Jim Moore Predicts: Can Seahawks overcome 8-1 Rams on the road?
The Seahawks are double-digit underdogs in a regular-season game for the first time since 2011, which means that this is the first time Russell Wilson has been getting 10 points in his career.
Like your chances of winning a bet with Wilson +10? I guess it depends on how you feel about the Seahawks’ quarterback. I get a kick out of continual criticism of him. Maybe it’s not criticism as much as nitpicking. I know he didn’t have his best game in the loss to the Chargers last Sunday. He threw his second pick-six of the season.
But still, he led the Seahawks back from a 25-10 deficit and nearly carried them to overtime. I always come back to this – where would the Seahawks be without Wilson? I don’t want to find out. Maybe he’s not as fast and elusive as he used to be. But he’s still an elite quarterback, one that Bills fans’ would kill for.
I think he’s going to have his biggest game of the year this week in Los Angeles. He hasn’t thrown for more than 300 yards in a game this year, but it’s going to happen on Sunday. Why would I think it would happen in the ninth game of the year if it hasn’t happened in the first eight? Easy – the Seahawks probably won’t be able to run the ball the way they want to against the Rams. It’s not that that the Rams have that great of a run defense, it’s just that Chris Carson, from what I gather, probably won’t play, and even if he does, he’ll probably be limited by a hip injury that kept him out of the second half of the Chargers’ game.
That gives the majority of carries to Mike Davis, who’s good but not of Carson’s caliber. After that, you’ve got Rashaad Penny, a first-round draft choice who has looked more like an undrafted free agent thus far. And maybe C.J. Prosise will flash like he did against the Patriots and Eagles two years ago. That’s a reach, I know, but what the heck, maybe it will happen again.
Point of all this, even if the best strategy against the Rams is to keep the ball away from Jared Goff, Todd Gurley and all of those spectacular receivers, I don’t think the Seahawks are going to be able to play move-the-chains football this week. Even with Carson, they stayed step for step with the Rams in the first meeting, losing 33-31 but leading 31-24 entering the fourth quarter.
That told me they can possibly win a high-scoring game against the Rams, who are great offensively, averaging a league-best 33 points a game. But defensively they’re so-so overall and worse than so-so against the pass. The Seattle Times noted that the Rams have given up 11 passes of more than 40 yards this year, worst in the league.
So why not take advantage of their vulnerability to vertical strikes? Especially when you are apt to have a sputtering running game if Carson can’t play. Plus I always expect Wilson to have a great game after he has a bad game, particularly when there are so many who are questioning him, which has been the case this week.
In a weird way, I think the potential loss of Carson may help the Seahawks by forcing them to go to the air. What worries me more is the possible absence of D.J. Fluker, who is nursing a sore calf. The Seahawks are 0-2 without him on the field and 4-2 with him. Ethan Pocic is his likely replacement, and the second-year player from LSU lost his playing time to J.R. Sweezy when Fluker returned for the Dallas game in the third week of the year.
So what you’ve got is a possible downgrade to the O-line – without Fluker, the Seahawks allowed 12 sacks in their first two games. Pocic’s a big question mark to me.
I have a feeling we’re going to see Wilson scrambling around more than he has been recently, and making plays downfield as usual. The Rams will probably win because they have the superior team, and they’re playing at home, but I still feel like the Seahawks will be within striking distance at the end. Rams 34, Seahawks 27.
The Buffaloes have lost four in a row and are a banged-up team, but I remember the 2016 game in Boulder. The Cougs were favored in that one too and lost 38-24. But the last time the Buffs played at home, they blew a 31-3 lead and lost to Oregon State in overtime. If you lose to the Beavers at home, you’re probably going to get rocked at home by Washington State. Cougs 38, Buffs 14.