The number one team in the NFC Conference, the Arizona Cardinals (10-3, 3-3 away) will have a difficult outing on Thursday Night Football as they visit the St. Louis Rams, at the Edward Jones Dome (6-7, 3-3 home) at 8:25 PM ET.
The NFL betting odds listed the Rams as 3.5 points over the Cards and the game total is at 40 points. The line shouldn’t be surprising since Arizona has a scored a pesky four offensive touchdowns in four games since a 31-14 win over St. Louis on Nov. 9, when QB Carson Palmer season ended due to a torn ACL while being sacked by safety Mark Barron in the fourth quarter. The Cardinals were hardly considered an offensive juggernaut with Palmer under center, though they recorded at least 24 points five times while going 6-0 in games he started.
Analyzing My NFL Week 15 Betting Pick – Arizona Cardinals at St. Louis Rams
Matchup: Arizona Cardinals at St. Louis Rams
Date: Dec. 11, 2014
Start Time: 8:25 p.m. ET
Location: Saint Louis, Missouri
Stadium: Edward Jones Dome
TV Info: NFL Network
Radio: Arizona Vs St. Louis
Point Spread: Rams -3.5
Game Total: 40
Arizona snapped a two game losing streak by beating the Kansas City Chiefs at home 17-14, with their defense stepping up in the right moment, forcing the visiting team two turnovers. Talk to the KC Chiefs and they will say the Refs caused them the game, but that’s a story for another time.
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) December 9, 2014
The Cardinals offense recorded 366 yards in the game and was 6 of 15 in third down, and they now rank 14th in passing and third worse in running. QB Drew Stanton has thrown 1602 yards, 7 TDs & INTs in the season, and it hasn’t helped him the fact that WR Larry Fitzgerald has missed two of the last three games with a knee injury and only caught four passes for 34 yards against the Chiefs. With RB Andre Ellington out for the rest of the year, the RB Kerwynn Williams stepped up for fill the void with 100 yards on 19 carries against Kansas City.
Clearly the Cardinals offense is not why Arizona is tops in the NFC, but what is? Well, their defense is 27th defending the pass and 6th stopping the run, neither is anything special. But take a closer to look to the numbers, the Cards are forcing turnovers and with a +10 in the differential this team knows how to make teams pay for mistakes.
The St. Louis Rams are 6-7 in the season but has won three of their last four games, and has shutdown rivals in their last two outings with a 52-0 win over the St. Louis Rams and 24-0 over Washington. St. Louis allows 21.9 points per game, but over the last month they have allowed only 7.7 points per game; the Denver Broncos failed to score more than a touchdown against them and San Diego needed a last minute stop to beat them at home in week 12.
— St. Louis Rams (@STLouisRams) December 8, 2014
The Rams defense has 35 sacks on the season, tied for 7th best. 17 of those 35 sacks have come over the last four games, so this D is beginning to gel and turn it on. Their offense has also improved over the last few weeks since they made the change from QB Austin Davis to veteran Shaun Hill.
The Rams are scoring an unimaginable 30.5 points per game over the 4 weeks. Hills has thrown 895 yards in the season, along with 6 TDs & 3 INTs and he has made WR Kenny Britt with 30 receptions, 542 yards & 3 TDs and TE Jared Cook with 41 receptions, 534 yards & 3 TDs, his two best weapons the passing game. The Rams ground game is averaging 4.2 yards per carry, as Tre Mason leads the way with 628 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
St. Louis is 3-7 ATS in its last ten games when hosting Arizona.
The head to head record between coach Bruce Arians and coach Jeff Fisher when playing against each other inside this division is 2-1 for Arians, but the the Rams are firing on all cylinders while the Cards are beginning to sputter.