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Seahawks vs Rams Game Preview: Highlighting 4 key matchups

Seattle aims for a first road win over the Rams since 2017.

Carolina Panthers v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks are coming off of a difficult 40-34 overtime loss against the Las Vegas Raiders. They have now lost back-to-back games and have shown some discouraging signs in both games. Seattle looks to change that heading into Week 13 as they take on a depleted 3-8 Los Angeles Rams team. Aaron Donald, Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson will all be out in this one for the Rams and it is extremely likely that signal caller Matthew Stafford will also miss Sunday’s game.

As a result, the Seahawks are heavy favorites in this one as DraftKings Sportsbook currently 7.5-point favorite. The Rams, once one of the league’s strongest rosters, are now a shell of themselves due to injuries. They have only a few healthy impact players remaining meaning there is little to no excuse for Seattle to not end their losing streak in this one.


Jalen Ramsey vs DK Metcalf

Jalen Ramsey is having one of the worst seasons of his career. When targeted the three-time All-Pro corner has allowed a completion percentage of 66.1% and a passer rating of 100.5. For comparison’s sake Tariq Woolen has allowed a 55.8% and a 59.9 passer rating. For the first time in his NFL career Ramsey is being considered a beatable corner. The first video is very un-Jalen Ramsey like as he simply lets Chris Olave run right by him. He doesn’t get his hands on him; he just stays in a pedal and gets toasted. At the point of the catch there’s about four yards of separation between Ramsey and Olave. On the second play it looks like the former Florida State Seminole is guessing and lost. He gets his hands on Kelce off of the line of scrimmage but doesn’t do nearly enough to alter his release. Kelce shoves Ramsey inside, shimmies at the stem and creates once again at least four yards of separation at the catch point.

For years Ramsey was a corner who was consistently in the hip pocket of receivers, although this year we have not seen that. I’m very curious if the Seahawks game plan for attacking Ramsey will be to attack him with routes 15+ yards down the field as he simply does not look as comfortable defending them this year.

The edge - Jalen Ramsey

Despite taking one or two steps back this year Jalen Ramsey is still one of the more feared corners in the game because of what he brings to the table from a physicality and football IQ standpoint. The box scores show this to be about an even matchup since Ramsey has joined the Rams, although if you dig a bit deeper than that you can see Ramsey has largely controlled the battle outside of some broken plays. As a result of that and Metcalf’s confusing usage this season, I have to give Ramsey the edge in this one.

Front 7 vs the Seattle running game

The Rams front seven was dealt a huge blow this week when it was announced that 3-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald would be out due to an ankle injury. Replacing one of the best players in the league is not an enviable task, although the Rams have Bobby Wagner who can help fill the void. Wagner is still a producing at a high level as he has 90 combined tackles on the year so far, four of which are for a loss. There is not a whole lot to cover in Wagner’s game seeing as he was a Seahawk for 10 seasons. However, I did notice one slight difference and one major difference in how he’s been used in Los Angeles that should be discussed. The smaller change is last year Wagner averaged about 2.5 blitzes a game totaling 41 on the season, this year he’s averaging 2.9, translating to 32 through 11 games.

A small uptick but an indication that we might see more of Wagner blitzing on Sunday than we did in Seattle which the tweet shows us. The second change is he’s not being used in coverage nearly as much. Prior to this year he had been targeted 4.5, 5.06 and 5.4 times a game over the past three seasons respectively. This year he is being targeted 2.09 times a game which is a massive drop off compared to his time with Seattle. It’s a strange drop off as Wagner was never an eraser in coverage but he was never a liability either. Because of these changes in usage, it is likely we see a different style of Wagner this upcoming Sunday.

The edge - Rams front 7

Even with the loss of Aaron Donald the Rams get the edge in this one for me. As highlighted in a great article by thee Tyler Alsin, the Seahawks have a bit of a problem in the running game as it is either home run or bust. The Raiders are one of the worst teams in the league when it comes to defending the run and Seahawks running backs were only to gain 2.11 yards per carry. As a result, it is difficult to envision Seattle suddenly taking a massive step forward resulting in the Rams front seven getting the edge for me.


