Saturday, October 2, 2010

Rams vs. Seahawks Preview

On Sunday (Oct. 3rd) the St. Louis Rams will take on the Seattle Seahawks. The game will take place at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, and kick-off time is 12:00 PM. Check back here for videos from the the game, as well as the post-game article. The videos will be up by Tuesday at the latest.

The Rams have not beat the Seahawks since January 8th, 2005; and that was during the 2004 season. The Seahawks went to the Super Bowl the following year, losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers; however, both teams have had losing records since then. The Rams are 15-52 since the start of the 2006 season, and the Seahawks are 30-37 (not counting the playoffs).

The Rams' defense is currently ranked 9th overall in average points allowed per game. It is an impressive accomplishment coming from a team that was 1-15 in 2009, but that stat shouldn't have Ram fans too excited. The Rams have played three sub-par teams so far this season. When looking at where the opposing offenses rank (total points), you'll see that the Rams have had it easy. Arizona is ranked 25th, and Oakland is 22nd; however, the Rams' only win came against Washington, who had a respectable ranking at 18th overall.

Seattle will be the biggest challenge for the Rams' defense so far in 2010. The Seahawks rank 8th overall in total points scored, averaging 24 points per game. However, the Seahawks rank 29th in average yards per game.

The stats surrounding the Rams' defense, and Seattle's offense, are very unexpected from both teams, given their preseason expectations. Both units are the clear strength for each team, which is why this should be an exciting game. Seattle's offense, and the Rams' defense, have both been playing at a high level, so it will be interesting to see both of those units on the field at the same time; and ultimately, the outcome should be decided by whichever of those two units prevails.

Seattle's rushing offense is operated by a three-headed monster lead by Justin Forsett, who is backed-up by Leon Washinton, and Julius Jones. Forsett has 32 carries for 150 yards, Washington has 11 carries for 29 yards, and Jones has 12 carries for 30 yards. Although Forsett is capable of gaining yards, none of them have a single rushing touchdown this season.

Matt Hasselbeck is still the leader of the Seahawk's offense. Seattle just got him a brand new left-tackle this past April, Russel Okung, who was widely considered the best offensive-lineman in the draft. Hasselbeck has some weapons to rely on, but none that are elite.

His best weapon is tight-end John Carlson, who had a solid Freshman and Sophomore campaign for the Seahawks, gaining 1201 yards and 12 TD's in his first two seasons. At wide-receiver, former 1st round draft pick Mike Williams has been labeled a bust by many, but has made a comeback with Seattle this season. Deon Branch remains Seattle's top receiver, and they also brought in some help in the form of Golden Tate, who is a rookie out of Notre Dame.

As far as the Rams' offense goes, Steven Jackson will likely be held out of the game. Jackson missed the first two practices of the week, and was extremely limited during the rest of them. The Rams will likely use a committee at running-back, in the form of Kenneth Darby, Keith Toston, and possibly the newly acquired Chauncey Washington. It is also likely that they will try to create some sort of run game by using short passes.

Sam Bradford and the offense won't be under too much pressure from the Seattle defense, which ranks 28th in average yards allowed per game, and are the 14th worst team in total points allowed. The goal of the offense should be to stay on the field, and give their defense some rest. The defense has to be energized the entire game in order to keep up with the Seattle offense, and it will be up to the Rams' offense to allow that.

The Rams have sold-out the game, avoiding a TV black-out. This is a sign that the fans can see the new energy in this young team, and they have noticed the improvements. The Rams owe it to the fans to put on a good show, and to beat the Seahawks for the first time since 2005.

If the Rams win, then they will at least be in 2nd place in the NFC West. If the Rams win, and Arizona loses against San Diego, then there will be a three-way tie for 1st place in the NFC West between the Rams, the Seahawks, and the Cardinals. They would all have a 2-2 record. The division is open for anyone, even the Rams, it is just a matter of who wants it the most, and who is able to execute game plans with the most precision.

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