The Los Angeles Rams are looking to bounce back from a disappointing loss as they hit the road to take on the Seattle Seahawks in Week 5 on Thursday Night Football.
The Rams suffered their first loss of the 2021 NFL season against a formidable NFC West opponent in the Arizona Cardinals. They will be squaring off against a Seahawks team that managed to secure their first divisional win by beating the San Francisco 49ers in Week 4.
Rams Offense vs. Seahawks Defense
The offense for L.A. endured its first underwhelming performance of the year after a garbage-time touchdown gave them just 20 points against a vulnerable Arizona defense. Quarterback Matthew Stafford and head coach Sean McVay took responsibility for their shortcomings on this side of the ball with a pledge to use the short week to get back on track.
For McVay, this includes getting wide receiver Robert Woods more involved in the offense after recording just 15 catches for 172 yards and two touchdowns so far this season. Although the Rams had three starters listed as limited participants on their official injury report in running back Darrell Henderson (ribs), safety Taylor Rapp (ankle) and tight end Tyler Higbee (ankle), they are sporting a clean bill of health on offense.
The Seahawks defense has had their own trouble trying to stop the run this season, giving up the most rushing yards per game (152.0). They have not fared much better through the air either after allowing the fifth-most passing yards (292.5) so far.
This makes for a favorable matchup for the Rams offense to get back on track in a big way.
Rams Defense vs. Seahawks Offense
The Rams defense caught some flak for its inability to contain the highest-scoring offense in the league and things will not be getting any easier with a showdown against quarterback Russell Wilson. This usually-stingy group proved to be quite vulnerable both through the air and on the ground as they allowed quarterback Kyler Murray to pick them apart through the air while the run game gave up 216 yards and two touchdowns.
Murray’s mobility proved to be quite the headache for defensive coordinator Raheem Morris and Wilson is certainly more than capable of giving them similar fits. It will also be interesting to see if Jalen Ramsey lines up primarily in the slot or if he is relegated to locking down one of their top two wide receivers in D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett.
Surprisingly enough, the Seahawks have gone away from the run game so far this year, averaging just 107.0 yards per game (17th) on 91 attempts (t-23rd). With running back Chris Carson sidelined with a neck injury, they will be relying on Wilson to work his magic under center more than ever.
Seattle’s offensive line is struggling to protect their star quarterback after allowing three sacks and six QB hits in Week 4. They should have their work cut out trying to contain defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who went sack-less last week and always makes it a point to bring Wilson down.
Keys To Victory
1. Get Back To Basics On Defense
The experiment with Ramsey in the slot has shown off the two-time All-Pro’s ability to play all over the field. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of his move to the inside is that it has opened things up on the outside for opposing offenses to exploit between cornerbacks David Long and Darious Williams.
The tandem of Metcalf and Lockett could once again help take the top off the secondary if left unchecked. Morris may be better off letting Ramsey take one of them out of the passing game and putting the pressure on others to step up around Wilson.
2. Keep The Offense Fresh
It became evident that the Rams offense had fallen into a habit of relying on the same players for their production. After all, their failed goal-line stand last week was highlighted by a QB sneak and two intended passes for wide receiver Cooper Kupp that ultimately resulted in a turnover.
L.A. made efforts to ensure that they had a surplus of weapons on offense and they are still working on ways to spread the wealth effectively. A matchup against a porous defense like Seattle’s makes for an ideal opportunity to get their versatile attack going by getting players like Woods, Van Jefferson and Higbee more invloved.
3. Stick To The Run Game
Henderson hit the ground running in his return from a rib injury by averaging 6.4 yards per carry in Week 4. Although the Cardinals’ early lead forced the Rams to go away from the run game, they will need to try and stick to their guns this time around in a savory matchup against the league’s worst rush defense.
Establishing a good balance with Henderson will prevent Seattle’s offense from getting on the field and open things up for chances in the passing game