Stephen Jackson Carries The Load For St. Louis
With the exception of their records, the Redskins and the Rams aren't very different statistically so far this season. I'm referring to major stats like yards surrendered by their defenses, total yards gained, number of penalties committed, turnover ratio, etc. Regardless of the statistics, no one I've found among the national media thinks the Rams will win today's contest. That's probably in part because Washington has played Dallas and Houston, while St. Louis has played Arizona and Oakland. (I guess some writers still think the Cowboys are more prolific like the Texans than they are anemic like the Raiders and the Cards.)
All nine of USAToday.com's football feature writers predicted the Redskins will win. All three of their colleagues at Yahoo Sports agreed. The CNNSI.com writers have assigned Washington a power ranking of 18 (down from 15 last week), while they've ranked St. Louis 29th (up from 30th). Sports Illustrated's Peter King picked the 'Skins to win by 3, which is tantamount to saying they'd win by 6 if the game was being played at FedEx Field.
As for the fans, 92% of Yahoo Sports' readers who responded picked Washington to win. 65% of St. Louis Today.com's 2115 respondents agreed. The vast majority of that 65% predicted the Redskins will win by 7 or more points.
Interestingly enough, the Vegas odds-makers have set the spread at 3 points, pretty much as Peter King did. On average, they've set the over/under at 39 points. I'm not telling you this so you'll gamble. What I am telling you is that the pros are more confident than the Rams' fans that St. Louis will make a good game of it. if I was a betting man, I'd place a modest bet on the Redskins and take the points. I'd seriously consider placing another modest bet on the over/under. Neither offense is likely to kill more than 33% of its drives with penalties and turnovers, which means they both should score enough for the combined score to easily top 39 points.
Who will win? I'll go with the flow. As for the margin of victory - if Washington jumps out to an early lead of more than 10 points, the Rams' home crowd will quiet down and concentrate on the over-priced food and the cheerleaders, especially Holly and Kelsey. Who can blame 'em? Washington 33, St. Louis 23.