Week 1 went about as bad as it could go for the Los Angeles Rams and they get no time dwell on that opening week performance. The Rams’ home opener is up this week and it’s another division rival on the schedule as they take on Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks.
Both the Rams and the Seahawks would like to forget Week 1. Though the Seahawks got a win, it was one of the most uninspiring performances of the weekend as they needed a last-minute touchdown to edge out the Miami Dolphins 12-10. Obviously the less said about the Rams 28-0 loss to the San Francisco 49ers the better.
An 0-2 start would be awful for the Rams and they have traditionally given the Seahawks a ton of trouble, but Seattle has a lot to prove after their uninspiring opening week performance.
Rams Offense vs. Seahawks Defense
This is where something needs to change for the Rams as their offense was abysmal in San Francisco. QB Case Keenum simply inspires no fear in defenses and that allows teams to load up to stop Todd Gurley in the backfield. Last week Gurley ran for only 47 yards, but had 52 yards after contact. In other words, Gurley had to consistently break tackles just to get back to the line of scrimmage.
Things won’t get much easier against the Seahawks who still have one of the top defenses in the NFL as they held the Dolphins to only 214 total yards. The secondary is still elite and the pass rush is dangerous, but in the Rams’ 23-17 victory last year, Gurley averaged over 4 yards per carry.
That is precisely where the Rams offensive attack must start as Gurley has to get going in Week 2. The Rams also have to take more shots downfield. In their attempts to get Tavon Austin the ball in space, they too often stick with short routes and screens which allows the the defense to play tight without fear of getting beat deep.
The player to watch will obviously be Keenum as another bad performance, at home this time, will likely bring about some serious dissatisfaction from the fans and calls for him to be replaced will grow louder. Whether it’s Jared Goff or Sean Mannion to do so, as the official backup has yet to be named, remains to be seen, but it would seem likely that Keenum is on a relatively short leash.
The Rams have had success running the ball in the past against the Seahawks and that will need to happen again, but a threat through the air will be necessary more than ever.
Rams Defense vs. Seahawks Offense
It has been the defense that has stepped up for the Rams in previous performances against the Seahawks and that will need to be the case again.
In fairness to the Rams D, they weren’t as awful as last week’s score suggests as two of the 49ers touchdowns came after turnovers. Additionally, they had a stretch during the second and third quarters where they forced a fumble and then held the 49ers to five consecutive three-and-outs, only for the offense to never take advantage.
The Seahawks offense is a much more dangerous unit with tons of playmakers all over the field. Russell Wilson looks set to start despite the ankle injury suffered last week and the team has named Thomas Rawls the starter at running back now that they feel more comfortable with a larger workload after his recovery from an ACL tear last year.
Doug Baldwin is Wilson’s top target and it will be on Trumaine Johnson to try and hold him in check. But the Rams must also keep an eye on Tyler Lockett who is one of the league’s most dangerous players.
Ultimately, it will be on the famed defensive line to throw a wrench into the Seahawks plans. The ends holding contain on Russell Wilson will be key as he makes far too many plays when he is able to escape outside of the pocket, and Aaron Donald getting pressure up the middle always affects things.
Last season the defense was able to create turnovers and win the field position battle and that will need to happen again.
The Rams have an uphill battle in their home opener, but there are some questions surrounding this Seahawks team as well and whether last week’s performance was a fluke or a sign of bigger troubles.
Last season’s Rams win came due to the defense creating turnovers, and the Rams effectively running the ball. Gurley sounds motivated to make up for last week’s dud, but he’s gonna need some help from Keenum and the passing game and Seattle’s secondary would seem to have the advantage in that matchup.
The Rams will look better and will definitely get points on the boards, but the Seahawks offense will do enough and the defense won’t be quite able to make up for the offense. I see the Rams falling 24-13.