If you knew that a pair of combatants were on losing streaks, one four and the other three consecutive defeats, you may think the contest was between a couple weak NFL teams. In fact, the two teams riding these losing streaks are a pair of squads that met two years ago in the playoffs, and one of them is the defending NFC Champion.
That’s right, the Atlanta Falcons and Los Angeles Rams are riding losing streaks as long as the number of games they lost in recent glory years. So, what is wrong with these two NFC squads?
Both have been projected to win even while they have been losing. One of the most difficult things for a football team to do is win when they are expected too despite riding a losing streak. The Falcons were favored on the road last week, and bet up to a 3 point favorite over the home standing Arizona Cardinals, who had won their prior game.
That wasn’t the situation for the Falcons to end their losing skid, a run that includes them being the point spread favorite twice. This week, the Falcons are getting points at home when they host the Rams. The difference between getting points at home or giving them on the road is night and day in the motivation game.
Then there are the Rams. They had lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Seattle Seahawks while allowing those two teams a combined 85 points, and then were favored over the undefeated San Francisco 49ers. You can understand why the Rams were favored in their home game last Sunday against their NFC West Division rival, everybody figured they wouldn’t allow San Francisco to bury them by 2½ games in their division race.
It was sound thinking from a need/want perspective, but for a struggling Rams team, to be told that despite recent losses you are going to win this week, is a dagger to motivation. Now, after that loss, the betting world is again telling the Rams not to worry, even though they have lost three in a row they will beat the Falcons, who have won only one game this season.
The fact that the Rams are a bet-on road favorite off a loss keeps them in a dead zone motivationally, while the Falcons go from a bet-on road favorite to a motivated bet-against home underdog.
From a season-to-season perspective, the Rams are the team that lost the Super Bowl the prior season, a predicament that most often leads to a negative season the next year, particularly against the point spread. Despite the Rams current woes, they have a winning record against the point spread this season, 4-2, but are unlikely to up that to 5-2.
The Falcons missed the playoffs last season, and could be in full decline under head coach Dan Quinn. They have only beaten the point spread once this year, also in a game when they were underdogs at home in a second week contest against the Philadelphia Eagles, which resulted in a 24-20 Atlanta victory.
That win over the Eagles five weeks ago, was the only game this season in which the Falcons had the motivational edge over their opponent, until this week.
I know it seems weird that the Rams could lose four in a row, but do you know when a team is most likely to lose a fourth straight?
When they’ve already lost three and are headed into a negative motivational spot.
Qoxhi Picks: Atlanta Falcons (+3) over Los Angeles Rams