Jim Moore Predicts: Seahawks’ undefeated road record stops vs Rams
Las Vegas is having a hard time trying to figure out Sunday’s game between the Seahawks and the Rams. Earlier this week I saw that the Seahawks were favored by 2 1/2 points. But now the Rams are favored by 1 point. Maybe the game will go off as a pick ’em. It’s pretty similar to the early October game in Seattle when the Seahawks were favored by 1 1/2 points and won 30-29.
Based on the way the two teams have played since that first meeting, the Seahawks should be favored again. They’ve won five in a row and are 10-2 overall. The Rams are 7-5 and look nothing like the team that had the most explosive offense in the league last year.
I saw the Rams’ game against the Bears a few weeks ago and was not impressed at all. They won 21-7, but it was an ugly affair. Then two weeks ago the Rams were obliterated by the Ravens in a completely non-competitive effort. I guess you can argue that the Ravens and Lamar Jackson have obliterated many opponents this year, but it was still a Rams team that appeared in the Super Bowl last year.
So those two games made me feel like the Rams were vulnerable and then some. But last week they hammered the Cardinals, and I don’t know what to make of that either. Goff threw for 424 yards against Arizona, and he also threw for 395 against the Seahawks in October. That proves he’s certainly still capable of torching secondaries, but how much of that has to do with Arizona having the worst defense in the league and Seattle having a below-average defense at that time?
You could also say that Goff isn’t very good, and you wouldn’t get an argument from me. John Clayton said he’s the worst in the NFL on play-action passes. Dave Wyman says he’s the worst QB in the league when pressured. He’s going to throw for more than 4,000 yards, but he also has a chance to finish with more interceptions than touchdown passes. He currently has 13 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
This is a good sign for the Seahawks, whose pass rush has dramatically improved the last three weeks. They had three sacks against San Francisco, five against Philadelphia and none against Minnesota, but they pressured Kirk Cousins all night long.
I’m not buying that running back Todd Gurley’s back. His numbers have been decent – 154 carries for 642 yards and eight TDs – but he looks to lack the burst that he had last season. Then again, as much as we like what we’ve seen from Chris Carson this year, Gurley and the Seahawks’ top running back have the same average yards per carry at 4.2.
Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods will each go over 1,000 receiving yards this year, but one of the other key targets for Goff might be far less than 100 percent. Tight end Gerald Everett had seven catches for 136 yards in the Seattle game in October but has either missed practice or been limited this week.
On the other side of the ball, the Rams are better individually than collectively if that makes sense. There’s a lot of star power with Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, Dante Fowler and Clay Matthews, but they’re not as good as you would think as a unit, ranking 12th in the NFL. Cory Littleton, the former Husky linebacker, might be having the best season with 102 tackles, 2.5 sacks and two interceptions.
The Seahawks should be able to get their third-ranked ground game going because they’ve done it before against top-10 run defenses, including 218 rushing yards against the sixth-ranked Minnesota run defense. The Rams have the 13th-best run defense.
When you look at all of the stats, you’d have to lean toward the Seahawks. But there’s one thing that’s making me lean toward the Rams, and that’s my old friend Human Nature. He (she?) comes into play big-time on Sunday.
I wish I would know who is going to win the 49ers-Saints game before making a pick on the Rams-Seahawks game, but I don’t. If the 49ers win, it could provide further motivation to the Seahawks to keep pace with San Francisco. If the Saints win, the Seahawks could still lose and have the same 10-3 record as the 49ers but still hold the tie-breaker.
Here’s something else – if the Seahawks win, they will be 7-0 on the road and clinch the all-time best road record in franchise history even if they were to lose at Carolina next week. This 2019 team is tied right now with the 2013 Super Bowl championship team, which went 6-2 on the road. I don’t feel like this team is as good as that team, and that’s one reason why I’m leaning toward the Rams.
Here’s the other. Let’s face it, the Rams are the much more desperate team. They need to win to maintain their slim hopes of making the playoffs. If the Seahawks lose, it’s a minor road bump in a what has been a spectacular season thus far. And lose they will in another close game with the Rams.
Prediction: Rams 23, Seahawks 21
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