Moore: Can 3-1 Seahawks beat Rams and change NFC West pecking order?
The Seahawks host the Rams Thursday night with a chance to move to 4-1 and dramatically improve their NFC West title hopes – as long as they can move the 3-0 49ers out of the way.
No one expects the 49ers to maintain their pace, and it’s looking more and more like this year’s version of the Rams is not even close to last year’s version anymore.
Many of the factors point to a Seattle victory Thursday night:
• Under Pete Carroll, the Seahawks are 8-1 on Thursday nights, winning their last seven games. Carroll is also 26-5-1 in primetime games, including 17-2 at home.
• The Seahawks have a sizable advantage at quarterback.
• Rams defensive tackle and reigning back-to-back NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald might not be the player he used to be. He had 20.5 sacks last year and only one so far this year.
• The Rams are coming off a 55-40 loss at home to a so-so Tampa Bay team, which exposed serious deficiencies in the Los Angeles defense.
• The Rams’ secondary will be more vulnerable than usual because starters (and former UW Huskies) Marcus Peters (concussion) and Taylor Rapp (ankle) probably won’t play.
• Jared Goff has fumbled 14 times in his last 13 games, and I’m guessing No. 15 will happen Thursday night. The Rams have allowed 50 QB pressures this year according to Pro Football Focus, most in the NFL. Couple that with an improving Seahawks’ pass rush and thousands of 12s that will no doubt fluster Goff.
• The Seahawks rushed for a combined 463 yards in two games against the Rams last year, and this Rams’ defense looks just as susceptible this year.
But this looks like one of those not-so-fast-my friend games to me. It seems like everyone is suddenly down on the Rams because of a supposedly shaky Goff, supposedly shaky defense and a Todd Gurley who doesn’t look like an elite running back anymore.
However, the Rams are still averaging 29 points a game. And get this: Goff is on a pace to throw for more than 5,000 yards this season. Cooper Kupp is on a pace for 1,532 receiving yards, and the Yakima native gets bonus points from me for liking Majors over Miners when he’s choosing the best place for burgers in his hometown.
The Rams also have two more receivers – Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks – who are on a pace for 1,200 receiving yards.
With the Seahawks, I go back and forth. Sometimes I see a Super Bowl contender, and if you’re not in that camp, I would tell you they’re 3-1, and when you’re 3-1, you’re on a pace for 12-4, and if you’re 12-4, you’re a Super Bowl contender. That’s a fact.
But how good are they, really? Their three wins came over teams that are a combined 0-11-1. They lost to the only good team they played, the Saints. The Rams are in the same league as the Saints, and that’s why I’m taking them by a narrow margin in overtime. Oddsmakers favor Seattle by 1 point, but I’m siding with Sean McVay’s team, thinking the Seahawks aren’t quite good enough and the Rams aren’t quite bad enough for the NFC West pecking order to change just yet.
Prediction: Rams 34, Seahawks 31.