Cincinnati Bengals Claw through St Louis Rams
Written by Greg Smith – 2011-12 NFL Prediction Record (14-7)
This weekend features a premier NFL betting matchup as the Cincinnati Bengals travel to St Louis to take on the struggling Rams. The Bengals are looking to keep their slim playoff hopes alive and the Rams are trying to look ahead for something positive to salvage from their dismal season. As we go through key elements from both teams it will become clear which side has the most likely potential to enrich NFL bettors this Sunday.
Looking at this matchup NFL bettors will quickly see the St Louis Rams as a team that has to be itching to get the season finished. Their record currently stands at 2-11 (1-5 at home) and are 2-11 ATS. They sit at the bottom of the NFC West division-behind the mediocre Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals. Over their last five games the Rams have largely faced the weaker teams of the NFL and have only one win to show for these games. Indeed, as their recent game against the Seahawks illustrate the Rams are truly languishing at the bottom of the NFL barrel. Statistically, the Rams offence ranks 30th in total yards gained per game, 28th in passing yards gained per game, 26th in rushing yards gained per game and 32nd in total points scored per game. Perhaps most troubling for the Rams is that their supposed franchise quarterback continues to be pushed into a starting role despite nursing obvious injuries. During the Rams last game versus Seattle QB Bradford looked extremely rusty from lack of practice and largely immobile. Equally troubling for St Louis appears to be the bizarre nature of their coaching staff’s play-calling and strategies. Even with Bradford’s obvious mobility issues, during the Seahawks game the coaching staff called for several QB bootleg plays rather than fully utilize power running back Steven Jackson. The Rams defensive statistics are almost as poor as their offensive numbers as they are currently ranked 25th in fewest total yards allowed per game, 8th in fewest passing yards allowed per game, 32nd in fewest rushing yards allowed per game and 25th in fewest total points allowed per game. The Rams also have quite a list of injuries going into this Sunday’s game versus the Bengals which has definitely contributed to their poor record this season. Ultimately, one cannot even be sure that it won’t be the Rams’ third string QB starting this game as Bradford and his backup AJ Feely are both nursing injuries. At any rate, even if Bradford starts at quarterback, his numbers this year are less than sterling as he has thrown for 6 TD’s and 6 INT’s with a 53.5 % passing completion rate.
The Cincinnati Bengals certainly appear on the surface to be a team that is going through a decline of their own as they have lost four of their last five games. The Bengals currently list a 7-6 record overall (4-3 as visitors) and are 7-5 ATS. The Bengals are also listed at 15th in the power rankings, down from 14th last week. However, the Bengals are still a strong team overall and have hopes of keeping their playoff hopes alive. A lot of the Bengals recent struggles can be attributed to the quality of their opposition as they have faced the Steelers twice, the Texans, the Ravens and the Browns (Bengals win). Most NFL bettors would agree that these games (with the exception of the Browns) represent arguably the most ferocious defences (if not teams) in the NFL. Even with this tough recent schedule the Bengals offence ranks 20th in total yards gained per game, 19th in passing yards gained per game, 19th in rushing yards gained per game and 18th in total yards gained per game. Defensively the Bengals rank 7th in total yards allowed per game, 11th in passing yards allowed per game, 7th in rushing yards allowed per game and 12th in total points allowed per game. Certainly these numbers are a decline for a Bengals team that once put itself among the crowd of elite teams in the NFL but they are still very respectable and show a team that continues to pride itself on stout defence. In addition, although QB Andy Dalton has had his struggles, when we consider his opposition his rookie numbers look all the more impressive. Dalton has currently thrown for 18TD’s and 12 INT’s for a 59% passing completion rate. Indeed, during the Bengals last game their defence forced 4 turnovers out of a Texans squad that had allowed only 11 turnovers all year. Put simply, if we conclude that the Bengals have the skill and desire to play at a level similar to their Texans game they should be able to reasonably cover against the St Louis Rams.
Prediction: Take the Cincinnati Bengals -6.5 against the St Louis Rams (5Dimes.com)