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That's odd: Rams aren't favored

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  • That's odd: Rams aren't favored

    In an oddity, the odds are against the Rams this weekend.

    For just the second time since early in the 1999 season -- when the Rams began their run in which they have been to the Super Bowl twice and in the playoffs four times in five years -- they're an underdog at home.

    New England was made a 2 1/2-point favorite over the Rams when the point spreads for this weekend's NFL games were set Sunday night in Las Vegas, and the line hasn't wavered this week. Kickoff is 3:15 p.m. Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome.

    On the Vegas money line (where bettors merely pick the winner of the game with no point spread involved), New England also is the favorite as a risk of $13 is required to reap a $10 profit on the Patriots. Conversely, a successful $10 wager on the Rams would return an $11 profit.

    Since early October 1999, when the Rams' run began gathering steam, they have played 46 home games (including playoffs) and have been favored in 44 of them, with one being rated a toss-up -- the final game of their disappointing 2002 season, in which they beat San Francisco 31-20 to finish at 7-9.

    The only time they were a home underdog in that stretch was Oct. 13, 2002, when they were 0-5 heading into a contest vs. Oakland. That ended a run of 28 consecutive home games in which they were favored. But they won 28-13, as an eight-point underdog, in Marc Bulger's first NFL start.

  • #2
    Re: That's odd: Rams aren't favored

    what is even more interesting is that as of this morning, despite the fact that the pats announced that ty law wont play, the line has not moved.

    general counsel


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      "Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home."
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      * * * * * *

      The Rams have a chance to make NFL history over the next few weeks. That is, win the Super Bowl after getting there by prevailing in three playoff games on the road.

      Three wild-card teams have taken home the Lombardi Trophy - Oakland in 1980, Denver in 1997 and Baltimore in 2000. But each opened the postseason at home. Only one team - New England in 1985 - reached the Super Bowl after prevailing three times on enemy turf. But the Patriots lost to Chicago in the title game.

      So, if the Rams follow up their victory last Saturday in Seattle with wins at Atlanta on Saturday and at Philadelphia on Jan. 23 and then beat the AFC champion in the Super Bowl on Feb. 6 in Jacksonville, Fla., it would mark a league first.

      Of course, Minnesota and the New York Jets are in the same position - wild-card entrants that could become the first Super Bowl winner via three road wins.

      But don't hold your breath.

      True, home teams won just 55 percent of the games during the 2004 regular season, but the edge usually soars in the playoffs. Since 1990, when the current format was adopted, home teams have won 102 of 140 games - a 72.8 percent success rate.

      The disparity is greatest in the conference semifinals, which will be contested this weekend. The home team has prevailed in 45 of 56 of those matchups, an 80.3 winning percentage.

      So even though road teams won three of four games last weekend for the first time ever on wild-card weekend, the magnitude of home-field advantage shouldn't be underestimated. "I think it is important, I really do," said Rams coach Mike Martz.

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      The Rams will be home for the holidays, closing the regular season with games
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      Some still sport team gear in the franchise's pre-2000 colors. Some even have shirts and hats that read: "Los Angeles Rams." Some still make the trek up the Pacific Coast from southern California every year to cheer on their transplanted franchise.

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    • RamDez
      Variety Show
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      Variety Show

      By Jim Thomas
      Of the Post-Dispatch


      Based on last season's records, the Rams have the easiest schedule in the NFL.

      The Rams face only four teams that had winning records in 2004: Philadelphia (13-3), Indianapolis (12-4), Seattle (9-7) and Jacksonville (9-7).

      They face only four teams that made the playoffs: Philly, Indy, the Seahawks and Minnesota (8-8).

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      The 2005 schedule features familiar rivals New Orleans and Philadelphia. And, of course, NFC West opponents Arizona, San Francisco and Seattle. But it's really characterized more by the unfamiliar than the familiar:

      On Thanksgiving weekend, the Rams play the Houston Texans - a 2002 expansion team - for the first time.

      The day before Halloween, they play former St. Louis expansion rival Jacksonville for just the second time, and for the first time since 1996.

      In a Sunday night affair on New Year's Day, the Rams play a regular-season game in Dallas for the first time since the move to St. Louis in '95.

      The home opener on Sept. 25 marks the first visit of the Tennessee Titans to St. Louis for a regular-season contest, and the first meeting of the teams other than the preseason since Super Bowl XXXIV.

      Perhaps the marquee game of the season occurs Oct. 17 when the Rams make their first visit to Indianapolis since '95. As such, it will be running back Marshall Faulk's first game against his old club since the memorable trade that sent him to St. Louis in 1999. It's also the Rams' only Monday night appearance of this season.

      There will be some new faces to go along with the new places. The Rams get their first look at young quarterbacks David Carr of Houston, Byron Leftwich of Jacksonville, Eli Manning of the New York Giants and, quite possibly, No. 1 overall draft pick Alex Smith of San Francisco.

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      Obviously, no opposing quarterback will draw as much interest as the one who now calls Arizona home - Kurt Warner. A two-time NFL MVP with the Rams, Warner faces his former team twice in the NFC West. As long as Bill Bidwill owns the Big Red, playing Arizona will always be a big game for any St. Louis football fan over age 30. Putting Warner in a Cardinals uniform turns up the rivalry several notches.

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