NFL Week 10 Tips: Rams look to bounce back against the Seahawks
Now into the second half of the regular season there are several matchups with plenty riding on them this weekend. Matthew Crist is here to mark your card going into week 10...
"Whereas last week the focus was on the unbeaten Rams at the high flying Saints, this week it's less about records and more about valuable wins as we approach the business end of the season."
The big game of the week
We now head into the second half of the regular season meaning there's plenty on the line for a host of teams in week 10 as the divisional race hots up not to mention the scrap for the Wild Card places.
Whereas last week the focus was on the unbeaten Rams at the high flying Saints, this week it's less about records and more about valuable wins as we approach the business end of the season and it will be fascinating to see how the Rams bounce-back from that loss last week when they take on the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
The Rams, coming off their first loss of the season, are looking to sweep Seattle and move to 9-1, further strengthening their grip on the NFC West and with running back Todd Gurley, who leads the league in rushing with 96.4 yards per game, they will feel they are a match for anyone - especially as they are averaging 33.2 points per game.
However, after the 45-35 loss to the New Orleans Saints last week the current Super Bowl fancies must respond to the disappointment of defeat for the first time and that is so often where good sides become great ones.
The Rams have shown plenty of a resilience under Head Coach Sean McVey when it comes to how they respond to a loss and through his first 25 games, he's never lost consecutive contests so he'll need to rally the troops once more in order to avoid a second straight loss against an opposition which has a pretty impressive record against the Rams.
The Rams had just 12 wins in 32 games prior to 2014, but have bucked that trend recently by winning six of the last nine matchups meaning the head-to-head is now a little tighter.
The Seahawks, though, are still 23-18 against the Rams, dating back to 1976, so even though a win for Seattle might go against the formbook, it's not like it's never happened before.
When the two sides met back on October 7 the game was far from a one-sided encounter as Seahawks running back Chris Carson rushed for 116 yards and quarterback Russell Wilson threw three touchdown passes without an interception that day.
But it was not enough to prevent the Rams from coming away with a 33-31 victory, though they can still take plenty of positives from such a confident display against one of the best sides around.
Probably the biggest difference between these two is their yards per game so far this season, something which is illustrated in the fact that Los Angeles is first in yards per game at 447.1, while the Seahawks are 26th at 339.9 - a difference of 107.2 yards per game.
That means you could remove Todd Gurley's monumental 96.4 yards per game average this season and the Rams would still be more productive.
A somewhat shock win on Sunday would mean that the 4-4 Seahawks remain a factor in the NFC West equation whereas a Rams win, which looks the obvious choice, would give them a 4.5-game lead in the division and only enhance their position as second favourites for the Super Bowl next February.
Saints look to continue streak
After dispatching the previously undefeated Rams in week 9, the aforementioned Saints now face a trip to Cincinnati for a game which is bound to test the resilience of one of the in-form sides in the NFL and an upset shouldn't be written off.
The Saints have struggled against AFC North teams so far this year and but for a few kicking melt-downs from their opponents in the first half of the season they could easily find themselves at 5-3 instead of 7-1.
Their win over the Baltimore Ravens came courtesy of a Justin Tucker missed extra point and who could forget the Browns game, where the Saints picked-up a win after Cleveland's kicker Zane Gonzales fluffed two field goals and two extra points?
Even so, the sign of a good team is taking these gifts and moving on and with the Saints now on a 7 game win streak it's hard to look past the men from the Superdome even though the home side have been given 5.5 points in the spread.
Acca of the week
It's a four-fold this week, all from the spread market: Chicago (-6.5) 9/10, Kansas City (-16.5) Evs, New York Jets (-7) Evs, New England (-6.5) Evs which, at the time of writing, is available at 15.2 on the Sportsbook.
With a record of 8-1 Kansas City surely have too much for the Arizona Cardinals even with a 16.5 head start tying the record for the largest spread on a team coming off a break since in-season byes were first implemented back in 1990.
As for the Chicago Bears they blew Buffalo out of the water last week and surely have too much for Detroit as they look to extend their lead in the NFC North.
It's difficult to see anything other than other defeat for the sorry Bills this week even against a New York outfit who have lost their last three games themselves, so expect New York to be the best of a bad bunch in this one as they are 7 point favourites.
The Washington Redskins top the NFC East with a record of 5-3 while Tampa Bay are the basement side in the NFC South and even though the Redskins saw their three-game win streak snapped in a 38-14 home loss to the Atlanta Falcons they should have enough to be the victors in this one and definitely worth considering at 13/10 on the moneyline.
Two teams who are both fresh off byes will meet at the Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday as the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Indianapolis Colts square off. Both teams are 3-5 for the season and there appears to be little else between them so maybe picking the Jaguars at 6/5 to change their fortunes in what has been a disappointing campaign is where the money is at?
Long shot of the week
This any time touchdown scorer five-fold is priced at 12.66 at the time of writing and features a quintet of players who are in fine form. My selections are Tyreek Hill, Todd Gurley, Michael Thomas, Ezekiel Elliott and James White.
If you are a fan of the 3TDs for both teams in each half bet then the choice this week is Seattle @ LA Rams at 150/1
From this week a syndicate has been set up for those who want to win more. You can join here and play for £100,000 but in it, seven games are picked with a variety of score margins.
My picks this week are as follows:
Pittsburgh by 1-6, 7-12 or Baltimore by 1-6
Patriots 1-6, 7-12 or Titans 1-6
Saints 1-6 or 7-12 or Bengals 1-6
Tampa Bay 1-6 or Washington 1-6
Eagles 1-6, 7-12
Giants 7-12, 13-18
LA Rams 7-13
Green Bay 7-13
The full picks
I've picked every game bar the Thursday game according to their handicap on the SBK at the time of writing (home team in caps):
CHICAGO -6.5 over Lions
NEW ORLEANS (-5.5) over Cincinnati
Atlanta (-5.5) over CLEVELAND
JACKSONVILLE (+3) over Indianapolis
KANSAS CITY (-16.5) over Arizona
NEW YORK JETS (-7) over Buffalo
Washington (+3) over TAMPA BAY
New England (-6.5) over TENNESSEE
LA CHARGERS (-10) over Oakland
GREEN BAY (-10) over Miami
LA RAMS (-10) over Seattle
Philadelphia (-7.5) over DALLAS
New York Giants (+3) over SAN FRANSISCO
Back the LA Rams to win by 1-13 points at 7/5 on SBK (Sportsbook)
Back Washington to win straight up at 5/4 on SBK (Sportsbook)
Back Chicago (-6.5), Kansas City (-16.5), New York Jets (-7), New England (-6.5) at 15.2 on the SBK (Sportsbook)
Back each team to score over 3TDs in each half in Seattle @ LA Rams at 150/1 on SBK (Sportsbook)