The Los Angeles Rams (5-3) host the Seattle Seahawks (6-2) for the coveted top spot in the NFC West on 11/15 at 4:25 PM ET. Let’s review each of the four points: offense, defense, special teams and intangibles.
1st Stance: Offense
At the midpoint of the NFL season, there are a few things that are certain and one of those is that Seahawks QB Russell Wilson is a complete stud. He leads the league in TD passes (26), looks like the early odds-on favorite for MVP, and has the league’s best QBR at 120.8. That being said, by comparison he had the same turnover line against Miami as Rams QB Jared Goff (2 fumbles, 2 INTs each). The main difference is that Russ gets the pass of “it happens sometimes” while Goff gets killed by the fans/media; some fans are even asking if he should be benched in favor of backup John Wolford.
Rams fans and the media are quick to point out that there is a chasm between the two, and the tape doesn’t lie. However, here’s a quick trivia question: Which QB has more TOs this season? The answer is below in the “4th Stance: Intangibles” section – let’s see how much you know.
Both teams are going to want to start fast on offense; the Rams under McVay are 30-0 with a halftime lead and unfortunately for the Rams, Seattle tends to to start fast. The Rams need to get them into 3rd down situations. Per Ben Baldwin:
3rd down offense and defense.
— Computer Cowboy (@benbbaldwin) November 10, 2020
The edge goes to the Seahawks on offense, but I like the Rams defense in this matchup. I also like the Rams offense versus Seahawks defense. It would not surprise me to see a statistically better showing for the Rams offense. Goff and the offense look to bounce back after a poor showing in week 8 and, really, the first half of the season – they are scoring fewer points per game (24.1) than any other team with a winning record except for the Bears. Per the voice of the Rams, J.B. Long:
The Rams point production (24ppg) is significantly underselling its potency & efficiency (#5 DVOA).
Not finishing drives (17th in TD%)
Turnovers (1.5 per game)
Kicking (4 missed FG, 3 missed XP)
Should be averaging 30+ ppg. Due for progression to the mean? pic.twitter.com/Detp8Rrj98
— J.B. Long (@JB_Long) November 11, 2020
2nd Stance: Defense
Defense for these two teams is a tale of two cities. The defense for Seattle has been abysmal to this point in the season and even their local media is calling it “a complete embarrassment” and saying “It’s official: Seattle’s “D” is now an F.” Whew, boy.
At the mid-point of the NFL season, the Seahawk are on pace to break the record for yards allowed in a season – right now they are ~456 yards per game and the record, set by the 2012 New Orleans Saints, is 440 yards per game. There is talent galore on defense, but getting All-Pro safety Jamal Adams, Pro Bowl defensive end Carlos Dunlap, Quandre Diggs, Quinton Dunbar and Shaquill Griffin on the field at the same time has been a challenge.
The Rams defense, however, has been outstanding all season. They look to improve as they come out of the week 9 bye not only healthy, but ready to add resources. After losing promising rookie Terrell Burgess, the Rams will be bringing back rookie stud FS Jordan Fuller and welcoming the long-awaited world-eating DL A’Shawn Robinson:
McVay: Plan is for Jordan Fuller "to be ready to roll" + A'Shawn Robinson expected to make Rams debut vs. Seahawks
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) November 9, 2020
Per PFF, the Rams have the 4th highest-graded defense in the league:
PFF’s highest-graded defenses:
4. Rams pic.twitter.com/hHnk8N3o34
— PFF (@PFF) November 7, 2020
The Rams have only surrendered 33 points the entire season in the 2nd half of games, and not all of that is on the defense. Last game against Miami, the Rams defense allowed 93 yards in the air – the longest gain for 15 yards and it was the only completion longer than 9 yards. The defense only surrendered 145 yards total for the game and the longest drive they surrendered was 33 yards.
Something will have to give in this game, as although through Week 9 the Rams defense has allowed the second fewest TD passes (9) and the second fewest passing yards (1,577), they are facing a prolific offense with a lot of weapons that are leading the league in several categories.
The Rams have a clear advantage when comparing the defenses. Can the Rams defense hold Seattle enough for the Rams offense to score some points? Let’s hope it’s not a track meet…
3rd Stance: Special Teams
Special teams edge goes to Seattle in almost every facet. Jason Myers has been perfect on the season for FGs and has had no attempts less than 40 yards; the Rams are still trying to figure out the kicking game and have, for now, inserted a rusty Kai Forbath in the lead role (he already missed a crucial field goal in the 4th quarter vs the Dolphins in Week 8). The Seahawks have two return specialists, David Moore for punts and Travis Homer for KOs, that will give the Rams fits.
