Arizona Cardinals (3-3 SU, 1-5 ATS, 2-4 O/U) vs. Los Angeles Rams (4-2 SU, 3-3 ATS, 5-1 O/U)
NFL: Sunday, October 22, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. EST
The Line: Los Angeles Rams -3.5. Total: 47.5.
The Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals will renew their NFC West rivalry when they skip across the pond to square off at Twickenham Stadium in London on Sunday. Los Angeles is off to an impressive 4-2 start and has won three of its last four contests. The Cardinals have alternated losses and wins all the way back to Week 1.
Cardinals’ running back David Johnson went down with a wrist injury in Week 1 and was placed on injured reserve. Enter Adrian Peterson. Well, not right away; it took a few weeks, but Arizona traded for the veteran last Tuesday. In four much-maligned games with New Orleans, Peterson rushed for a total of 81 yards on 27 carries. He did not have more than nine rushing attempts in any of those four contests. In one outing with the Cardinals, last Sunday’s 38-33 victory over Tampa Bay, Peterson was given the rock 26 times and turned those into 134 yards and two touchdowns.
“They’re still doing the same things schematically–they’ve just got a great player in Adrian Peterson who’s doing those,” Rams’ head coach Sean McVay noted. “So I think you just appreciate that, hey, this is a big-time player. But a lot of their core principles, especially specific to the run game that you saw him having success with (in Week 6), are a lot of things that David Johnson and those other guys in [head coach Bruce Arians’] system have been doing at a high level, as well.”
Defense and special teams
Jaguars’ running back Leonard Fournette scored on a 75-yard run on his team’s first play from scrimmage against Los Angeles last weekend. It only went downhill from there for Fournette and company, and not in terms of finding it easy to run. The former LSU standout gained 98 yards in his first four carries but only 32 on his next 17. Jacksonville put up 14 points on 159 yards during its first three drives before being held to three points on a total of 230 yards through their next 13 efforts.
“It’s a long game,” star defensive tackle Aaron Donald explained. “If you let that hurt you and keep thinking about that, it’ll be an even longer game.”
The Rams’ special teams also came through. Pharoh Cooper returned the opening kickoff 103 yards for a touchdown and Cory Littleton blocked a punt that was returned for a score by Malcolm Brown. Greg Zuerlein added a 56-yard field goal, a 29-yard field goal, and three extra points.
The Arizona Cardinals are:
- 4-1 ATS in their last five games after allowing more than 30 points in their previous game
- 6-2 ATS in their last eight games against Los Angeles
- 8-3 Over in their last 11 games against the NFC
The Los Angeles Rams are:
- 3-10 ATS in their last 13 overall
- 1-10-1 ATS in their last 12 games against the NFC
- 0-5 ATS in their last five games against the NFC West
The Rams are 0-2 in their London history. They may be able to put one check mark in the win column on Sunday, but it won’t be easy. Los Angeles’ offense did not do much against Jacksonville last weekend and Arizona is ranked No. 9 in rushing defense so far this season. In a game that looks like a tossup, 3.5 points should be enough with which to cover for the Cardinals. Arizona is 4-1 ATS in its last five after allowing more than 30 points in its previous outing. The Rams are 3-10 ATS in their last 13 overall, 1-10-1 ATS in their last 12 against the NFC, 0-5 ATS in their last five against the NFC West, 3-9-1 ATS in their last 13 on fieldturf, 1-4 ATS in their last five following a win, and 2-6 ATS in the last eight meetings between the two teams. Expect those trends to continue.
Pick: Arizona Cardinals +3.5
Los Angeles boasts one of the best running backs in the business in Todd Gurley, who has 766 yards from scrimmage this season and seven total touchdowns. Arizona can now counter with Peterson, who has to be feeling rejuvenated following his breakout Week 6 performance. The over is 8-3 in the Cardinals’ last 11 against the NFC, 5-1 in their last six against winning opponents, 7-1 i n their last eight on fieldturf, and 4-0 in their last four after scoring more than 30 points in their previous outing. It is also 7-1 in the Rams’ last eight overall, 5-1 in their last six against the NFC, and 5-0 in their last five after allowing more than 350 total yards in their previous outing. Look for this one to go over the total.