Detroit Lions (-3, 41 o/u) at St. Louis Rams
Somehow, the St. Louis Rams (4-8, 3-3 home) opened as 2.5-point favorites over the Detroit Lions (4-8, 1-4 away) this week, but bettors quickly jumped on that line. Now the Lions sit as field-goal favorites, which makes sense because the Edward Jones Dome is anything but a home-field advantage. In fact, if you crave mediocre football, you can probably get some cheap seats for this Sunday’s tilt (1:00 PM Eastern).
A month ago, the Rams were in playoff conversations and headed into a big game against the Vikings. Following a tough 21-18 OT loss, St. Louis never recovered and has now lost five straight. They have all the look of a team that has quit on the season and quit on their coach.
The offense has gotten progressively more disgusting each week, scoring 13, 13, seven, and three points in their last four, while also amassing ten turnovers and averaging just under 264 yards of total offense. But despite how ugly things are getting in St. Louis, Jeff Fischer seems committed to juggling Case Keenum and Nick Foles under center. This weekend, he’ll turn back to Keenum, who hopefully didn’t have all the sense knocked out of him against Baltimore.
Even if Keenum is back at full health, he’s a career 54-percent passer who has only won two starts; it seems clear that he’s not a part of the Rams future. Why they haven’t given rookie Sean Mannion a shot yet is perhaps a glimpse into why this team hasn’t made the playoffs in over a decade.
Even when they started the season 1-7, the Lions didn’t give up on their own playoff dreams. A bunch of front office firings spurred the team on a three-game win streak. But after the Packers squeaked out a win last Thursday on a Hail Mary, Detroit has very little hope at the moment.
Still, the Lions are playing good football heading into this one. They’ve cut down on mistakes, committing just two turnovers in their last four games. They’ve also held the last four opponents to under 100 yards rushing.
Once upon the time, the Rams could lay claim to a decent running game thanks to rookie Todd Gurley. But even he has seen his production hit a wall. With no threat in the passing game, the first-year back has been limited to 3.1 yards a carry in his last four games.
While some teams show flashes that they can get up off the mat when they get knocked down, the Rams have not been one of those teams. They’re 0-4-1 against the spread in their last five: the Rams just want this season over with so they can move back to L.A.
This is an easy play; the Lions have covered three of their last four and want to put the haunting memories of the Hail Mary behind them. Look for them to win big on the road.
Pick: Lions (-3).
(Photo Credit: A Healthier Michigan (Originally posted to Flickr)[https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/])