There are few playoff implications in this game, with the Rams already eliminated and Seattle unable to catch the Cardinals in the NFC West. However, they still have to play the game and Seattle will be anxious to maintain their high level of play as they strive for a third straight SuperBowl berth. Jeff Fisher and Les Snead can consider themselves fortunate to have an owner in Stan Kroenke who doesn’t seem to possess an itchy trigger finger when it comes to his staff. In 4yrs at the helm Fisher’s Rams have not finished above .500 and cannot do so either this year. It is the QB spot that has again been the problem in St Louis with the trade for Nick Foles not leading to improved play at the position as hoped. Rams fans are again looking to next year in hopes that the franchise can unearth another Kurt Warner and return to post-season relevance. At 9-5 and riding a 5 game winning streak Seattle are locked into a wildcard playoff spot, likely the 5th seed and a wildcard visit to the winner of the NFC East. With Russell Wilson performing at a level never before seen (19TDs and no interceptions in his last 5 starts) no team is relishing welcoming Pete Carroll’s outfit for a playoff game.
Three keys to the game:
1. Can Seattle protect Russell Wilson?
In the week 1 matchup between these teams Wilson was sacked 6 times and hurried a lot more. Since week 7 however, Wilson has been sacked no more than twice in a game, which is a key factor in his effectiveness as a passer over that period.
2. Can St Louis score on the Seahawks D?
After an inauspicious start Seattle’s defense has begun to resemble those we have been accustomed to in the Pete Carrol era, ranking 2nd in the league in scoring defense. By contrast the Rams offense has been completely anaemic since their wk1 victory over Seattle and sit 31st in the league in scoring.
3. Do Seattle even try and run the ball?
With Marshawn Lynch side-lined and Thomas Rawls gone for the season this game will likely rest on the arm of Russell Wilson. Bryce Brown and, the recently returned, Christine Michael figure to carry the load but with the strength of the Rams D being their front 4, they are unlikely to be effective.
Match-up to Watch: Todd Gurley vs Bobby Wagner
On a defense full of superstars Wagner might be the most important cog as he is the centrepiece of the unit. This season Gurley has shown why St Louis had him rated as the #1 player in the draft and provided glimpses that he could be a dominant player in the league. He has, however, had periods where he has been shut down completely and it will be intriguing to see which player shows up this week in his first performance against the Seattle D.
Prediction: Seattle Seahawks
There is seemingly no stopping this Seahawks team and although they lost the week 1 matchup with the Rams this season, Seattle is no longer the dysfunctional team it was entering the year and should brush aside a lacklustre St Louis outfit.