It’s an NFC West showdown of epic proportions as the (9-4) Los Angeles Rams take on the (8-5) Seattle Seahawks (4:05 PM ET Sunday on FOX). On the line is first place in the NFC West.
Following a season that saw them reach the second round of the playoffs, the Seahawks came into 2017 with high expectations. After all, the team was just three seasons removed from their NFC Championship-winning campaign and reaching the Super Bowl.
Seattle opened on the road against the Green Bay Packers, a team that in recent years (remember the Fail Mary?) has become one of their biggest rivals. Once again, it was the Packers that had Seattle’s number as they defeated them at Lambeau Field. Seattle would go on to win five of their next six games, including a win over the Rams in early October.
The Seahawks’ next loss would come about a month later when they lost a rare home game against the Washington Redskins. A worse loss came a week later however as despite winning against the Arizona Cardinals, Seattle lost the key piece to their defense as Richard Sherman ruptured his Achilles tendon. The loss of Sherman wasn’t the only bad thing to happen that day as fellow Legion of Boom original member, Kam Chancellor, went missing for the season with a neck injury sustained in that game.
Without Sherman and Chancellor, Seattle has gone 2-2, all the while playing a pretty tough schedule. The team lost to the (8-5) Falcons and (9-4) AFC South-leading Jacksonville Jaguars, but picked up a quality win, at that time, against the NFL’s top team in the standings, the (11-2) Philadelphia Eagles.
Despite having one half of the legion down and out, Seattle has held their own. Also, despite being without these two, CenturyLink Field is still one of the toughest places for any opposing team to play. The Seahawks have already beaten the Rams once this year and did so on the road. They will certainly have an advantage when they take on their divisional rivals in Seattle this Sunday.
Rams Season in Review
When the Rams moved to LA for the 2016 season, there was a lot of excitement and anticipation around the team. Fans packed the old Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, once the home of the Rams (1946-79), welcoming football back to the city in a big way. However, the success of the home team didn’t immediately follow as the Rams went just 4-12 on the year, including losing their last seven and losing five of six games in LA.
The 2016 failures were well-documented but they didn’t carry over into 2017. Los Angeles got a new head coach and new fulltime starting QB as second year-draftee Jared Goff was handed the reins to the team. This led to a 3-1 start, which included a win over the Dallas Cowboys.
The Rams still had trouble winning in LA however as they lost early to the Redskins and again to the Seahawks. This was before going on a four-game winning streak and streak of winning six of their next seven. During this stretch, the Rams offense was massive, scoring less than 26 points just once. Excluding the lone loss of the seven-game stretch, against the NFC North-leading Minnesota Vikings which made the team seem human, the Rams scored 27, 33, 51, 33, 26 and 32 points. Even in last week’s loss to Philadelphia, LA scored 35. It was their defense however, which during the seven-game stretch had allowed over 17 points just twice, that allowed a season-high 43 points to the current NFC East champions.
The First Time They Met
For years the Seahawks have been the team to beat in the NFC West and this year that could end up being the case once again.
When Seattle and LA met earlier this season, the Seahawks won a defensive showdown by a final score of 16-10.
Goff passed for 288 yards, which on its face isn’t bad, but it was on a passing effort that saw him complete less than 50 percent of his passes and throw two interceptions. His QBR was just 31.2 for the game. In the running game, Todd Gurley II, carried just 14 times for 43 yards. The team as a whole had just 100 rushing yards on the day.
It wasn’t that Seattle did any better offensively however. Russell Wilson passed for just 198 yards with one touchdown and one interception and the rushing game mustered just 62 yards on the ground, including 39 from their one-two combo of Thomas Rawls and Eddie Lacy.
Seattle’s win put them even with the Rams at 3-2. It was the last time this season that Seattle still had a handle on the divisional title. That is until this Sunday, as the winner of this game will be in control of their own destiny to win the NFC West.
A Few Stats for This NFL Game
- Seattle has lost just one game in their last 14 when coming off a loss.
- LA has not lost back-to-back games at all this season.
- The Seahawks are just 2-4-1 ATS in their last seven games.
- The Rams are 1-11 SU in their last 12 games played in Seattle.
Our Preview’s Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks Predictions & Betting Picks
Seattle has managed to turn their season around and has done well to overcome the injuries they have sustained this year. That’s mostly because of Wilson, who has led the offense to 32 of their 33 offensive touchdowns this year.
The Seahawks have the league’s 10th best offense overall, averaging over 24 points per game. They’ll be faced with a Rams defense that is ranked seventh in that category, allowing just over 18 points per game. Defensively, it is worth noting that LA gives up a heaping amount of rushing yards (145.17) when playing on the road, ranked 29th in road run defense this year.
- Likely due to this game being in Seattle, the Seahawks opened as favorites. They currently have two points over their opponents with several of the United States’ online sports betting companies. Pick Seattle to cover the spread as they continue to show why the 12th Man isn’t just a mantra, but rather a legitimate home field advantage that isn’t felt anywhere else in the league. So the prediction is to bet on Seattle -2pts @ -110 with Bovada.
- Also, look for the under on the total points likely to be scored in this NFL game, especially if this matchup is anything like their first meeting. Go under 47.5pts @ odds of -110 with Bovada or MyBookie.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.