That title is neither clickbait nor a mistake. For the first time in maybe forever, the Seattle Seahawks open the week as road favorites against their dreaded rival, the Los Angeles Rams.
Few would have believed that when the season started.
And for good reason, what with the Rams (+175) having dispatched the Bengals in Super Bowl LVI in February and the Seahawks (-205) having traded away their franchise quarterback less than a month later.
Back then, the Seahawks and Rams were seen as teams that were headed in vastly different directions with the Rams expected to win the NFC West and the Seahawks expected to be one of the worst teams in the conference.
Free agency and the draft didn’t impact those expectations much.
When the schedule was released in mid-May the Rams were favored by double digits over the Seahawks at home in Week 13, and by 5-1/2 points at Lumen Field in Week 18.
A lot has changed since then.
And yet ...
The perception that the Rams and Seahawks were teams headed in vastly different directions turned out to be correct.
It just didn’t go the way folks expected.
Despite dropping a pair of winnable games bookending their bye, the Seahawks are above .500 with a 6-5 record, and sit at #2 in the NFC West, a single game behind the division-leading 49ers.
The Rams, on the other hand, have the 2nd-worst record in the NFC (3-8) and have all but been eliminated from the playoff chase.
How bad are things in La La Land right now?
- Through 12 weeks, the Rams have the league’s 31st-ranked offense (in terms of yards) and have only accumulated 9 more total yards than the 32nd-ranked Texans.
- The Rams average 16.2 points per game which is the 4th-worst total in the league - ahead of only the Texans (15.8), Colts (15.7) and Broncos (14.3).
- Per PFF, the Rams have the worst offensive line the league ... and have for most of the season.
- The Rams leading rusher (Darrell Henderson, 283 yards) now plays for the Jaguars after having been released after Week 11, and the Rams’ #2 (now #1) running back (Cam Akers, 274 yards) averages 3.3 yards per carry and has as many fumbles as touchdowns (1 each).
Note: The Rams backup quarterback is their 3rd-leading rusher with 87 yards.
- All-World wideout Cooper Kupp is on IR after having surgery on his injured ankle and it’s unlikely that he will return in 2022.
- After their Week 12 loss to the Chiefs, Sean McVay announced that Allen Robinson, who signed a 3-year, $45M deal in free agency to be Robin to Kupp’s Batman, will undergo season-ending foot surgery.
- Matthew Stafford missed the Rams’ Week 12 game against the Chiefs because he was in the concussion protocol - and - also has “a neck injury” - and - experienced numbness in his legs during their Week 11 loss to the Saints.
Note: According to Kenneth Arthur, who we all know and (presumably) trust, the Rams do not intend to shut Stafford down for the season and he could, in fact, be in the lineup in Week 13.
As bad as it’s been for the Rams on offense, it hasn’t been much better for their once-vaunted defense.
- From a yardage perspective, the Rams are #10 league-wide, allowing 323.4 yards per game but they’re #20 against the pass (226.1 per game) which is only 3 spots ahead of Seattle.
- They are allowing the 18th-most points per game (23.0).
- Through Week 11, Jalen Ramsey was allowing a passer rating of 116.5 when targeted - a mark that is 20 points higher than his previous career-worst season (2019) - and - he has already allowed as many touchdowns as he did last year (5) which is two more than he had allowed in any season before that (2016-2020).
- Through 11 games, Aaron Donald has only registered 5 sacks.
All of the above notwithstanding, division games are hell and, although they lead the all-times series by a game (25-24), the Seahawks have not performed well against the Rams in recent years:
- Since Sean McVay took the reins in L.A., the Seahawks are 3-8 against the Rams, including the wildcard loss in the COVID-year playoffs.
- The Rams are currently on a 3-game win streak against the Seahawks having swept the season series last year.
Turnabout is fair play though. Right?
DraftKings Sportsbook has the Over/Under on this one set at 42 points which sounds sort of low until you consider that the Rams average 16.2 points per game and the Seahawks average 26.5; then it actually seems about right.