Heading into Week 15’s Thursday night matchup with the L.A. Rams, let’s examine how the Seahawks can knock off their pesky division rival.
With a headline like that, you wonder if the Seattle Seahawks are preparing to play a 12-1 Rams team or this year’s Cowboys. But no, the Seahawks are playing the lowly 4-9 Los Angeles Rams with a first-time interim coach.
It has been well documented: the struggles of the Seahawks against the seemingly far inferior Rams, with the Rams winning three straight meetings including a 23-17 win last year on the very field they will take tonight, right here at CenturyLink Field. In fact, they are the last team to beat the Hawks at home, which came on December 27th of last year.
What makes these Rams so pesky and what can Pete Carroll’s Seahawks do to avoid a meltdown on nationally televised Thursday Night Football?
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First off, the Seahawks already won the uniform battle. I may be in the minority but those “action green” threads look really good.
If the Seahawks do these three things, a victory is almost guaranteed.
Rush for at least 100 yards
The Seahawks gained a measly 67 yards on the ground in the first meeting in L.A. The last time Seattle beat the Rams (on December 28, 2014), they rushed for 132 yards. If Seattle can establish the run and control time of possession, their defense will be fresh and flying around, confusing the rookie QB Jared Goff. It all starts up front with getting good blocks from the offensive line to establish the run game. Thomas Rawls is going to hit his stride again very soon. We saw what happens when the Hawks get it going on the ground against the Panthers (winning 40-7 with 240 yards rushing). The Rams’ front seven have been a big reason for L.A.’s success against Seattle. Neutralizing them will be key.
Commit no more than one turnover
Bad breaks and bounces happen. The Seahawks do not need a perfect game to beat the Rams. Russell Wilson will come out motivated, as he does, and will be much sharper than his ill-fated performance against the Packers last week. If the Seahawks win the turnover battle and do not give this young, inexperienced Rams offense any momentum with a short field, this should not even be close.
The Hawks are undefeated this year when winning the turnover battle. We know this defense can get after it and make plays. The ’85 Bears probably would have given up 30+ points if their offense turned it over 6 times. If they avoid that fiasco, a lot more points should be scored tonight.
Besiege Jared Goff
It was no secret that Aaron Rodgers looked like the MVP again last week. He could have read a book, shot another State Farm commercial and eaten fancy Wisconsin cheese before he had to even think about maybe getting rid of the ball last week. Seattle’s defense provided little resistance up front and he was in rhythm from the get-go. Obviously, Jared Goff is not Aaron Rodgers. He is a rookie with 136 career passing attempts and an 0-4 record.
The Seahawks must provide pressure all game long. They must eliminate their one offensive threat in running back Todd Gurley and make Goff beat them, which he won’t. Michael Bennett is healthy. Frank Clark is coming into his own. Cliff Avril is putting together a Pro Bowl-type season. The Hawks have the weapons. They just need to play with the reckless abandon that has made this defense truly great and hit Jared Goff over, and over, and over.
If the Seahawks do these three things, I see no way they lose tonight. Weird things can happen with an interim coach. It can go two directions for the Rams. They have nothing to lose.
The Seahawks have a lot to gain. With a win, they clinch their 3rd NFC West title in four years. The Rams have been a huge thorn in the side. Tonight come the tweezers.