While most of the sporting world was consumed with the Seattle Seahawks' gift-wrapped victory this week, the St Louis Rams have been quietly preparing to put their own name in the headlines. Let's take a closer look at why the home dogs are primed to pull off the upset.
This is perhaps one of the most intriguing matchups on the board this week. The books had the Seahawks as slight one-point favorites before the season, which is a credit to both teams for living up to early-season expectations.
The look-ahead line favored Seattle by -2.5, and the current line is in the same range depending on the book and the juice. If you shop around, you can grab a +3 out there, but a lot of books are keeping it out of the teaser window for the time being (odds from SBRforum).
Seahawks Aren't Very Good Coming off a Loss
Sorry, I couldn't help myself. Joking aside, it's no secret that the Seahawks are a different team on the road than they are at home. In fact, they are among the most divergent teams when you compare them home and away.
Conversely, while the stats might not show it, the Rams are also a better team at home than they are on the road. This dichotomy should work in our favor this week, especially when you consider the chaos that ensued on Monday night. I can't see how the Seahawks bring the same intensity on the road against a team like the Rams.
NFC West: best defenses in the NFL?
During MNF, I saw Adam Caplan talk about the NFC West potentially having three of the top five defenses in the NFL. While that may be true, I can't possibly ignore how much the Rams defense has improved as well.
In fact, I really like this matchup against the Seattle offense. Something that has been kind of lost the past three weeks is the relative ineffectiveness of Russell Wilson. Don't get me wrong, I think the kid has skills and I really like how he carries himself for a rookie, but the kind of impact that people have expected just hasn't been there.
If Marshawn Lynch isn't busting through the line on a consistent basis, this offense doesn't move the ball very well. The suspect weapons on the outside was one of my preseason concerns for this team, and they'll have a tough time against two very good corners in Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins.
The one area that the Rams D does need to improve is in the red zone, but Seattle has been even more inept in that department.
One big news item that is flying under the radar this week is the possible (and probable) debut of prized rookie Michael Brockers. The first-round pick could add a huge boost to a D-line already loaded with talent.
The line only has four sacks to its name thus far, but sacks only tell part of the story. They had 10 pressures on Cutler last week thanks in large part to Quinn, Long and Langford. Adding Brockers to the mix could pay immediate dividends on Sunday.
The Sky is Falling for the Rams Offense?
I'm not sure why the Rams' offense is getting so much negative press. Is there anyone out there that expected them to have a great day against the Bears' defense on the road? Granted, they got thoroughly outplayed, but this offense is a work in progress and despite their strong play in the first couple of weeks, the O-line still has issues to sort out.
Given the injury situation up front, you can expect more of the short-passing game against a very good Seattle defense. Amendola has been just as good, if not better, than he was before his nasty injury last year and provides the perfect safety valve for Bradford. Fisher will also continue to feature a heavy run game with the one-two punch of Jackson/Richardson.
Without question, it's going to be a grind, but I really don't see a lot separating these two offenses right now. I would even say that the Rams could be better on that side of the ball with the growth of Bradford. Last week aside, he did have two 300-plus yard games in the first two weeks.
On a neutral field, I would have the Seahawks as the better team, but this spread is telling us that they are a full six points better. I disagree. I think there is some value on the underrated Rams against a team coming off an emotional home win (loss).
NFL Pick: STL +3