Weeks of offseason chatter, training camps, exhibition games, and roster cuts have come down to this: Week 1 of the 2009 NFL regular season. The Seattle Seahawks will open at home in a couple days against a familiar face in the lowly St. Louis Rams.
INJURIES: The Rams will be playing at nearly full strength as they'll have the services of QB Marc Bulger(who missed all of preseason with a broken finger) and top wideout Donnie Avery(who was also out due to a injured foot). Their most notable injury came a couple weeks ago when they lost DT Adam Carriker for the season with a torn muscle in his shoulder. For the Seahawks, it's the same cast of characters. Offensive linemen Charles Spencer(thigh) and Walter Jones(knee) will be out for Sunday's opener, while Pro Bowl CB Marcus Trufant will miss at least the first 6 games as he is on the Physically Unable to Perform List with a bad back.
OVERVIEW: All signs point to this being a one-sided affair, as the Rams are outmatched in practically every facet. Their best chance the Rams have of making it a game will be if new head coach Steve Spagnuolo, the architect behind last year's nightmarish Giants pass rush, can overwhelm this short-handed Seahawk offensive line with his aggressive edge rushers, Leonard Little and Chris Long. Spagnuolo will also lean heavily on Pro Bowl RB Steven Jackson as this improved Rams offensive line, led by 2nd overall pick Jason Smith, will see if it can hold it together against a revamped Seahawks defensive line, led by ends Patrick Kerney and new addition Cory Redding.
Speaking of new additions, Seahawks Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Hasselbeck shouldn't have much of a problem finding new target, T.J. Houshmanzadeh, early and often against this weak St. Louis secondary. That will open things up for Seattle's other new weapon, RB Edgerrin James, on the ground as he will split carries with holdover Julius Jones.
PREDICTION: Seahawks head coach Jim Mora has promised to be aggressive on both sides of the ball this season and that will make for a long day for a rebuilding Rams team. The lack of depth in the Rams secondary will be exposed by Seattle's three-wide set and the loss of Carriker in the middle will make the Rams even softer against the Seahawks two-headed rushing attack. With Bulger and Avery rusty after so much time on the sidelines, this one will be over by halftime, as Seattle's deep defensive line will force plenty of turnovers while keeping the oft-injured Jackson in check.
SCORE: Seahawks 31, Rams 7.
About the Author
Written by Dave Leonardis
Born and raised in New Jersey, I've been writing since I was 10 and blogging since I was 18. I'm a huge sports nerd, following football, baseball and basketball in particular in close detail. My style is very upfront. I don't pull punches and I'm not shy about criticizing anything I feel deserves a proper tongue-lashing. If you're looking for someone who says what he wants, when he wants, then look no further than this guy right here.