There is something a little odd about this game. The Seahawks have produced two of its worst football teams the last two years, but still managed to win every game it played against St. Louis. This Seahawks team is significantly improved since last season, but would appear to have less of a chance of winning this Sunday than they have in previous visits. Confidence and a good quarterback go a long way toward increasing the danger level of a team.
For the Seahawks to continue their winning ways, they will need to quickly remind the Rams of how confident they feel in St. Louis. The Seahawks offense will need to win this game, something it has yet to do so far this year. Matt Hasselbeck will need to go a full game without getting picked off, and Jeremy Bates will need to prove he believes in his running game. The Rams defensive line is a similar talent level to the Broncos. Justin Forsett will find ample running room if given the chance. Chester Pitts return at left guard could give the Seahawks a mauling line advantage for the first time when paired with Stacy Andrews. Russell Okung’s debut is possible, and would only add to the running potential. It won’t hurt that the Rams have allowed a league-leading 6 running plays of 20+ yards.
Any Seahawks victory will have the team scoring over 20 points, a yard-per-carry over 4.2 and at least 25 rush attempts. It will also include no more than one turnover. This is a Rams team that has the 2nd most takeaways in the NFL, but is only +1 in turnover ratio. Choke off the supply of turnovers, and this could become a laugher for the Hawks.
Special teams could play a huge role as Rams punter (and former Seahawks draft pick) Donnie Jones has a booming average near 50 yards. It’s hard to get down field to cover long punts and Golden Tate could be a major threat.
Don’t be surprised if we see our first trick play of the season with the offense. It could be a reverse to Golden Tate, or a reverse option where Tate can let his big left-arm loose for a throw down-field.
The defense must get pressure on Bradford. Carroll and Bradley saw how poorly the defense performed in week two when they dropped into coverage with a 3-man rush. This is a lean-forward defense that must constantly attack. Brandon Mebane’s health will be a factor here, along with Marcus Trufant. A Seahawks victory will include at least a total of six QB hits+sacks. Tackling will also be key, especially if Stephen Jackson plays.
Scoring early, establishing the run, protecting the ball and pressuring the QB is the winning formula on Sunday. The Seahawks need to beat inferior teams on the road, and that’s what the Rams are. There will be no moral victories (a la Denver) this week.