The Rams are challenged in stopping the return game, as evidenced against Miami. Additionally, the Rams do not offer much in the return game either, which has been less than optimal. The only bright spot has been punting: Johnny Hekker is having another All-Pro season to this point, but his near equal in Michael Dickson is on the opposing sideline. The Rams need to keep this from being a punt laden game to come out on top, and will need Forbath to start being automatic from under 50.
4th Stance: Intangibles
- Coaching – Sean McVay versus Pete Carroll. McVay has a 4-2 lead in this series and the Rams have always played tough against the division rivals. Both coaches align culturally with their teams and emote complete player loyalty to the game plans; although McVay has the edge in record, this is a push between the two.
- Trend/Mojo – The stock is down right now for both teams, which makes each of them equally dangerous. Both are coming off stinging losses and want to get back onto a winning track.
- Post of the week from Jourdan Rodrigue – If you are not following Jourdan, you are missing out, she is the BEST. If you are not subscribing to The Athletic, you are REALLY missing out as she goes deep into Rams coverage that you should not miss.
Sean McVay says that DT A’Shawn Robinson will make his Rams debut this week. “He sure looks good.”
— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) November 9, 2020
Rams fans have been waiting all season for this news!
- Odds and ends:
- At this point in the season, Wilson has 10 TOs (8 INT, 2 fumbles, INT rate at 2.7%) and Goff has 8 TOs (6 INT, 2 fumbles, INT rate at 2.2%). Who protects the ball more?
- Like the Sol pants? Wonder why the Rams didn’t wear them to start the season? Funny as it sounds, blame COVID 19:
Pandemic prevented Rams from wearing yellow pants earlier in season https://t.co/ySf7pzYUTL
— Rams Wire (@TheRamsWire) November 7, 2020
- Key Injuries:
- Seattle Seahawks
- Questionable for this week: Duane Brown (OT, knee), Ethan Pocic (C, concussion), Greg Olsen (TE, foot), Shaquill Griffin (CB, hamstring), Ugo Amadi (SAF, hamstring), Chris Carson (RB, foot), Benson Mayowa (DE, ankle), Carlos Hyde (RB, hamstring), Mike Iupati (OG, back), Quinton Dunbar (CB, knee), K.J. Wright (OLB, ankle)
- Injured Reserve, expected to return this week: Neiko Thorpe (CB, sports hernia), Phil Haynes (OG, hip), Lano Hill (SAF, back)
- Physically Unable to Perform, expected to return this week: Rashaad Penny (RB, knee – ACL)
- Doubtful for Return this week: Bryan Mone (DT, ankle)
- Injured Reserve, expected to return week 11: Phillip Dorsett (WR, foot)
- Injured Reserve: Marquise Blair (SAF, knee – ACL), Bruce Irvin (OLB, knee – ACL), Patrick Carr (RB, undisclosed), Branden Jackson (DE, spine)
- Los Angeles Rams
- Questionable for this week: Darrell Henderson (RB, thigh), David Edwards (OG, abdomen), Cooper Kupp (WR, oblique)
- Injured Reserve, expected to return this week: Jordan Fuller (SS, neck), Joe Noteboom (OG, calf)
- Injured Reserve, expected to return week 11: Obo Okoronkwo (LB, elbow)
- Injured Reserve: Terrell Burgess (SAF, ankle), Justin Lawler (LB, foot), Travin Howard (LB, knee – meniscus)
- Seattle Seahawks
- Weather at SoFi stadium will be perfect, always. The designers made sure of it.
The Rams will win this game at home to stay undefeated at SoFi. Seattle will score but will also struggle at times against the Rams defense, with Wilson forcing the ball into windows he shouldn’t. The Rams will finally have a good day on offense and improve on their tiering:
Week 9 NFL Tiers (pending MNF)
–Bucs fall out of top tier after last night's debacle
–Still no idea what to make of the Rams
–The Vikings might not be That Bad ™ pic.twitter.com/2iqW2SeNCx
— Computer Cowboy (@benbbaldwin) November 9, 2020
8 games in and the Rams are still somewhat of a conundrum, this game will start to erase some doubts as the Rams win at home 38 to 20.
This week was Veteran’s Day – please make sure to thank a vet this week!
Our 3rd Annual #SaluteToService Week begins today!
We are excited to honor and recognize our Veterans, members of the military and the non-profits that support them all year round! ⤵️@TeamRubicon@wwp @BobHopeUSO@SoCal_RedCross@usvetsinc @VetsandPlayers @TAPSorg pic.twitter.com/mBVkGBeHMf
— Rams Community (@RamsCommunity) November 9, 2020