International Series part 3 – #BeRedSeeRed vs #LARams @ Twickenham

London still hasn’t had a game between two teams with winning records, but this is about as close as we’ve got. The Cardinals come in having won comfortably last week against the Buccs, they were 31-0 up in the blink of an eye to level their record on the season at 3-3. The Rams have been very impressive so far showing just how much you can change a team in one off-season going from the worst team in the league to watch to one of the most exciting through recruitment and a coaching change. They’re sitting pretty at the top of the NFC West at 4-2 and a win for them today would cement them in that spot and give them a significant boost over the Cardinals.

They don’t get a lot of rain in Arizona or California so with “Storm Brian” – I hate that we decided that naming storms over here was a good idea – apparently in the area it could be blustery and wet. I would think this would mean there would be more action on the ground, but it could also mean more turnovers if the ball is hard to keep hold of.

Arizona Cardinals (+3) vs LA Rams – o/u – 45

Is Adrian Peterson back? Is he actually not rubbish after all?! He tore up the Buccs for 129 yards and 2 TDs last week and had more carries in this one game than he did in the entire time he spent in New Orleans, he’s been over to the UK already this year with the Saints, a game that he’ll probably want to forget, the only highlight available of that match for him is him shouting at his head coach. Safe to say he didn’t enjoy his time there, but team mate Larry Fitzgerald said he’d of had 2 Superbowl medals by now if he’d been with them for years! The arrival of AP meant the end for Chris Johnson who was released, but also seems to have meant the end for Andre Ellington as well who went from catching 9 per game from the backfield to doing nothing at all last week. They play today against a run defence who rank 4th in the league in terms of yards conceded per game.

The arrival of AP has balanced the team for Carson Palmer, enabling him to hand the ball off finally which opens up play action as well making it much easier for him to keep the opposition away from him, he went from having to throw 40+ times, down to just 22 attempts last week, he completed 18 of them for a very impressive 283 yards and 3 TDs. That’s 82% completion at 13 yards a go. It helped Peterson and Palmer that they got a couple of offensive line players back finally as they’d been seriously struggling in that area for most of the season.

John Brown looks like he may be back to his best, he’s always been a favourite target of Palmer but has struggled due to his sickle cell anaemia which seems to cause cramps and bruising for him, but he has scored a TD in each of his last 2 games since returning and put up 63 yards last week, he has taken away targets from Jaron Brown who was shaping up for a good season while John was out of the team. He dropped from 8 targets the week before John Brown was back to just 1 target last week. A man who doesn’t need to worry about targets is Larry Fitzgerald. The future hall of famer has been on fire this season, his last 4 games… 33 receptions, 370 yards, 3 TDs. He’s good. Not really worth mentioning the tight ends, Troy Niklas scored last week, but I’m not sure he has ever scored before, and surely won’t go in again this week.  I should probably at least mention JJ Nelson, he’s a downfield burner, not reliable week to week but if he catches a ball, it will probably take him past his yards line.

P2 – Patrick Peterson looks like he’s shaken off a quad injury from last week and you’d expect him to probably shut down Sammy Watkins this week? He seems like he’d be the most dangerous player for the Rams if he breaks free.

The Rams had a fairly easy start to the schedule and made the most of it putting up tons of points and getting themselves out to a nice 3-1 start, they’ve since won and lost, a nice win last week against the Jaguars thanks in large part to their special teams after losing a game they should have won against the Seahawks a week earlier.

Jared Goff threw for just 124 yards last week, but that was against that very impressive Jaguars secondary, so it wasn’t part of the plan anyway. He did what was required of him. He’s had a good enough season now that he’s got some protection in front of him, and while he maybe hasn’t shown enough to have been the no.1 overall pick last year, he has been good enough to lead his team to this record.

The main man in this team is Todd Gurley, he had that down year last year but that was in a woeful offense, this season has seen him better than ever so far, rushing for 521 yards so far and gaining 245 through the air, as well as 7 TDs so far this season as well! The receiving yards have dropped over the last fortnight, but they were against Seattle and Jacksonville, I would expect him to have a bit of a bounceback in this game against a Cardinals side who other than P2 aren’t that great in pass defence. There is a chance that Lance Dunbar gets some work in the passing game as that’s the reason he was signed by McVay, but we’ll have to wait and see on that one.

The passing game is mixed around a few players, Woods, Watkins, Cupp and the tight ends. It makes it next to impossible to figure out who’s going to get the ball really. But I would assume (as said above) that P2 will cover Watkins, meaning that in theory Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp should get more of the ball. Woods is their leading receiver on the season with 322 yards. I wouldn’t recommend taking any of the yardage lines on any of them, well, maybe the unders on Watkins, but he’s apparently talented enough to catch at least one ball so it would be a risk. The tight ends are the rookie Everett and Tyler Higbee. Both have been lowly involved, Everett scored last week with his only catch of the game. Again, neither is trustworthy so I’d be avoiding both. Pharoah Cooper is possibly a man to mention, he scored a kick off return last week taking it 103 yards to the house. I’m always unsure as to whether that gets paid out as an anytime scorer or whether that goes down as a D/ST, I believe that it did get paid out for anyone who bet on him individually last week at a massive 20/1 (well done Skip!)

Aaron Donald, as expected has been a beast on defence showing that you don’t really need to train if you’re one of the best in the league. It’s a good sign for my personal DPOY bet on him!

So who’s going to win?! – I think the Cardinals will win, they’ve been in the UK for the whole week so should be more acclimatised, as the Saints were when they destroyed the Dolphins a few weeks back. They’re the underdog here so I think taking the extra 3 points gives even more of a safety blanket on that bet.

  • Gurley and John Brown both to score TDs – 4/1
  • Arizona to win, AP and Gurley both o100 yards and both to score TD – 33/1

1pt on each. Both skybet

  • First half team points – Cardinals o9.5 – 8/11 (365) – 3pts

5pt total outlay.

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