Nothing in the numbers suggests that the Seahawks will win this Sunday against the Rams. In fact, the numbers indicate that this game should not be close. Remember when the Seahawks fell behind 34-0 to Los Angeles last year in the first half? I wish I could tell you there is no chance that will happen again. The odds of a Seahawks victory are probably slightly better than trailing by five touchdowns at halftime, but they are comparable.

This is the best team in the NFL coming into Seattle, and it is not close. They have dominant players on both sides of the ball and even on special teams. Their head coach is maximizing the talent on offense, and their defensive coordinator is one of the best in league history. Your team is not going to be more talented. It will likely will not be better coached. Seattle does have a few things that could make this a more competitive game than most expect it to be.

 

The way this works: Each offense will be pitted against the opposing defense and compared on an array of key statistical attributes based on their respective rank in the NFL. The tables that follow show the rank of each unit for each of these categories. 

This series is sponsored by Sarah Heath, a huge Seahawks fan and Hawk Blogger patron. Please thank her by checking out her site and consider working with her on your next home purchase or sale in the Seattle area. She will donate an additional $500 to Ben’s Fund for every closed transaction!

Seahawks Offense vs Rams Defense

Rams key advantages on defense

 

Aaron Donald. Michael Brockers. Ndamukong Suh. That Rams defensive line that already wreaked havoc on the Seahawks added another dominant player to the mix, who just so happened to injure Russell Wilson in Seattle a couple years ago. There is no offensive line that should feel confident going against this crew. Seattle is getting better line play this season than in the past two, and has returned to a higher reliance on the run. That might reduce the chances of Wilson suffering through another seven sack afternoon.

Seahawks key advantages on offense

 

The Rams defense is not great in defending the run. They rank 23rd in the NFL in rush DVOA by Football Outsiders, and are 24th in yards per rush allowed. The Seahawks started to find their footing the last two weeks running and will almost certainly enter this game hoping to see if they can measure up against this defensive line. The hope here is that enough attention will be given to the run game that the Seahawks will find more room in the passing game.

Hidden in all the drudgery, Seattle has also been a darn good red zone offense thus far. The challenge will be getting those opportunities.

Rams Offense vs Seahawks Defense

Rams key advantages on offense

 

It all starts with head coach Sean McVay. He makes things so much easier for his quarterback by scheming players open and creating simple throws. Todd Gurley is really good, but Seattle often bottled him up before McVay entered the picture. Jared Goff was awful before McVay. What the Rams have now is a very solid offensive line that gives their quarterback plenty of time to make high percentage throws to three quality wide receivers. Nobody has been able to slow them down so far. The have scored 33, 34, 35, and 38 points so far. If they match their lowest scoring output of the year, and the Seahawks match their highest output of the year, the Seahawks will lose by 9 points.

They have only played one game on the road, and that game was close at halftime before Derek Carr started throwing the ball to the Rams instead of his own team. Holding this Rams team under 30 points is difficult. Holding them under 20 points is miraculous. That is likely what Seattle will need to do in order to have a shot.

Seahawks key advantages on defense

 

The surprise of the Seahawks season has been the stout defense. I certainly did not expect them to be top ten in almost anything, and yet, there they are among the best in the game in points and yards allowed. Importantly, they are also fourth in the NFL in opponent passer rating. They have managed to create turnovers at a higher rate than in recent seasons.

A couple of turnovers would be huge in this game, and Goff is a guy who will panic and made bad decisions when his first read is covered up or he is under pressure. Seattle lost Earl Thomas, and will be without K.J. Wright or Mychal Kendricks. Those losses make a tough task even tougher. Bradley McDougald has been excellent, as has Bobby Wagner, Shaquill Griffin, and Justin Coleman.

The defense has to at least take away one aspect of the Rams attack. Bottling up Gurley is their best bet.

Special Teams

Seahawks kicking vs Rams returning

 

Rams kicking vs Seahawks returning

 

 

Michael Dickson is better than Johnny Hekker. That is all.

 

 

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2 Responses

  1. Doug

    I trust the Seahawks to make the Rams earn the victory if that is what happens. I really do NOT expect a blowout by the half. There is no doubt a lot of bounces during the game will have to the Seahawks’ way in order to pull out a victory. But there is a chance!

    How the Seahawks can win:
    1. successfully running at that Rams DL, sprinkling in quite-hitting passes to neutralize the pass rush.
    2. shortening the game by sustaining long drives on Offense
    3. getting enough pressure on Goff to force a fumble/INT or two.
    4. keeping Gurly under control
    5. winning the field position battle on ST

    Reply
  2. Uncle Bob

    Yep, it ain’t lookin’ good for the home team. I hope to not see the same beat down as last season, but given the Hawks propensity for slow starting they will likely put themselves in a first half offensive hole that can’t be overcome. Too much similarity in play calling, from either the side line or audibles, to expect more.

    The only possible advantage/change is that the Rams have had 10 days to get ready. One argument I see is that they have plenty of time to scheme (something their coaching staff seems better adept at than ours), and for the players to recover physically. The other side of that argument is that they are over confident and have had too much time to prepare and lose some focus. Again, their coaching probably won’t let that happen, but there’s just that slimmest hope.

    I’m a bit old school and think there are two ways that the Hawk’s offense can help themselves. Brandon Marshall seems to be having trouble catching the ball, so, let’s give him a different assignment. Since Peters is playing a bit hurt, let’s have the big man “remind” him of those injuries. Not enough to end his season, just enough to make him sit this one out for the duration. Then, slip Prosise in as the quick out wide receiver and take advantage of the weakest part of their defense, the line backers. If RW can remember that getting rid of the ball instead of giving that front line time to sack, the passing part of the game should be adequate. Play action could be a tool, but it appears RW is having some of the hamstring issues that are too common on this team.

    Defensively I was hopeful that our line backing would be better than last December with Wagner healthy, and Kendricks in there, but that got wiped out. Calitro has shown reasonably well as a backup, but he’ll be a starter now. We’ll see. Mingo has been pretty fair off the edge, so might help there. But, truth be told, Goff is given a game plan that suits him with quick releases, so isn’t much of a sack magnet.

    Too much will be made of the absence of Thomas, but that’s silly fan/media over reaction. Sure, he’ll be missed, and his exact level of play won’t be duplicated………….that’s the silly part. Hopefully Pete/Ken Jr. can muster the wit to scheme to compensate, as they should. Other teams have figured out how to win without Thomas and with just okay free safeties, so should we. What other real choice is there………well, besides whining.

    A bit of optimism? The Rams/Goff get greedy thinking the whole new backend crew are patsies and Griffin/Flowers/Thompson each end up with an interception……..with one of those being a pick six. Yeah, that would light up the fans! Oh, and maybe Hill will figure out how to tackle in 3 safety formations………..(too far huh?)

    Reply

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