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By: Blaine Grisak
The Rams are one-point underdogs, but will go for the season sweep against Seahawks in Week 11
It doesn’t seem like that long ago that expectations changed for the Los Angeles Rams when they surprised the Seattle Seahawks with a 30-13 win in Week 1. Now, the Rams sit disappointingly at 3-6 while the Seahawks are at 6-4 and in the driver seat for a playoff spot.
Despite the 3-6 record, there is nothing that the Rams would like more than to upset the Seahawks and sweep the season series of a division rival. According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Rams are one-point underdogs at home.
Los Angeles is at a bit of a turning point. Following a three-game losing streak and sitting at 3-6, the chances of making the postseason are very slim. In ESPN’s latest model, the Rams have a 14 percent chance of making the postseason which is the lowest in the entire NFC. A win however, keeps those slight chances alive. Meanwhile, a fourth straight loss would put those chance to bed.
There’s no doubt that the Rams schedule over the second-half of the season does get easier. Only games against the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers look like guaranteed losses. DeShaun Watson is out for the season which which makes the Cleveland Browns game potentially a little easier. But whether the schedule catapults the Rams into a playoff spot or out of a top-7 pick is the big question.
Rams offense vs. Seahawks defense
Since these two teams last played in Week 1, the Seahawks defense is much improved. The vaunted Seahawks secondary has been much better. Since Week 2, they have been a top-10 pass defense. First-round pick Devon Witherspoon has looked like a contender for defensive rookie of the year.
It’s true that Sam Howell of the Washington Commanders just threw for 312 yards and three touchdowns against this Seahawks secondary, but don’t let that fool you. For the Rams to win this game, they must rely on the run game where the Seahawks have remained slightly average. They rank 18th in run defense EPA since Week 2 and their 116 rushing yards per game allowed ranks 20th. The Rams need to remain balanced or it could be a long day.
Matchup to Watch: Puka Nacua vs. Devon Witherspoon
This will be a battle between two impressive rookies this season. Nacua has changed the Rams offense at times while Withspoon has chanced the Seahawks defense. The Seattle rookie missed the Week 1 meeting between these two teams. It will be interesting to see how often these two players line up across from one another. Either way, it should be a good matchup.
Rams defense vs. Seahawks offense
Back in Week 1, the Rams defense surprisingly shutout the Seahawks offense in the second half of that game. Over the past few weeks, this is a Rams defense that has struggled at times like many thought they would coming into the season. They’ve allowed explosive plays and played undisciplined in moments. Look for the Seahawks to exploit that.
Matchup to Watch: Ahkello Witherspoon vs. DK Metcalf
Over the past month, it seems like Witherspoon is good to get beat at least once vertically every game. Metcalf meanwhile is very good stretching the field and Geno Smith can hit the deep ball. Look for the Seahawks to try to exploit this matchup and stretch the Rams defense.
The Rams will be getting healthier coming out of the bye week and before the season I would have predicted this as a Rams win. If one thing is guaranteed, it’s that the Rams always play the Seahawks tough and that may just be good enough to get a win. Following three straight losses, the Rams may catch the Seahawks by surprise and get overlooked as Seattle has a daunting schedule ahead.
Still, the Seahawks have improved since Week 1 and it really starts with Witherspoon at cornerback. Matthew Stafford may throw at least one interception as he returns from a thumb injury. This game may be close, but it could be one of those close games that the Seahawks win, much like they did twice against the Rams last season.
Score: Seahawks 24, Rams 23