The Seattle Seahawks have won three of their last four games (and blew a ten point lead in the 4th quarter of the one they lost), and are one of the hottest teams in the second half of the season in the NFL. Much of this revival has centered around the emergence of Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawk running game. Lynch had no 100-yard rushing games by Week 8, and had just three touchdowns. In the five games since, Lynch has four 100-yard games and six total touchdowns. This week, Lynch and the Seahawks will look to punish the NFL’s worst rush defense.
The Rams have had a disappointing, injury-plagued season. Predicted by many to win the NFC West this year, the Rams have instead lost 10 of their 12 games. Promising quarterback Sam Bradford has played through a number of nagging injuries this year, but has thrown just six touchdowns in his nine starts. St. Louis is 28th in the league (out of the 32 teams) in passing yards, and 27th in rushing yards, so it is not a surprise that the Rams rank last in the NFL in points scored (just 11.7 per game).
The Seahawks manhandled the Rams three weeks ago in a 24-7 win at St. Louis. With the location shifting to Seattle’s hostile CenturyLink Field, things won’t get easier for the Rams. The last time the Rams played in Seattle, they mustered just 7 points, and lost the division to the Seahawks.
One thing I’m going to be looking at closely is the Seahawk receiving corps. With Sidney Rice out for the season, Golden Tate saw more action last week, and responded with a few nice catches and a touchdown. The second-year player out of Notre Dame is excellent in the open field, and the Seahawks had high hopes for him when they selected him in the 2nd round of last year’s draft. Tate hasn’t produced much in his short NFL career, but he will likely be given an opportunity to show what he can do for the rest of the season.
Coming in to this year, I assumed Rice would be the team’s top pass-catcher. I thought he’d perfectly complement his giant teammate Mike Williams, who lead the team in receptions and receiving yards last year. Unfortunately for Williams, he has struggled with injuries this year (like Rice), and is 8th on the team in catches, hauling in just 14 passes this year. With undrafted rookie Doug Baldwin running most of the routes from the slot, there is room on the field for either Tate or Ben Obamanu to stake a claim for extensive playing time.
On the other side of the ball, the Seahawk secondary has continued to show signs of development. Richard Sherman was pressed into the starting lineup because of injuries to Marcus Trufant and Walter Thurmond, but has played well. The 6’3 rookie cornerback has paired with the 6’4 Brandon Browner to give Seattle one of the biggest and most physical corner duos in the league. As the cornerback play has improved, they have teamed with second-year safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas to become one of the more promising secondaries in the league. Once a weakness of the defense, the Seahawk secondary has begun to force turnovers and lock down opposing passing games. If they continue to improve, the Seahawks will have one of the top defenses in the league.
Playing in front of a national audience on Monday Night Football, the Seahawks are likely to demolish the Rams and continue their winning ways. However, it seems every time I make a score prediction the Seahawks lose – so I’ll refrain out of superstition. There’s nothing like CenturyLink Field, and there’s nothing like football in December. I can’t wait to watch the game on TV while I wish I was screaming in the stands. Go Hawks!
About the Author
Written by Erik Olsoy
Erik was born in Columbus, Ohio during the only Ohio State football victory over Michigan in the 1980s, but moved to Washington state and grew up there. His loyalty to Ohio State remains strong, but his strongest allegiances developed toward Seattle sports. Though he recently graduated from Boston College, he has not yet been converted to the ways of New England Sportsdom, and only roots for the Red Sox against the Yankees because the Yankees are the root of all evil.