2004 Season NFL Football Past Picks
December 12, 2004
This pick was released to clients on December 31, 1969 at 9:00PM ET.
St. Louis at Carolina
Sunday 12/12 04:15 PM Eastern
3 units on Carolina -6.5 (-110) (risk 3 to return 5.73) RESULT: WIN
Really, I wasn't planning on picking Carolina again for a third straight week just because they have cashed in for us in a big way the last two. But, they just bubbled back up to the top of this week's list again. Carolina's on a tear and I think the ride will continue again on Sunday vs. a Bulger-less St. Louis team. The Panthers are finally playing like the Super Bowl team of one year ago. Jake Delhomme has calmed down and gotten his confidence and poise back (11 TDs/2 INT in last five games). It's taken two thirds of a season, but they've finally gotten "used to" playing without Steve Smith and Stephen Davis. They've played through tremendous adversity this season and I think it has made them stronger. They now believe in themselves and their playoff chances in a big way. St. Louis is another story. Against lowly San Francisco, averaging 28 points allowed per game, the Rams managed only 16 points. The Rams lost Marc Bulger and after starting the season 4-2, they've slipped to .500. Marshall Faulk is out and Steven Jackson has a sprained knee, which could force Arlen Harris to start. Even if Jackson plays, he will probably be less than 100%. The Rams' strength is their passing game - ranked 4th in the league. With Bulger, the Rams averaged 300 yards per game passing. While solid, 80-year-old Chris Chandler isn't going to be lighting up the scoreboard. The Rams will now be going into Carolina and the place will be rocking. I know, detractors will point to the fact that Carolina's played some pretty bad teams during their recent resurrgence. But, don't worry about that. They did what very good teams should do against bad teams - they blow them out. They've won by an average score of 31-18 over their past four. Expect Nick Goings (three straight 100+ yard games) to have success against the league's 28th ranked rush defense. The Rams, we know, are a different team away from home. They have dropped their last three road games by an average score of 38-16. In their last six games, the Rams have only beaten the struggling Seahawks and league-worst 49ers. December road underdogs that are struggling tend to continue their slides as dogs off 2+ ATS losses fail to cover on the road to the tune of 72%. As an added bonus, there's at least a 50% chance that Mike Martz will make a bonehead decision that will cost his team 7 points. Three star pick: Carolina minus 6.5.