As of last night, the New England Patriots have officially joined the St. Louis Rams in London, as the NFL prepares for their one and only international game of the season. After peaking above the .500 mark for the first time in 6 years earlier in the season, the Rams now sit with a 3-4 record, only a week away from their bye. Going into the bye with a win could be extremely beneficial for a team who is attempting to build a new identity in the league. So, who is being picked to take home the victory…
NFL.com’s Elliot Harrison has never really been on the St. Louis Rams wagon this season, more often than not jockeying for the opposing team on any given week. This week is no different, highlighting the “no-huddle” as the downfall for the Rams,
Most people seem to think this game will be low-scoring affair. It might be, but history suggests that there are no strong takeaways from the games in London, i.e., they can produce a lot of points … or barely any. Either way, St. Louis Rams corners struggled against Green Bay. Facing Tom Brady this weekend, the secondary as a whole could have muchos problemas. (Oops, wrong international game …) The New England Patriots’ no-huddle offense will also halt the Rams’ pass rush, one of the strengths of Jeff Fisher’s team. Interesting that even though Brandon Lloyd was on the Rams last year, he didn’t practice against the St. Louis corners; both Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins are newbies in Missouri this season. Random thought. #NEvsSTL. Patriots 33, Rams 21
CBS Los Angeles has the St. Louis Rams to win… well, at least win against the spread, which is currently +7.5. Most analysts have expressed doubt that the New England Patriots can blow out the Rams, or maybe it is doubt that the Patriots defense can stop any team from scoring,
St. Louis has a pretty good defense. But are they good enough to stop Tom Brady? Yeah, I think so. Well, maybe not stop him but keep him in check. And I’m getting seven points? I’m all over it. The Patriots have the best offense in the league, I’m not going to argue that. But the Pats have proven over the past few weeks that they can be scored on, and scored on a lot. New England has given up 20 points or more in their last 6 games. And they faced three tough defenses this year (Seattle, Arizona and Baltimore) and they lost all three games. Factor in the travel and jet lag, the unfamiliar surroundings and the ‘not ready for NFL players’ turf, I think the Rams should be able to keep this one close and cover the spread.
Vinnie Iyer at SportingNews.com has the London matchup as the “Trip of the Week,” which makes sense seeing as it is the only overseas game this season. He seems to think that the Brady to Gronk connection will be all the Patriots need for the win
Move over, Prince Harry. Rob Gronkowski is bringing the party to London town. The Patriots’ tight end should be a hit in Britain, and now that he’s fully healthy again, he’ll go full tilt inside against a good Rams defense that’s stronger at covering receivers outside. Jeff Fisher will roll out everything he can to try to beat Bill Belichick, but Tom Brady will help Gronk put on a jolly good show as New England rolls in Old England. Prediction: Patriots 28, Rams 14.
The boys over at WalterFootball are usually pretty dead-on when it comes anything NFL related, but completely missed the mark on their analysis this week. They attribute St. Louis success on the ground last week to the lack of a Green Bay rushing defense, but failed to mention to similarly dominating performance over the top ranked Miami rush defense the week before.
The Rams will find it challenging to move the ball if they can’t run it successfully. They’ll have some quality drives, but they’ll undoubtedly stall in the red zone, as they’ve done all year. Taking field goals against the Patriots will not get it done. I’m taking the Patriots for a unit. The media’s overreaction to the near-loss against the Jets has brought this number down from -8.5 to -7, so we’re getting good value. I haven’t done well picking these England games though, so I’m limiting my wager. Patriots 26, Rams 16
There was equal stupidity spewed from whoever compiled the “weekly projections” over at SI.com. He (or she) is banking on Tom Brady to completely control the game through the air, which is not out of the question, but attributed his likely success to the St. Louis Rams having a “mediocre pass defense.” They also believe that Ridley will pile up 70 yards on a Rams defense that has allowed only 151 total rushing yards on 60 carries over the last 3 games, and zero rushing touchdowns. Oh yea, and Aaron Hernandez is going to catch 6 passes for 60 yards and a touchdown… oh wait, what’s that? He didn’t get on the plane to London and has been ruled out with an injury? Idiot.
Brady underperformed just a bit against the Jets, throwing for 259 yards and two touchdowns, although for many quarterbacks that’d be a huge fantasy day. The Rams are a mediocre pass defense, which should allow Brady a chance for a rebound in Week 8. Patriots 34, Rams 16
Sadly, even here at Ramblin Fan’ we are not necessarily betting on the St. Louis Rams to win. We think it will be a tough battle between two teams, but the fact that the Rams have not done well on the road will likely not spell an upset in our first international matchup. However, if the Rams do pull out a victory, they will be able to drop the “1-0 in overseas games” card for a long, long time.
This game is being played in London and should be a great football game. I want to pick the Rams to pull off the upset, and if the game was in St. Louis I would probably do so especially given the Patriots horrible pass defense. I will fight the urge to be a homer and reluctantly pick the Patriots to win in a back and forth battle in Wembley Stadium. Patriots win 24-21.