NFL Week 12 Betting – Reeling Rams Head to Cincy
Sascha P.No comments
Perfection is a distant memory for the Cincinnati Bengals (8-2, 4-1 home). “Who dey?” started the season 8-0 but have now dropped two straight and seen the Steelers creep ever closer in the division race. This Sunday (1:00 PM Eastern), Cincy will try to get back to its winning ways against another team that’s trending downward as the St. Louis Rams (4-6, 1-4 road) come to town.
Week 10 was a debacle for the Bengals. They headed into a Monday night matchup with Houston as double-digit home favorites, but couldn’t even hit double-digits on the scoreboard, managing just two field goals during a 10-6 loss. The defense played well in prime time but, between tight end Tyler Eifert forgetting how to catch and QB Andy Dalton missing several open receivers, nothing worked on offense.
Those roles were reversed last Sunday when Cincinnati dropped a 34-31 decision to the Cardinals. Dalton and the offense held up their end of the bargain, piling up nearly 400 yards of total offense on Arizona’s fourth-ranked defense; but Cincy’s own D – which came into the game first in the league in scoring – were lit up by former Bengal Carson Palmer (20 of 31 for 317 yards and four touchdowns) and rookie receiver J.J. Nelson (four catches for 142 yards and a major).
Still, the narrow setback on the road to one of the NFC’s top dogs has to be seen as a step in the right direction. The Bengals found themselves down by two scores in the fourth quarter, but battled all the way back to tie the game at 31 (before watching Palmer shred them one last time in the final minute to set up the winning kick).
If the team can muster the same sort of effort at home on Sunday, they’ll have a great chance to get back in the win column against the Rams. St. Louis comes in on its own three-game losing streak and has no semblance of a passing game, sitting last in the league in both yards per game and yards per attempt. Head coach Jeff Fisher even took the desperate step of starting Case Keenum last week against Baltimore (after former starter Nick Foles “led” the team to a 37-13 home loss to the Bears).
The QB switch didn’t pay off. Keenum was under 50-percent on the day (12 of 26) and failed to crack the 150-yard mark (136). With no real pass threat to worry about, the Ravens were able to stack the box against St. Louis’ only real offensive weapon, Todd Gurley, limiting the rookie rusher to 66 yards on 25 carries.
Making matters worse – for both the team and the QB’s long-term health – Keenum was concussed late in the game but allowed to stay in. He fumbled on the very next play (his third of the game), setting Justin Tucker up for the game-winning field goal.
Keenum’s status for Sunday is uncertain, and Fisher hasn’t said who the starter will be. But, in truth, it probably doesn’t matter. When you have to pick between a rotten apple and a rotten orange, no matter what choice you make, you’re not going to end up satisfied.
The only real chance the Rams have in this game lies on defense. Houston was able to shutdown the Bengals with a strong pass rush and solid DB play. The Rams have the tools to pressure Dalton (tools by the name of Chris Long, and Aaron Donald) and also boast the third-ranked secondary in the NFL (per Football Outsiders). Holding this (usually) dynamic Bengal offense to single-digits again won’t be an easy feat. (Their second-lowest scoring home game this year was a 24-19 win over San Diego.) But that’s exactly what that the St. Louis defense may need to accomplish if the team is going to leave Ohio with a win.
Looking at the spread, the Rams have a lot more hope. They come in getting nine points, which is a ton for a team with a defense this good. While I don’t expect the Rams to win on Sunday, Donald and company should prevent the Bengals from running away and hiding.
Pick: Rams (+9).