Tonight will find a Rams team that is spiraling downward and a Seahawks team that is approaching the half way mark of the season, trying to extend their best start ever. The odds look to be in the Seahawks favor, and whereas their luck was rolling snake eyes earlier in the season, their luck now appears to be in the cards.
The biggest factor in this game is that the Rams will be without the face of their franchise, Sam Bradford. He was putting together the best season of his career, completing 61% of his passes and a QB rating of 91, all of this despite a big name wide receiver at his disposal. Enter Kellen Clemens, who will get the starting assignment this Monday against a voracious defense, that features the Legion of Boom. I have a feeling our boys are going to be looking for sacks in the form of another lucky seven this week.
Here is what we assume to know about the Rams at this point. Their offensive line has been inconsistent which is a bad omen, considering that the Seahawks are hitting their stride, as evidenced by a 7 sack outburst last week. It may be a long night for Mr. Clemens if he can’t find a release valve of some sort.
Which brings us to this…they have to put their trust on the shoulders of Zac Stacy and Tavon Austin, their two electrifying players who have enough skill to make defenses scheme against them. But to this point Austin has not delivered on expectations, partly because it can be hard for WR to make the transition from college to the pros and they haven’t featured him in their offense.
We should look for Tavon Austin to get involved in the offense a lot more this game. Zac Stacy has done relatively well over three games, garnering 255 yards of total offense and one touchdown. However, he may find running room a bit harder to come by as Seattle has one of the stingiest run defenses in the league. Stacy may be in for a long evening Monday night…please keep his ice bath ready.
Playing on Monday Night Football adds a dimension of being under the microscope, which doesn’t phase Seattle in the least. In fact, it doesn’t seem like anything rattles this team. MLB did make a scheduling snafu when they scheduled game 5 of the World Series the same evening and time as the Monday Night Football game just down the road. For St. Louisans, most of whom are dedicated to their baseball team, the football game will be an after thought, especially given the state of their team. I would suspect that the stadium will sell out as this is the first Monday Night Football game at St Louis in seven years, but just in case, Ram’s COO sent an open letter to their ticket holders encouraging them to come to the game to cheer the Rams on in spite of the baseball game happening at the same time.
On Seattle’s side, Pete Carroll confirmed that Percy Harvin will not play this week and as such we will have to await the fanfare that will greet him when he finally takes the field. But the luxury that the Seahawks have is that it shouldn’t make much difference over the next two weeks and he can take his return slowly. It is better to have a completely health Percy than a ‘rushed-to-action’ Percy. We can expect a diet rich in running the ball, à la Marshawn Lynch. Expect him to pound the ball and control the tempo and pace of the game. This will be followed by an occasional nibble by Russell Wilson and the wide receivers to keep the defense honest. Expect a solid game from Wilson but nothing too spectacular. Lets just come out of this healthy…and with a win. Go Hawks!