Free NFL Pick: Atlanta at St. Louis 11-21-2010

November 18, 2010

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Atlanta Falcons at St. Louis Rams

Sunday November 21st, 2010 4:05 PM EST

Line: Atlanta -3

Overview:

The Rams are lamenting a disappointing overtime loss against the 49ers last week. At 4-5, The Rams are still only one game out of first place in the NFC West. They face an uphill battle this week when they take on the Atlanta Falcons, who have the best record in the NFL at 7-3. Are the Rams really only three points worse than the Falcons?

Keys to the Game:

  • Sam Bradford’s future could not get any brighter. The favorite for rookie of the year has completely resurrected the Rams franchise. The Rams did a good job investing in an offensive line, but have failed to give Bradford options that will allow him to dominate. Bradford did everything in his power to come away with a victory last week, but fell just short. Bradford has not thrown an interception since week 5. Bradford is making the most out of his receivers, but his targets force limitations upon his game. St. Louis would do well to bring in some talent at that position in the off season.
  • Roddy White might make a case for MVP, when this season is all said and done. White is on pace to put up an astonishing 1660 yards receiving this season. He has caught over ten passes in three games this season, Pittsburgh and Baltimore are among those three teams. Teams know White is going to get the ball, yet there is nothing they can do to harness him. The Rams have done well to slow teams this season through the air, but Roddy White is absolutely uncoverable.
  • The Falcons are solid against the run, but Steven Jackson is a force coming out of the backfield. The weakness in Atlanta’s defense is in their secondary, but expect St. Louis to try to get something going on the ground first and foremost. Jackson is a complete workhorse running back. He has surprising speed and a bruising running style. Jackson is going to get his carries and the Falcons would do well to key on him every play, making the Rams less than impressive receivers beat them in one on one coverage.

Key Matchup:

John Abraham Vs. Rodger Saffold

  • John Abraham has dominated this year, racking up eight sacks already this season. He had two sacks against the Baltimore Ravens last week and will look to duplicate that performance by destroying the next left tackle he faces. That left tackle happens to be rookie Rodger Saffold. Saffold has done an excellent job at fitting into the starting lineup. This week, Saffold is going to have his hands full when dealing with Abraham. Bradford is going to have enough problems competing with the high powered offense of the Falcons. If he can’t manage to stay clean, there is no way he will be able to put up the kind of points necessary to match the Falcons. It is a tall task, but if Saffold fails, so will the Rams.

Wrap Up:

I like the direction the Rams are heading, but they aren’t there yet. The Rams play extremely well at home, but the Falcons play extremely well everywhere most of the time. The three points is not going to be enough to compensate for the show Roddy White is going to put on.

Free NFL Pick: Atlanta -3


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