Once again, the NFL media analysts are using the St. Louis Rams as a stepping stone to recovery for a struggling quarterback and franchise. Granted, the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys were able to recoup against the Rams after tough losses in the previous week. However, without a healthy Andre Johnson, a turnover machine at quarterback, and Arian Foster performing average, at best, this certainly does not feel like a redemption story in the making. In fact, Brooks Reed and Whitney Mercilus, the Texans’ starting outside linebackers, have allowed an average 136.4 pass rating in coverage, and their starting corners are ranked 32nd and 36th, respectively, so far this season. In anything, sounds like this could be the coming out party for one, Mr. Tavon Austin. However, we would hate to let logic and advanced metrics get in the way of uneducated guesses and unsupported predictions. With that in mind, here is the St. Louis Rams vs. Houston Texans’ picks and predictions roundup…
A disgruntled Texans fan showing up at Matt Schaub’s house to berate the beleaguered quarterback in the driveway? Really? How weak is that? Believe it or not, people, it really is just a game. Buy a ticket and boo your guy at the stadium. That’s your inalienable right. But semi-home invasions do not come with the price of a ducat. Thank you. Texans 27, Rams 14
Thinking the Texans bounce back in a big way. For example, Matt Schaub improves by throwing an interception on the second series rather than the first, and it’s returned inside the 10 rather than into Houston’s end zone. Actually, I fully expect Gary Kubiak to run Arian Foster and Ben Tate 35 times this Sunday. Houston shouldn’t put the game on an ailing veteran in Andre Johnson or a rookie in DeAndre Hopkins. The Texans should emulate what Dallas did against the Rams, running DeMarco Murray and throwing to the tight end. Johnson can be a decoy. The St. Louis receivers really are going to have to get separation, as the Houston pass rush will be all over Sam Bradford. For the Rams, this could come down to play calling. Texans 34, Rams 20
A struggling Texans team is vulnerable to the upset by a very young and inconsistent Rams team. If the Rams can get the ground game going again this week they may have a chance. If the Texans defense can make the Rams one-dimensional like the Cowboys and 49ers did than Bradford could have a very rough outing. The Texans offense has struggled the past few weeks as Matt Schaub’s dubious record pick six streak has helped contribute to their 3 game losing streak. If this game were at the Edward Jones Dome I may go with the Rams in the upset, but I still don’t see it here. Of course if the Rams special teams units can avoid the big penalties this game it would go a long way to help both the offense and defense. Good news for Rams fans is Texans star TE Owen Daniels will not be playing, and I expect a close game between two teams desperate to get to .500. Texans win 27 – 24.
Some sites prefer to merely throw out their picks, instead of outlining boldly predicted scores. Surprisingly, in USA Today, seven out of seven analysts picked the Houston Texans over the St. Louis Rams. In the Week 6 “expert picks” for ESPN, 12 out of 14 picked the Houston Texans to win, although a choice few, like KC Joyner and Tom Jackson, did choose against the presumed favorites. In CBS Sports’ “Against the Spread” predictions, only two out of eight went with the “underdog,” even with the spiraling Texans set as a +7.5 point favorites on Sunday. With that many picking Houston depsite the spread, their “Straight Up” picks were, naturally, a unanimous vote for the home-team Texans.
So far this season, the St. Louis Rams have weltered under the pressure of upsetting the favorite. If there ever were a time to rise from the ashes and “reinvent” themselves, this would be the week, against a Houston Texans team that is still a darling in the eyes of the media. Injuries and a general lack of confidence in the Texans’ locker room should bode well for the Rams, who have still yet to win a game on the road this season. Guess we’ll have to wait until Sunday to find out!