Week 15 Preview: Breaking down the Seattle Seahawk defense against the L.A. Rams offense

Throughout the NFL years, past present, and future, the team you started with in Week 1 is rarely the same Week 15. Each circumstance can be different with player movement coming from injuries, trades, suspensions etc. The changes often booster the roster, but they can also create doubt moving forward. That is the story for the Los Angeles Rams offense & Seattle Seahawks defense this seaspm.

According to NFL.com, the Seahawks’ defense rank in the following categories:

Overall: 13th            Pass: 16th           Rush: 8th

As of Week 15, the front-seven remains the strength of the Seahawks’ defense – more so the front-four. Here are the big-name Seattle players either out or doubtful against the Rams: cornerback Richard Sherman, inside linebacker Bobby Wagner, strong safety Kam Chancellor, outside linebacker K.J. Wright and defensive end Cliff Avril. The Seahawks will feature Michael Wilhoite, Terence Garvin, D.J. Alexander, Bradley McDougald and Justin Coleman to replace them.

Every year, it seems that teams figure out the Seattle defense. The Seahawks start slow and once Week 7 hits, they explode. This unit came together in 2011, with Sherman, Browner, Chancellor, and Thomas. They tore up the league in 2012, and have been wreaking havoc ever since. Unfortunately, that unit won’t take the field this Sunday. The Seahawks must start a unit that is untested and primed for a letdown.

What does this mean for the Rams’ offense?

According to NFL.com, the Rams offense rank in the following categories:

Overall: 8th           Pass: 9th           Rush: 14th

Wide receiver Robert Woods returns for the Rams this week. He emerged as Jared Goff’s No. 1 receiver early, and led the team with 703 yards before going down at Minnesota. Now rookie sensation Cooper Kupp has taken the lead role. He only needs to average 74 yards for the last three games to achieve the 1,000-yard mark in receiving yards. Sammy Watkins has recorded five touchdowns in the last six games.

Rams tight ends Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett continue to produce where needed, compiling 268 yards and 228 yards respectively. Their numbers should continue to rise over the next couple of years given head coach Sean McVay’s history with tight ends.

Finally, who could forget running back Todd Gurley. The odds are good that he will top 2,000 all-purpose yards this season. Right now, Gurley leads the NFL with 13 total touchdown and has compiled 1600 all-purpose yards. All of these weapons are healthy and available for Goff, which is a huge plus for the gameplan.

What about the offensive line?

The Rams offensive line has allowed more pressure as of late with injuries to both tackles wearing them down. One injury cost the Rams against the Eagles with backup right tackle Darrell Williams allowing Philadelphia defensive end Chris Long to get past him for the strip sack. Still, the unit protected Goff enough to serve as a major contributor on four touchdown drives against a great Eagles Defense. Guard Roger Scaffold’s two-pancake play on the opening drive to open up the hole for Gurley proved symbolic of what the offensive line is capable of accomplishing.

Facing criticism for not using Gurley more, McVay will likely make the third-year back the focal point early. The Rams’ playoff chances hang in the balance on Sunday. Yet the Seahawks’ defensive injuries could not have come at a better time for the Rams. Playing at Seattle is as difficult for any NFL team, but the Rams have beaten the Seahawks there before. Nonetheless, Seattle’s defense commands respect and will do whatever it can to prevent the Rams from taking the season from them.  It’s going to be a close one on Sunday, and these two teams should provide a great game with high stakes.

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