This is your last warning. I am about to break all sorts of superstitious rules. If you believe in jinxes, turn back now. Do not read any farther. … Okay, those weirdos are gone now. It’s just us, and I have to tell you, opening games of the season usually stress me out. How are you supposed to feel confident when so much has changed and there no track record to go on? Flukey games almost seem like a requirement. Game plans that might only work for one week can be trotted out and create false heroes and false outcomes that would not be repeated. But I’m feeling more confident as we get closer to kickoff. Let me tell you why.
The Seahawks are better
BOOM! Bet you didn’t see that one coming. Thought of that all by myself. Captain Obvious has not taken over this blog. It is true, though. There may be some way that the Rams end up winning this game, but it won’t be because they are the better team. They are not even a class below. They are a good 2-3 clicks below the Seahawks in terms of overall talent, experience, and coaching.
Vegas has the Seahawks favored by 4 points. Add in the customary 3 point home field advantage, and the oddsmakers see Seattle as 7 points better than St. Louis on a neutral field. I disagree. Seattle is 10-20 points better than the Rams.
The history of subpar play from Seattle when facing St. Louis is only reason the line is this close. Yes, the Rams front seven is beastly. Yes, their linebackers are above average. Their whole defense may just end up in the top five if they finally put all the pieces together. Seattle’s defense is better. Their front seven is better. Their secondary is better.
Seattle throws out Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, Jimmy Graham, Tyler Lockett and Doug Baldwin on offense. I’m not convinced the Rams have a single offensive player who will take the field tomorrow who is a better weapon than any of those players. Even the infamous Seahawks offensive line is better than the Rams offensive line.
Games are usually won and lost by the sum total of imbalances between competing units. In other words, if the Seahawks offense is a 7.0 out of 10 and the Rams defense is a 8.0, that would be -1.0 for Seattle. The Rams offense is maybe a 3.0 going against a Seahawks defense that is a 9.0, which would be +6.0. Let’s call the special teams a push for the moment. Seattle winds up +5.0 in this make believe grading system. The vast majority of times, that should lead to victory.
Okay, so I don’t really think the special teams are even either. Yes, I know Jeff Fisher has made Pete Carroll look foolish multiple times…blah blah blah. Tyler Lockett. Yeah, Tavon Austin did a’ight last year in punt returns (5th), and Bennie Cunningham was also decent at kick returns (5th), but Tyler Lockett.
Yep. A backup defensive lineman has me feeling pretty darn confident. Aaron Donald was a backup defensive lineman at this time last year. He turned out pretty good. I would be excited to see Clark play in his first game against any team, but put the idea of seeing him matched up against this Rams offensive line has me especially eager.
He will make a difference in this game. How much? We won’t know until the first snap he gets, but he will make his presence felt. Oh, and by the way, the guy starting ahead of him (Michael Bennett) looks better than at any time since he has played in Seattle.
These two could turn that offensive line into bowling pins tomorrow.
Jimmy Freakin’ Graham
Tell me if the rosters weren’t reversed that you would not be sweating at the thought of matching up with Jimmy Graham. Rob Gronkowski just scored 75 touchdowns (approximately) in his first game this year. Graham won’t score four touchdowns, but he he is a dramatic difference to what this Rams defense has had to contend with when playing Seattle in the past.
Wilson has not done well connecting with Graham in the preseason, but has repeatedly found him during practice. It is not out of the realm of possibilities that Graham is the difference in the game. If I had to pick one key player in the game, it would be him. St. Louis will have a very difficult time dealing with this offense if Graham is making plays. Considering the Seahawks will probably max protect for most of the game to help the offensive line, Graham will have to win a few for the offense to function.
Setting the bar high is not a bad thing
Exceeding low expectations does not make champions. Seattle should win this game going away tomorrow. If they win a close game or the Rams win, it would be disappointing. Apart from this Kam Chancellor nonsense, I believe this is the best roster the Seahawks have ever had. I think there is a real chance they are in a class by themselves this season. It all starts with taking this first step against a team that will be fortunate to finish .500 on the year.
They should be good enough to vanquish superstition. They should be good enough to overcome Jeff Fisher’s shenanigans. They should be good enough to leave this team in their dust. Let’s see it happen.