After a profitable Week 14, we’re back at it with just three weeks of regular season football remaining. Week 15 kicks off with an intriguing match-up between the suddenly hot St. Louis Rams and a playoff-ready Arizona Cardinals squad. The Cards have had their eyes set on the playoffs since the first few weeks of the year, but a rash of injuries and a tough schedule down the stretch may put that in doubt. The NFC is particularly difficult this year and with the Seahawks hot on their heels, it remains to be seen how Arizona will play down the stretch. To find out more, read the game preview and our official selection listed below.
Cardinals vs. Rams Betting Odds:
Arizona Cardinals +4 (-110)
@ St. Louis Rams -4 (-110)
Over 40 (-115)
Under 40 (-105)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
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Cardinals vs. Rams Pick:
The Arizona Cardinals could be a really good team, but some key injuries on offense and defense are going to impact this team negatively down the stretch. Though they escaped last week vs. the Chiefs, their favourable spot in the playoff picture and current record remains unstable and unsustainable. Tonight they’re running into a very hot St. Louis Rams team and even though they’ve got no chance at the post-season, the Rams play hard at home and will give the Cardinals all they can handle.
Right now Arizona simply can’t move the football on a consisten basis. Losing Carson Palmer has hurt this offense and Drew Stanton hasn’t shown evidence that he can adequately replace him. He has completed just 54% of his passes and some his decision-making has been very questionable. Andre Ellington has been shutdown, and as a result their running game remains a big question mark. They’re scuffling right now on offense,. and against an underrated Rams defense on a Thursday night, they’re likely not going to have much success putting points on the board. St. Louis absolutely has stuffed the run game of late, allowing their past two opponents to muster a combined 74 yards on the ground. Even through the air St. Louis will put great pressure on Drew Stanton. The Rams boast a ferocious pass rush and Stanton will be completely overwhelmed and forced into making a ton of mistakes.
On the other side of the ball, the Rams have suddenly gotten quite hot. They’re more consistent on offense with Shaun Hill under centre opposed to Austin Davis, and the results have started to come as a result. Davis was talented but made some pretty bad errors that have cost the Rams a winning record right now. It’s not far-fetched to suggest that had Hill started from the outset, St. Louis would be in a far better position. Right now the Cardinals are just too banged up on defense, particularly in their secondary to stop the Rams’ wide receiver depth. Having lost Tyrann Mathieu and Antonio Cromartie recently, the Cards are badly depleted when it comes to defending the pass right now. They enter tonight as a vulnerable group and Shaun Hill should be able to take advantage of this. Even against the rush, the Cards haven’t fared particularly well. With all of their injuries, they’ve conceded 4.69 yards per carry to their past four opponents. Tre Mason is in for a big game and look for the Rams to control the tempo and game flow tonight.
Despite current records, the Rams are the better and healthier team entering tonight’s game. The Cards aren’t a very solid road team, and the current spread of 4 points in my mind should be higher. You have to feel a bit for the Cardinals’ current personnel as it’s just not enough to compete on a consistent basis. This is a tough spot for Arizona, and look for the Rams to continue their impressive form and roll to a victory tonight.
PICK = Rams -4 (-110)