Defensive line vs the Rams offensive line

Clint Hurtt’s defensive line is largely made up of underrated veterans in Shelby Harris, Poona Ford, and Al Woods, who is going to be the focus of this section. I think there is an argument to be made that the 12-year veteran has been the Seahawks’ third best defender this season behind Uchenna Nwosu and Tariq Woolen; without him a suspect run defense would be one of the worst in the league. Woods is a very good space eating tackle who is able to disengage from blockers at the point of attack to make tackles at the line of scrimmage. The first video highlights this really well. He gets the blocker upright by gaining leverage on them as well as using a precise hand strike with an adjustment. He then disengages his boundary hand and chops with his inside hand to get off of the blocker and make the tackle.

On the second video we see Woods work off of a double team by swim moving both blockers which I do not think I have ever seen before. He then is able to quickly shuffle down the line of scrimmage and eliminate the gap that the run was intended for.

The edge - Seattle defensive line

The Seahawks defensive line has been up and down throughout this season. They got gashed for 7.1 yards per carry against the Raiders last week and allowed Rachaad White to pick up 4.8 yards a tote two games ago. Even with that in mind the Rams offensive line is beat up and they should be able to take advantage of that, especially Al Woods in the middle.

Secondary vs Bryce Perkins

Outside of Tariq Woolen this Seahawks secondary has been a mess. Coby Bryant has gone through expected and understandable growing pains throughout the season, Mike Jackson has struggled despite the stats showing otherwise and Quandre Diggs has taken a large step back this season. Diggs, the focus of this section, has seen his passer rating when targeted jump from 63.4 last season to 108.3 this season. Now it is a smaller sample size as it has only come on 25 targets compared to last season's 44, but it is still a massive jump, nonetheless. The first play was an amazing catch by Diggs, but he played it with sloppy footwork as he looked very in between on it. On a play where Diggs is supposed to be gaining depth in Cover 1 man, he instead takes his first step forward, then drops back and makes an interception on a terrible throw. Had the ball been on target I cannot say with certainty that Diggs would have been able to make a tackle at the catch point meaning it would have been a foot race to the sideline to prevent a massive gain.

The second tweet is simply overly aggressive, bad coverage from Diggs. From how aggressively he steps up on the route it looks like he is expecting the ball to be out almost the second Ameer Abdullah turns up field, but instead it comes out when Abdullah is 7 yards past that point. As a result of Diggs coming up too much and not being able to flip his hips quickly Abdullah gets right by and picks up the extremely easy touchdown.

The edge - The Seahawks secondary

Despite allowing Derek Carr to pick up 295 yards through the air against them, I do not think Perkins brings nearly enough to the table to attack a suspect Seattle secondary. As a result of that alone I am giving the secondary the edge in this one.

Score prediction - Seahawks 24 Rams 10

Last week recap

Davante Adams vs Tariq Woolen

Predicted edge - Adams - Actual edge - Woolen

Adams’ biggest play of the game was a 22-yard one handed catch along the sideline, but it came against Mike Jackson not Woolen. Adams did not make much of an impact when covered by Woolen giving the rookie the edge over another top tier wideout.

Josh Jacobs vs Seahawks front 7

Predicted edge - Jacobs - Actual edge - Jacobs

I’d say 229 rushing yards, 74 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns is enough to pick up the edge. Jacobs won the game on an 86-yard rushing touchdown in overtime but prior to that he was able to pick up chunks on the ground for most of the game.

Seahawks secondary vs Derek Carr

Predicted edge - the secondary - Actual edge - Carr

Carr did throw 2 interceptions, but he also threw for 295 passing yards and 3 touchdowns. The Seahawks secondary looked shaky outside of Diggs and Woolen which is enough to give Carr the edge.

Seahawks offensive line vs the Raiders defensive line

Predicted edge - offensive line - actual edge defensive line

The Raiders defensive line was able to create constant penetration in the running and passing game. Geno Smith was sacked three times but was under duress for stretches of the game. Then on the ground the Seahawks get anything going with Kenneth Walker lll who picked up 1.9 yards per carry on 14 rushes. The complete lack of a ground game gives the Raiders the edge.

Predicted score

Seahawks 28 - Raiders 17

Not at all close.

(All advanced stats cited provided by Pro Football Reference)