Free NFL Pick: St. Louis at Denver 11-28-2010

November 27, 2010


St. Louis Rams at Denver Broncos

Sunday November 28th, 2010 4:15 PM EST

Line: Denver -4


The 4-6 Rams have dropped two straight, but remain one game out of first place in the weak NFC West. The Rams have made drastic improvements on both sides of the ball this season and if they could manage o win a couple of games this season on the road, they could be playoff bound. They will be taking on the Denver Broncos, who are 3-7, losing five of their last six games.

Keys to the Game:

  • The Broncos need to switch it up. It’s no secret that they can throw the ball. Kyle Orton has already thrown for over 3,000 yards and Brandon Lloyd is responsible for 1,040 of them. The numbers simply don’t affect the outcome of the game. Lloyd has posted 169 yards twice this season in losing efforts. He has also put up 53 yards in a victory. The Broncos have the 4th best passing offense in the NFL, but their rushing attack is ranked dead last, which makes their aerial assault much less impressive.
  • Sam Bradford is encountering a lot of veterans in the Broncos secondary. His receivers are outmatched and he will need to proceed with caution. Though Bradford is having a great rookie year, the Rams can’t afford any mistakes on the road, as they have struggled mightily away from home. Bradford has eight touchdowns Vs. one pick in his last five games. He needs to continue playing safe, effective football and minimize blown opportunities, as he has done.
  • It is unclear why the Broncos didn’t give Knowshon Moreno more carries. Moreno was limited to 13 carries last week, despite producing when he got in the game. If the Broncos want to win football games, they have to get it going on the ground. The Rams are decent against the run, but bombing the ball down the field and hoping to win in a shootout every week is not nearly as effective as having a dominant running game. Moreno is a first round pick and needs to be utilized as such.
  • Rams defensive end James Hall has 7.5 sacks and four forced fumbles this season. Hall and Chris Long combine to anchor the Rams defensive line. They both specialize at rushing the passer and will be able to pin their ears back and go throughout most of the game, as Denver is likely to stick to their air it out philosophy.

Key Matchup:

Steven Jackson Vs. The Denver runs defense

  • Steven Jackson is the definition of a workhorse back. He needs to carry a heavy load again this week. Having a rookie quarterback on the road puts the Rams at a disadvantage, even when that quarterback is Sam Bradford. Jackson will need to have a big day in order to come away with his first road win of the year. If the Rams want to gain any ground on the Seahawks, they need to win on the road.
  • Denver allows 143.5 yards a game on the ground. They should expect the Rams to run the ball and lull them to sleep. The Broncos are soft and if the Rams decide to break their will by pounding the football early, the Broncos defense could be in for a long day.

Wrap Up:

The Rams are much better than their road record indicates. Josh McDaniels and the Broncos have cemented themselves solidly in a game plan that doesn’t work. While the Rams have looked terrible away from home on most occasions, I think they will build on their last road performance and take out the Broncos, winning outright.

Free NFL Pick: St. Louis +4

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