pick: The line is a-movin. I’ll fade Vegas and take the Cardinals.
Last Week: 8-8