At the risk of pointing out the obvious, this is a huge game for the Rams. It almost amounts to a playoff game for the division. A Rams win would all but guarantee the NFC West title, giving them a two-game lead with two games left. While Seattle Seahawks, technically can still win the division under that scenario, it will require the Los Angeles Rams losing it's two remaining games against the Tennessee Titans and San Francisco 49ers, while the Seahawks log wins against the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals. Possible, but not very likely, especially since the Cowboys will have Ezekiel Elliot back for their December 24th. match up with the Seahawks, and may very well be gunning for a playoff spot themselves. A Rams loss, meanwhile, would mean Seattle could win the division by taking it's two remaining games. The Rams would still have a reasonable shot at a wildcard slot, but they would rather win the division and clinch at least one home playoff game. There is also the psychological factor, Seattle has dominated the division over the last five years, and to be the best you have to beat the best at some point.
Cooper Kupp’s Career Game
Rams Offense vs Seahawks Defense:RSS Feed
The Seahawks defense is facing severe injury issues, and they could get worse by gametime on Sunday. Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman are out for the season, as is Cliff Avril. As of Saturday, middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, one of the best in the NFL at his position, was listed as questionable with hamstring issues. My guess is that he will play, but whether he will be his normal self is another question. It looks more likely than not for linebacker K.J. Wright, who will not play, was listed as doubtful, as is defensive end Nazair Jones. That's a lot of talent that either won't play or won’t be at full strength for the Seahawks. The Rams, meanwhile, are expected to have Robert Woods, who was their most effective receiver prior to a shoulder injury sustained against Minnesota Vikings, is back in action. In his absence, rookie receiver Cooper Kupp has stepped up in a big way (Watch Video Above), and Sammy Watkins is an elite talent even if his numbers haven't always reflected that this season. Because the Seahawks are banged up at linebacker and in the secondary, their defensive line probably needs to step up. But when you are talking about the Rams offense, it really starts with running back Todd Gurley, who is having a monster year both running and receiving. Coach Sean McVay has promised to get Gurley more touches this game, and an effective running game would go a long way towards notching a win for the Rams. If both of these units were at full strength it would be an epic match up, and even with the injuries the Seahawk defense playing at home is no walk in the park. But, the Rams may just have too many weapons to deal with in this game.
Rams Defense vs Seahawks Offense:
No quarterback in the NFL has done more with less this season than Russel Wilson, and you can make a very strong argument for him as the league's Most Valuable Player. Wilson is a super-mobile athletic magician, and the Rams defense really needs to keep him in the pocket to win this game. The Seahawks offensive line is probably a little better than they were when these teams met in Los Angeles earlier this year, having added Duane Brown (a multi-time pro bowl player who has also been named to the All-Pro team) at left tackle and with Luke Joeckel back at guard. Even so, this isn't one of the league's top offensive lines, and the Seahawks running game this year has mostly consisted of Wilson. Seattle does have some dangerous receivers, especially Doug Baldwin and tight end Jimmy Graham, a major threat in the red zone. The Rams last week lost cornerback Kayvon Webster for the season, and that's not good. But they do have Trumaine Johnson (early reports that he suffered a concussion against the Eagles were incorrect), and Nickell Robey-Coleman, who has been a pleasant surprise this year, will play a more prominent role at cornerback. Robey-Coleman at a little over 5'8 is at a bit of a height disadvantage against taller receivers, but his bulldog attitude and athletic ability help make up for a lack of stature. The Rams also have one of the better safety tandems in the league with LaMarcus Joyner and John Johnson III. Of course, when discussing the Rams defense, the one name you can't ever forget is Aaron Donald. Russel Wilson this week said Donald is the best defensive player he's ever faced, and not many people would argue with that. He brings back memories of players such as Reggie White and Lawrence Taylor in the offenses have to always account for him on every play. He's THAT good.
Edge: Even (Because of Wilson's magical abilities)
I added this category this week specifically for the Seahawk’s home field advantage this game. In the Rams worst performance of in this 2017 season, they were trounced 24-7 in Minnesota. In my opinion, the Rams offense was out of sync in that game in large part because of the crowd noise generated by the Vikings faithful, and at times I thought Rams quarterback Jared Goff looked a little flustered. Let's not forget, Goff calls a lot of audibles, and that can be a challenge under those conditions. There is a reason the Seahawks crowd is known as the ''12th man," and that isn't just media hype.
Edge: Seattle (by a lot)
This is where the Rams have a big advantage in my opinion. Seattle placekicker Blair Walsh has had a bad year. When he lines up for field goals and even extra points, it's not just a job, it's an adventure. Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein, meanwhile, has been the NFC Special Teams Player of the Month in two consecutive months, and that's no accident. Every week I mention Johnny Hekker is the best punter on the planet, and that hasn't changed since Sunday. Pharoh Cooper is as good a return man as there is in the NFL. And let's not forget Cory Littleton, who leads the NFL in blocked punts. The Rams blocked one punt for a touchdown last week against the Eagles, and just missed blocking another one. Los Angeles has the best special teams in the NFL, and that could be a factor in this game.
Edge: Rams (by a lot)
This is arguably the Rams biggest game since they were blown out by Atlanta Falcons in the 2004 NFC Divisional Playoffs, and I expect a tough, physical game. It will be as close to a playoff atmosphere as you can find during the regular season. It could easily go either way...but I think the Rams are a little more complete than Seattle, especially with all of the Seahawks injuries.
Rams 24 Seattle 21