Game Predictions & Player Projections - STL vs ARI

Game Predictions & Player Projections - STL vs ARI


Game Predictions & Player Projections - STL vs ARI


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Prediction: STL 13, ARI 24 (Line: ARI by 7.5)

The 3-5 Rams are one of the biggest enigmas this year in who they beat and when they lose. The 7-1 Cardinals are flying high with the best record in the NFL and a two game lead on the Seahawks in the NFC West. The home team won these meetings last year. In Arizona, the Cardinals won 30-10 in week 14 while the Rams won 27-24 in the season opener of 2013. This should be a solid win on paper but the Rams have a way of suddenly playing much better.

St. Louis Rams

1 MIN 6-34 10 @ARI —–
2 @TB 19-17 11 DEN —–
3 DAL 31-34 12 @SD —–
4 BYE —– 13 OAK —–
5 @PHI 28-34 14 @WAS —–
6 SF 17-31 15 ARI —–
7 SEA 28-26 16 NYG —–
8 @KC 7-34 17 @SEA —–
9 @SF 13-10  
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vs Rush Catch Pass

The last four weeks are a perfect example of the Rams. They lose badly at home to the 49ers and then three weeks later they go to San Francisco where they win a defensive war. Between those two dissimilar games, they almost beat the Seahawks but then get waxed by the Chiefs. You just can never be sure which Rams team shows up. Third road trip in a row has to be wearing on them this week.

QUARTERBACK : Austin Davis has turned more into a game manager but that suits HC Jeff Fisher fine. Davis scored in six straight games but has been held to single digit scores in three of the last four including the last two road games. He’s passed for 160 yards or less for the last three games. Davis doesn’t win games but he doesn’t lose them either. The defense and the rushing effort is what eventually makes the most difference.

RUNNING BACK : Zac Stacy’s fall from grace is complete. Last week he was active and never touched the ball. Tre Mason ran for 65 yards on 19 carries in San Francisco as the primary back but Benny Cunningham still figures in with a few carries and catches each week. Mason is clearly the better runner of the bunch but his lack of receptions alone will prevent him from being a major fantasy factor unless the opponent sports a very bad defense (See Week 13: “Hey look! The Raiders!”). At least Mason gives the promise of better rushing in the future unlike Stacy or Cunningham.

WIDE RECEIVER : Losing Brian Quick is losing the leading wideout scorer (3) and all combined the unit only accounted for six touchdowns all year. This is one of the rare teams that have never produced a 100 yard receiver this year and the only fantasy relevant player – and not really – is Kenny Britt who scored last week for only the second time this year. Britt’s high game was only 69 yards. Chris Givens is stuck at one catch per week and Tavon Austin somehow translate speed and open field ability into a lofty 5.3 yards per catch over the last three games. No fantasy value here that you can rely on.

TIGHT END : Jared Cook is the receiving tight end such as it exists on this team but he’s well below fantasy relevance and only matters in home games if then. Lance Kendricks scored four times this year but rarely ends up with more than one catch in any game.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Cardinals play far better at home and no running back has gained more than 83 yards there. Only two have scored and the Rams rushing unit is clearly below average. The Cardinals are weaker against the pass but the Rams are one of the worst passing offenses. CB Patrick Peterson draws Tavon Austin which is a waste of time. The Rams are only scoring one touchdown per game recently and that could happen here. The score would have to be via the pass but who would end up with is a coin flip. The only fantasy play is Mason and he’ll only be a low end flex at best.

Gaining Fantasy Points STL 30 23 28 10 25 21
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 20 1 30 23 6 4

Arizona Cardinals

1 SD 18-17 10 STL —–
2 @NYG 25-14 11 DET —–
3 SF 23-14 12 @SEA —–
4 BYE —— 13 @ATL —–
5 @DEN 20-41 14 KC —–
6 WAS 30-20 15 @STL —–
7 @OAK 24-13 16 SEA —–
8 PHI 24-20 17 @SF —–
9 @DAL 29-17  
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vs Rush Catch Pass

The Cardinals have emerged as one of the teams to beat but the reality is that they are not nearly so dominant as their 7-1 record suggests. The four teams they faced on the road included a 21 point loss in Denver, a win over a stumbling Giants team, a won over a winless Raiders team and then they beat the Cowboys who were starting to wobble and then lost their quarterback. The Cards are good enough to win here. But the remaining schedule only contains two games against the Seahawks, hosting the Lions and one in San Francisco as potentially stumbling blocks. Even losing all those yields a 11-5 record. So long as injuries don’t impact them, the Cardinals will be playing in January.

QUARTERBACK : Carson Palmer still has not thrown for less than two touchdowns and remains at or above 250 yards in every game. He tossed an interception in Dallas for only the second time this year. Palmer is moving the offense and scoring points and yet none of the wideouts are having a particularly big year. Michael Floyd is actually a disappointment. But one factor has fed into that – Palmer is relying on Andre Ellington much more as a receiver and having solid success.

Palmer passed for 269 yards and one score on the visiting Rams last year.

RUNNING BACK : Although he has never broken 100 rushing yards this year, Andre Ellington has produced at least 75 total yards in every game this year and broken 100 total yards four times (oddly enough only in road games). He’s scored four times – twice as a runner and twice as a receiver and usually catches four to six passes per game. He loses touchdowns to other backs and last week it was Marion Grice in his first game of the year. But he remains solid with 75 to 100 total yards in every game.

The Cardinals rushed for 86 yards on 26 carries when the Rams visited last season.

WIDE RECEIVER : Michael Floyd started the year with two 100 yard games in the first three weeks but since has never broken 47 yards and scored just twice. What was expected to be his breakout season has proven to be a major disappointment. Floyd ended 2013 with 1054 yards and five touchdowns but he’s failed to maintain his value let alone improve. Last year looked like Larry Fitzgerald might be done but he’s back as the star receiver here and while he only scored twice this season, he’s been very effective in the last two home games where he topped 98 yards in both and scored. John Brown is as good as 119 yards and as bad as just 10 yards in a game and those were successive weeks. The total job gets done but there is no true stud here.

Fitzgerald scored in both meetings with the Rams in 2013. He caught 12 passes for 96 yards in the home meeting while Michael Floyd never scored and managed just 26 yards on two catches.

TIGHT END : No fantasy value.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Rams are solid against running backs and Ellington will once again furnish fantasy points as much as a receiver as a runner. The Rams have allowed multiple touchdowns to most opponents and that fits well into what Palmer churns out every week. Palmer, Ellington and Fitzgerald are the fantasy plays this week. Floyd and John Brown have some upside here but would be risks for a bad game.

Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 22 12 12 29 8 11
Preventing Fantasy Points STL 22 8 24 7 22 31

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