I highly doubt that I’m the only one who feels this way. Regardless of record, expectations, injuries, or supernatural forces the got dang Rams always play the Seahawks tough. It’s not just under Sean McVay either as this phenomenon dates back to the Jeff Fisher and Mike Martz days If only Scott Linehan was on the other sidelines this weekend with his 0-5 record against Seattle while he was coaching the St. Louis Rams from 2006-2008.
But he’s not. Instead, it’s McVay and his 9-5 record against the Seahawks. Obviously, this includes the 30-13 win at Lumen Field in Week 1 without Cooper Kupp. He’ll be back in this game and it seems as though Matthew Stafford will return to the field as well.
Matthew Stafford expected to start for the Rams against the Seahawks https://t.co/GrUMF1TB9S— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) November 13, 2023
Seattle has twice as many wins (6) as the Rams (3) and fare better in nearly every team ranking category on Pro Football Reference.
Does that make you feel any better about this matchup? I don’t. And it seems like I’m not the only one as the line on Draftkings Sportsbook has crept toward a “pick ‘em” game as the week rolled on.
Los Angeles is coming off of their bye week which followed an uninspiring 20-3 loss to the Green Bay Packers in Lambeau Field. You might as well throw that result out since Matt Stafford missed the game with a sprained UCL in his thumb and new Seahawks practice squad QB Brett Rypien was the starter for the Rams. Considering Rypien is now a part of the Seahawks organization, you can imagine how well that game went for him. I doubt he’ll have any more intel on McVay than what Shane Waldron and Andy Dickerson brought with them directly from the Rams coaching staff.
The rushing attack for Los Angeles will look quite different than the opening day matchup since Cam Akers was traded to the Minnesota Vikings and Kyren Williams – who scored 2 TDs in Week 1 – is injured. Royce Freeman and Darrell Henderson split carries against the Packers and were largely ineffective. Maybe the Rams will break out some jet sweep action to attack the edges of the Seahawks defense like they’ve done in the past.
Stafford carved up Seattle in the previous meeting, getting rid of the ball quickly to neutralize the pass rush. That was without Cooper Kupp and before the NFL knew that Puka Nacua is a legitimate NFL wide receiver. Tutu Atwell also had a career high 119 yards receiving in that game, so the Rams aren’t short on receiving weapons.
The Seahawks need to get pressure on Stafford and – as luck would have it – they have a player who’s been coming on lately.
Boye Mafe leads the Seahawks with 30 QB pressures this season— PFF SEA Seahawks (@PFF_Seahawks) November 14, 2023
He has already tripled his pressure tally from his rookie year (10) pic.twitter.com/geRkJ5dZVb
With a sack this weekend, @Seahawks LB Boye Mafe can become the fourth player under age 25 since 1982 (Chris Jones, Jevon Kearse & Robert Mathis) with a sack in eight straight games within a single season. #GoHawks pic.twitter.com/6et2wGD9fB— Seahawks PR (@seahawksPR) November 15, 2023
Boye Mafe is exploding in his second season with a franchise record seven straight games with a sack. He’s also got some help next to him with the addition of “Big Cat” Leonard Williams.
Leonard Williams was an absolute monster yesterday. Every sack the Seahawks had either happened because of the dirty work he did or was directly made by him.— Corbin K. Smith (@CorbinSmithNFL) November 13, 2023
If Williams and Jarran Reed can get interior push, that could cause some of the head-scratching throws Stafford has made in the past. And if that happens, the Seahawks need to capitalize.
There’s one player suited to do just that who also missed the first matchup between these two teams.
Devon Witherspoon in single coverage— PFF (@PFF) November 15, 2023
️ 16 targets
️ 3 catches allowed
️ 7 forced incompletions
️ 39.6 passer rating allowed pic.twitter.com/JIIhKfUr0x
Devon mother forking Witherspoon. That’s it. That’s the tweet (or X).
I try to be level-headed and not hype things up too much, but Witherspoon is making it extremely difficult. It’s not just the physical traits and energy, either. His awareness and instincts are off the charts. He’s like a 10-year vet trapped in a rookie’s body. Remember that Spoon missed nearly all of training camp. What he’s doing right now is just scratching the surface of what he can be. I honestly think that he could play any position in the secondary if they asked him to.
“Dad, what was it like watching Devon Witherspoon?” pic.twitter.com/3WUTohlLP1— Dr. Ball Knower (@seeeeaaaahawks) November 12, 2023
Seattle might need Witherspoon to play lights-out to come away with a victory in Los Angeles, but he’ll have a host of other players who also didn’t take the field in Week 1. Leonard Williams will continue to get better as he becomes acclimated to playing with his new defensive line mates. Jordyn Brooks was on a snap count and Jamal Adams was still rehabbing from injury. Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas were both injured during the game and this week could be the first time the bookend tackles have been on the field together since. Jaxon Smith-Njigba was proving everyone wrong just by playing in the game so shortly after breaking his wrist. The legend of Jake Bobo still hadn’t reached its zenith.
There are a lot of differences this time, just a few months removed from the last game. Seattle has the talent on both sides of the ball to come away with a victory – and yet – this game will likely be just as annoying and frustrating as most contests between these two teams. If you say that you enjoy watching the Seahawks play the Rams, I call bullshit. Still, this is another chance for Seattle to put together a complete game and build momentum heading into the gaping maw of the upcoming schedule.