This season has gone about as bad as it could possibly go for the Los Angeles Rams, but they have the opportunity to end things on a high note by completely ruining the playoff hopes of one of their biggest rivals in the Seattle Seahawks.
The first game between these two teams was a thriller with the Seahawks prevailing with a touchdown in the final minute. A win for Seattle along with a Detroit Lions win over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night would push Seattle to the postseason. But the Rams, led by former Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner, will be extremely motivated to ensure that doesn’t happen.
Rams offense vs. Seahawks defense
The obvious difference between this meeting and the first game is Baker Mayfield being at quarterback for the Rams. John Wolford gave the Rams little through the air, but Mayfield has been able to open up their passing attack to a much higher level. But it is the ground game where the Seahawks have been vulnerable this season and Cam Akers has been huge recently.
Granted Seattle has allowed 77 and 75 rushing yards the last two weeks, but they gave up at least 161 yards in each of the five games before that including 171 to the Rams in the first meeting. The Rams have rushed for more than 200 yards in two of their last four games.
Akers is averaging 120.5 yards in the last two contests and Mayfield is known to be much more effective when he has a run game working. Establishing Akers will open up things up through the air and tight end Tyler Higbee stands to be a main beneficiary.
Rams defense vs. Seahawks offense
The Seahawks have also rediscovered their run game in recent weeks with Kenneth Walker III rushing for over 100 yards in each of the last two games. He left the first meeting between these two teams early after suffering an ankle injury, however, so the Rams must make sure to not let him get going as that just opens things up for the Seahawks through the air.
Both DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett are set to be over 1,000 yards and Geno Smith has utilized all three of his tight ends in Noah Fant, Will Dissly and Colby Parkinson.
Wagner will obviously be leading the charge from an emotional standpoint, but the Rams will need Jalen Ramsey to be on point, and perhaps create a turnover or two. The Seahawks offensive line has also been questionable at times as well so getting pressure on Geno Smith should be a point of emphasis as well.
Keys to Victory
1. Win the turnover battle
The Seahawks are top-10 in the NFL in takeaways and have generally been successful when they are able to create turnovers and give their offense a short field to work with. It is imperative for the Rams to take care of the ball and get pressure on Smith to maybe bring back the old Geno that we know and love from his New York Jets days.
2. Keep the Cam Akers run going
The revival of Akers is something nobody saw coming as he wasn’t even supposed to be on the team. But he has been running the ball excellently, opening up the rest of the offense. The Seahawks defense is still very weak on the ground and taking advantage of that, and controlling the clock, should help lead to a win.