The Los Angeles Rams (5-3) return to SoFi Stadium after their Week 9 bye. They face the Seattle Seahawks (6-2), the top seed in the NFC West and a rival the Rams are always fired up to play. The Rams’ most recent game, a 28-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins (4-3) in Week 8, is still fresh in their minds. They hope to learn from the offensive mishaps and special teams errors in that game. L.A. also needs to fire on all cylinders against a fast, potent Seattle offense.
The Seahawks are coming off a 44-34 loss to the Buffalo Bills (7-2) in a Week 9 shootout. Buffalo’s defense set up quarterback Josh Allen nicely throughout the game, allowing them to run away with it. The Seahawks are trying to avoid two losses in a row, but the Rams are slightly favored to win on Sunday.
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson is their best weapon on offense. Elusive, eerily accurate and quick, Wilson gives defenses trouble when trying to contain him. Good penetration up front is the key and the Rams will need to have the right personnel in coverage. Fortunately, they have a history of neutralizing Wilson under head coach Sean McVay’s leadership. In their most recent meeting last season, the Rams beat the Seahawks 28-12. The Rams suffered a slim loss thanks to a missed field goal last year in their first meeting of the 2019 season.
Wilson threw 28 passes on 41 attempts for 390 yards and two touchdowns against Buffalo. He had two interceptions and five sacks. Wide receiver DK Metcalf was Wilson’s number one target against the Bills, earning seven catches for 108 yards and one touchdown. He also leads in receiving for the season with 43 receptions for 788 yards and eight touchdowns. Receiver Tyler Lockett is still Wilson’s favorite target this season with 53 receptions for 615 yards and seven touchdowns.
Running back DeeJay Dallas may start again against the Rams and Travis Homer may also see significant carries. Dallas replaced starter Chris Carson who missed Seattle’s last two games with a foot injury. Backup Carlos Hyde has also been out with a hamstring injury.
The Rams still have their usual weapons on offense, but they will look for more success this week in moving the ball downfield. Against Miami, Rams quarterback Jared Goff threw two interceptions, was sacked twice and lost two fumbles. Two of those turnovers resulted in great field position for the Dolphins to score. They also had a fumble returned for a touchdown. The offense was its own worst enemy and inevitably gave Miami the win.
The Rams also appeared to give up on the ground game against Miami. The running attack seemed to work well, but the change in offensive play-calling put a damper on that. Head coach Sean McVay went with more of a passing attack that resulted in more harm than good. The Rams offensive line will need to perform a little better this time around, but they are still performing at a high level for the season. Offensive lineman Joe Noteboom moves back to the active roster. That gives more depth behind David Edwards at guard. Veteran tackle Andrew Whitworth is still working his ageless magic in the pass and run blocking schemes along with tackle Rob Havenstein, guard Austin Corbett and center Austin Blythe. The line will be challenged by Seattle defensive end Carlos Dunlap and defensive tackle Jarran Reed. They will also need to watch star safety Jamal Adams who ties Reed in sacks with 3.5. Linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright share four sacks and nine tackles for a loss. Wagner leads the defense with 80 tackles.
Seattle cornerbacks Tre Flowers, Shaquill Griffin, Ryan Neal and Quinton Dunbar have a combined 18 passes defended and five interceptions. Safety Quandre Diggs also has two interceptions this season. He is a familiar face to the Rams after scoring on an interception return last season, Seattle’s only touchdown in their most recent matchup. The Seahawks will be tight on the Rams wideouts, but Goff’s quickness in targeting receivers and being situationally aware in the pocket will be key.
Rams running backs Darrell Henderson, Malcolm Brown and Cam Akers all shared roughly the same amount of carries and yardage against the Dolphins. Henderson still leads in rushing with 95 carries for 458 yards and three touchdowns. He did not practice Wednesday due to a lingering quad injury but is being monitored for Sunday.
Wide receiver Robert Woods had the only rushing touchdown against Miami on a 4-yard sweep. Woods also had seven catches on eight targets for 85 yards and had the only receiving touchdown. Receiver Cooper Kupp still leads with 48 receptions for 527 yards and two touchdowns. He led in receiving against the Dolphins with 11 receptions for 110 yards. Josh Reynolds and Van Jefferson will also be nice weapons and have proven to be big playmakers this season. The tight end corps is no stranger to big plays, either. Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett are always options for the attack and Johnny Mundt proved effective at times too.
The Rams defense will shine at all positions against the Seahawks, but the receiver and defensive back matchups will be a challenge. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey most likely will be tasked with covering Metcalf. Ramsey was ruled out of the Miami game due to an illness. Safety Jordan Fuller will be back from injury. If he replaces Taylor Rapp or substitutes in and out with him, it will add more protection over the top alongside star safety John Johnson. Corners Darious Williams, Troy Hill and David Long, Jr. will also see action to cover Lockett, receiver David Moore, as well as, tight ends Jacob Hollister, Will Dissly and Greg Olsen.
Rams linebackers Micah Kiser, Leonard Floyd, Kenny Young, Samson Ebukam and Justin Hollins will need to step up their game behind a stout defensive line. Kiser still leads in team tackles with 59. Star defensive tackle Aaron Donald will not disappoint. He always strikes hard against the Seahawks. Donald leads the defense with nine sacks and 11 tackles for a loss. He has faced Seattle 12 times and has 12 sacks, 33 quarterback hits and 19 tackles for a loss. Those stats are his most against any other team. Michael Brockers is still doing well up front in run stuffing. A’Shawn Robinson will most likely debut as a starter at nose tackle alongside him and Donald. This will be Robinson’s first game since joining the Rams in the offseason. He was put on non-injury reserve due to a medical condition. The coaching staff believes he is now ready to play.
Kicker Kai Forbath is slated to start again for the Rams. He made both his extra-point attempts against the Dolphins and one out of two field goals. Seahawks kicker Jason Myers made all four of his extra points and both field goals against the Bills.
The Rams will have an advantage on offense according to the numbers. Seattle allows more yards and touchdowns than any other team this season. The L.A. tight ends are more versatile and the receivers are just as good at catching and running and can be threats in the ground game too. The running game is solid if used correctly. The Rams’ success depends on which Rams offense shows up this week. Will it be the one that dominated the NFC East, the Chicago Bears and gave the Bills a run for their money until the end, or will it be the mistake-ridden offense that showed up against Miami? The Rams are poised to avoid another embarrassment and always put up a fight against the Seahawks. Look for a slightly re-tooled offensive attack and the usual stars on the defense to shine.