Desperate For a W

Colin Kaepernick

San Francisco (-3) at St. Louis: NFC West rivals desperate for a W...

San Francisco (-3) at St. Louis: NFC West rivals desperate for a W

Cold, Hard Football Facts Insider with Scout.com breaks down every NFL game against the spread through the prism of our 22 cutting-edge Quality Stats. CHFF Insiders have gone .500 or better ATS in 72 percent of NFL weeks since the start of 2009. CHFF Insiders with Scout.com also get access to betting trends, key prop plays (9-2 in 2013), inside interviews with Vegas bookmakers and detailed team stat profiles. Become a CHFF Insider with Scout.com today. 

By Kerry J. Byrne

Cold, Hard Football Facts Potentate of Pigskin

The Intelligence Index has been so successful this year (and in the past years that we've studied) that we intend to use it as one of the primary manners in which we discuss and pick each NFL game this week at Cold, Hard Football Facts Insider with Scout.com.

The Intelligence Index is our measure of how each team performs in situational football. It tells us which teams are smart and efficient and which teams are dumb an inefficient. It's deadly against the spread, especially if you bet against the dumb teams.

·         The six smartest teams in the NFL are 13-5 (.722) against the spread this year

·         The five dumbest teams in the NFL are 1-14 (.067) against the spread

·         The seven dumbest teams in football are 3-18 (.143) against the spread

With all that said, the 49ers-Rams Thursday night tilt is not one of those games in which the Intelligence Index provides a distinct advantage for one team.

In other words, the Rams are the smarter team right now. But the Rams are not a smart team. No reason to hang your hat on them by this metric.

The bigger issue is this: the 49ers are suddenly springing all kinds of statistical leaks. Most notably, Colin Kaepernick has quickly fallen back to Earth over the last few games. We were one of the few outlets last year that did not get caught up in the Kaepernick hype. In fact, we said the 49ers would "regret the decision to bench Alex Smith."

Alex Smith is 9-2-1 since 2012 playing with two different teams, including this year's surprising 3-0 Kansas City Chiefs

Colin Kaepernick is 8-5 leading the NFL powerhouse 49ers – the same powerhouse that went 20-6-1 since 2011 with Smith at the helm.

Pro football history is littered with guys who explode on the scene for a few games then fall back to earth when the league figures them out. Kaepernick has the look of that kind of player right now, with back-to-back dreadful performances in losses, though the story is far from over.

There are other problems, too: namely, San Francisco's once-stout run defense is 32nd in Defensive Rusher Rating, having surrendered a league-high six rushing touchdowns.

St. Louis has its issues, as well. The Rams field one of the worst pass defenses in football and their Defensive Hogs, which led the NFL in forcing Negative Pass Plays last year, are currently a dreadful No. 31 on the Defensive Hog Index and No. 28 in Negative Pass Play percentage.

The Rams went 1-0-1 vs. the NFC champs last year. Both teams are in trouble right now and need a win. But the 49ers are in more trouble (10 points scored in two games) and going on the road after getting pasted at home while playing remarkable inefficient, dumb football.

The Rams hold in a fourth straight sloppy Thursday night game.

Pick: St. Louis 21, San Francisco 20

Cold, Hard Football Facts Insider with Scout.com breaks down every NFL game against the spread through the prism of our 22 cutting-edge Quality Stats. CHFF Insiders have gone .500 or better ATS in 72 percent of NFL weeks since the start of 2009. CHFF Insiders with Scout.com also get access to betting trends, key prop plays (9-2 in 2013), inside interviews with Vegas bookmakers and detailed team stat profiles. Become a CHFF Insider with Scout.com today. 

 

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