Wednesday, September 29, 2010

SEAHAWKS/RAMS PREVIEW PART I: What A Seahawks Loss Might Look Like

On any given Sunday in the NFL, any team can rise up and beat the other. When time allows, I will look at both how Seahawks loss and Seahawks win might play out in the upcoming game. Let's start by exploring a potential loss.


Forget the 1-15 season. Forget the feckless teams St. Louis has run out to face the Seahawks the last few seasons. The 2010 Rams are a competitive team. Many Seahawks fans have become accustomed to the comfort level associated with playing the Rams. Even a team that could never win on the road, always felt like it could get a win in St. Louis. 


The 2005 Super Bowl team started the dominance when they entered the game 2-2, and allowed an touchdown return on the opening kickoff. Multiple receivers were injured that day, and rookie DJ Hackett was forced into a starting role. The team ended up with a convincing victory that day which became the first of 11 straight victories. 


Giving up a special teams touchdown, or getting behind early would not be as easy to come back from on Sunday. That Seahawks team had developed a dominant identity on offense. This offense is far from dominant, and has yet to score in the 1st quarter of any game this year. A Rams victory would likely include playing with a lead early. It will also include touchdowns instead of field goals. Both teams struggle in the red zone, so it would be a big advantage if the Rams can get in the endzone. 


Stephen Jackson will also play a key role in a Rams victory. He is currently questionable, but there is reason to expect him to play. Jackson's availability combined with Brandon Mebane's availability will be pivotal. Both are key in the running game. Jackson loves to run inside, and the Chargers had significantly more luck running up the middle after Mebane left with a calf injury. Jackson also gives Bradford a trusted check-down back that can be explosive when matched up one-on-one on the outside. The Seahawks have struggled all year with screen passes, and Jackson would be a tough matchup in those situations.


The Rams defense has been successful at limiting teams to field goals. Scoring 20 points has historically been a key threshold for Seahawks teams, so a Rams defense that can hold them below that number would greatly increase the chances of an upset. 


Turnovers have played a major role in every Seahawks game so far, and apparently, they have for the Rams as well. If Hasselbeck struggles to find a rhythm, he may fall back to forcing throws and turn the ball over again. 


The Rams are not better than the Seahawks, but their first victory in a long time, competent rookie QB and home field advantage make this a winnable game if they start strong and force Seahawks turnovers.

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