Coming off their first loss of the season, the (8-1) Los Angeles Rams host the (4-4) Seattle Seahawks on Sunday with the division on the line (4:25 PM ET). If the Rams win, despite this being just the 10th game of the NFL season, they will all but ensure their second NFC West crown in as many years.
To say that this season has been a successful one for the Rams would be an understatement. Los Angeles went undefeated for the first half of the season, and while it wasn’t the league’s toughest schedule by any means, the Rams took care of business like good teams do. They won the tough games on their schedule too. That included a 12-point victory over the (6-2) Los Angeles Chargers and seven-point win over the (5-3) Minnesota Vikings.
While some of the Rams games have been blowouts (we have come to expect that when teams play the Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals in 2018), much of their contests have actually been close. Save for those three, the Rams have played more competitive games than not including a two-point victory over the Green Bay Packers which almost went the other way. There was also a three-point win over the Denver Broncos and a two-point win over Seattle when these teams met the first time this season about a month ago.
It is a great testament to the team, both offensively and defensively that they were able to remain undefeated, the NFL’s last undefeated team in fact, by winning no matter what. Close games, blowouts, goal line stands late in the fourth quarter – those are the marks of a top team and the Rams have shown all of that in 2018.
Los Angeles was 4-0 when they traveled to Seattle in October. At the time both teams were still very much fighting for the division. Seattle was 2-2 but a win would have put them right back in the race, just one game back of the NFC West-leading Rams. To the Seahawks credit, the game was close. Seattle played Los Angeles tougher than any team had to that point in the early season and it was the first game the Rams won that was decided by less than a field goal’s margin. The two teams kept pace in the first half leaving the score tied 17-17 going into the half. In the third quarter, it was actually Seattle that outperformed their undefeated counterparts as the team took a 31-24 lead into the fourth quarter.
Todd Gurley, who is having one of the best seasons of a running back ever and who will likely be crowned the MVP (though it will be a tough race against the Kansas City Chiefs Patrick Maholmes who is just going nuts), scored his third touchdown of the game early in the fourth but it didn’t put the Rams ahead as Cairo Santos missed the extra point. It wasn’t until six minutes left in the game that LA took back the lead on what turned out to be the game-winning field goal by Santos who overall was 5-6 kicking (field goals and extra points) on the day.
For LA, that was their statement win and for Seattle it was just a tough loss and one that seemed to define how their season had been going to that point. The Seahawks did bounce back and have won four of their last six to keep themselves in the playoff picture for one of the conference’s two wildcard spots. At 4-4, they are currently tied with the Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons for that final spot.
There is no denying that the Rams are one of the best teams in football. Record-wise they are tied with the Chiefs at 8-1 for the NFL’s top records with a showdown looming in just two weeks. The New Orleans Saints, the team who beat the Seahawks and currently look like the favorites to win the conference and perhaps even the Super Bowl, aren’t far behind at 7-1. This is the meat of Los Angeles’ schedule: last week against the Saints, this week against the Seahawks, and next week against the Chiefs. It’s a tough stretch and while the Seahawks game, record-wise, is the easiest left on the slate, this is a divisional match up so in no way is this a gimme for the Rams.
Fortunately, they will be bringing their league best offense to Century Link Field, a prospect that is certainly daunting for any defense. The Rams lead the NFL in total yards, yards per game, rushing yards and rushing yards per game. They are third in points per game (33.2), second in total points, fourth in passing yards and fifth in passing yards per game.
Jared Goff is having a phenomenal season. The 24-year-old has a QB rating of 112.9 (5th in NFL), 2,816 passing yards (3rd) and 20 touchdowns (4th). He is one of the top quarterbacks in the league but the beauty of the Rams offense and why they have been so successful is that they don’t need Goff to put up big numbers to succeed. That is because they have the best non-QB in the NFL on their roster in Todd Gurley.
Among his position, Gurley is tops in the NFL in yards, rushing yards per game and touchdowns, of which he has 12. But that’s only in the running game. Add in Gurley’s 37 receptions for 362 yards and four touchdowns and you have an incredible dual threat who can burn you any number of ways. Defensively, Seattle has done poorly against the run, ranking 21st of the league’s 32 teams by allowing opposing rushers an average of 114.8 yards per game.
Gurley went off when the teams first met, scoring three touchdowns and over 100 all-purpose yards. All that being said, the Seahawks did hold Gurley to just 77 rushing yards, his fourth lowest output on the season. They will have to do that again if they have any hope of winning on Sunday.
Our Preview’s Seattle Seahawks vs Los Angeles Rams Predictions & Betting Picks Verdict
Entering this game, the Rams are 9.5-point favorites with the American-friendly online odds setters, which might seem lofty if these two teams were playing in Seattle, but they are not. They are playing in LA, where the Seahawks are just 1-5 ATS in their last five games. The team is also just 2-8 ATS in their last 10 as underdogs.
- So the first of our preview’s Seattle Seahawks vs LA Rams predictions is to look for the Rams to cover. Bet LA -9.5pts @ best odds of -105 with Bovada.
- The total points to be scored is set at 50 which is a little tougher. That being said, Seattle does average 23.5 points per game. Take the over 50pts @ biggest odds of -107 with BetOnline, as this one should be high-scoring.
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.