My picks last week definitely qualifies as the best week of the year. I finished 11-5 against the spread and 13-3 picking games straight up, both marking my best records of the season for any given week.
Now normally, that should give me a greater deal of confidence going into this upcoming week of games, but the last time I had double-digit wins against the spread, there was a three-game dropoff the following week to where I finished below .500.
For the season, I’m 112-96 against the spread and 136-71-1 picking straight winners.
* All lines come from ESPN.
Arizona Cardinals (10-3) at St. Louis Rams (6-7)
Thursday, December 11 at 8:25 pm ET on CBS/NFL Network
*Line: Rams (-3.5)
This is poised to be a defensive battle. The Rams defense has been lights out the past few weeks since they lost to the Cardinals in Week 10 by a 31-14 score. Since then, they’ve allowed just 34 total points in four weeks with two straight shut outs of the Raiders and Redskins. But don’t let the 29 points the Cardinals allowed to the Falcons two weeks ago fool you, that marked only the second time this season they’ve given up 21 or more points in a game.
Now it would be easy to see the Rams’ pass rush, particularly defensive tackle Aaron Donald wreaking havoc on a weak Cardinals offensive line interior since that’s exactly what he did five games ago. But the Rams offensive line has been anything but glorious in the weeks since left tackle Jake Long went down with injury, so it’s not as if they have some great advantage there. And the Cardinals certainly have the playmakers on the outside despite recent injuries that suggest they can contain what few playmakers the Rams have at the offensive skill positions.
This game will essentially come down to which quarterback best protects the football. Recent history suggests that Rams quarterback Shaun Hill is the better bet there than Drew Stanton. But at the same time, Stanton likes to push the ball downfield. And when facing a quality defense, a big play here or there can ultimately be the difference in the end. I don’t have that sort of confidence that Hill is willing to do that and will be able to do that against the Cardinals’ secondary. So I’ll take Arizona.
Spread Pick: Cardinals
Straight Pick: Cardinals