The NFL Playoffs are here, and one of the featured matchups on Saturday is the rubber match between the Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks won the NFC West, and the number three seed, while the Rams settled for second place in the division, and the sixth seed. The two teams split their regular season meetings, with Los Angeles winning the first game on November 15 by a score of 23-16, and Seattle getting their revenge in the penultimate game of the regular season, 20-9, on December 27.
In the first meeting, the two teams were pretty evenly matched stats-wise, but the Rams dominated the time of possession, as they had four scoring drives of 70 or more yards, and held the ball for 33:36 in the game. The Seahawks had three turnovers in Los Angeles territory, and even though none of them led to points, those turnovers stopped potential scoring drives for Seattle.
In the second meeting, the Seahawks clinched the NFC West with the win. In this game, the Rams, once again, held the advantage in time of possession. They also ran 14 more plays than Seattle did, while outgaining them by 42 yards. This time, however, Los Angeles couldn’t punch the ball into the end zone, having to settle for just three field goals. The game was a battle of field goals until the Seahawks finally got into the end zone early in the third quarter to break a 6-6 tie.
The two teams were 1-1 against the spread in their two meeting, while the total went under in both games. For the season, Seattle is 8-8 against the spread, while the over-under is 7-9. Los Angeles is 9-7 against the spread, while the total went under in 12 of their 16 games this season.
Rams looking to make another Super Bowl runAfter taking a break from the playoffs last season, the Los Angeles Rams are back in the postseason and looking to get back to the Super Bowl, which they lost to the New England Patriots at the end of the 2018 season. The Rams have a long, and largely unsuccessful, postseason history. They have played 47 postseason games all-time, with a 21-26 overall record. They are just 3-6 in the wild card round of the playoffs. Los Angeles has made the playoffs in three of their last four seasons, but they went 13 years, from 2004 to 2017, without making the postseason.
This season’s iteration of the Rams has had an up-and-down year. They haven’t won or lost more than two games in a row all season. Los Angeles has played pretty well against the better teams in the league, going 4-2 against teams that made this season’s playoffs. However, they lost to the 6-10 San Francisco 49ers twice, and the lowly 2-14 New York Jets, who got their first win of the season against the Rams in week 15.
Los Angeles doesn’t come into this game with a lot of momentum. They lost two of their last three games, while their starting quarterback, Jared Goff, missed their season finale, which was the Rams’ only win in the last three, with a thumb injury. Goff is day-to-day right now, and it is unclear whether he will be able to start on Saturday. Goff completed 67.0% of his passes this season for 3,952 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. He has now thrown 29 interceptions in the last two seasons. If Goff is unable to play, the Rams will turn to John Wolford, who made his NFL debut in last week’s season-ending 18-7 win over the Arizona Cardinals, which clinched a playoff berth for Los Angeles. Wolford was 22-38 for 231 yards and an interception (on his first career pass). He did not lead the Rams to a touchdown, which is the second straight game that the team hasn’t scored an offensive touchdown, but the defense scored nine points to lead the team to victory.
“I was really impressed with (Wolford), but I was proud of this team,” coach Sean McVay said on espn.com. “I just can't say enough about the defense. ... They’ve been unbelievable all year. They’ve really been the strength of this team, and I thought they showed up in a big way.”
Los Angeles had over 2,000 yards rushing this season, led by their three-headed running attack of Cam Akers (625 yards), Darrell Henderson, Jr. (624 yards), and Malcolm Brown (419 yards). Henderson, Jr. was placed on IR, however, and is out indefinitely. Akers missed their week 16 game with the Seahawks with a high-ankle sprain, but he returned last week, rushing for 34 yards and catching four passes for 52 yards. Cooper Kupp (92 catches, 974 yards, three touchdowns) and Robert Woods (90 catches, 936 yards, six touchdowns) lead the receiving corps. Kupp missed last week’s game after testing positive for COVID-19, but he will be available to play in Saturday’s playoff game.
The Rams are averaging 23.3 points per game this season, while they are 11th in the NFL with 377.0 yards per game, and 10th in rushing yards with 126.1 yards per game. Los Angeles has the number one defense in the league, ranking first in points allowed per game (18.5), total yards allowed per game (281.9), and passing yards allowed per game (190.7). They are also giving up the third-fewest rushing yards per game (91.3).
Defensive lineman Michael Brockers (COVID-19 list) is out indefinitely, while linebacker Natrez Patrick (groin), offensive lineman Joe Noteboom (back), running back Cam Akers (ankle), tackle David Edwards (ankle), quarterback Jared Goff (thumb), tackle Andrew Whitworth (knee), and linebacker Micah Kiser (knee) are all questionable for Saturday’s game.
Seahawks looking to make deep run in postseasonThe Seattle Seahawks have qualified for the postseason for the third straight season, and the eighth time in the last nine seasons. They lost to the Green Bay Packers in the Division Round of the playoffs last season by a score of 28-23. Seattle is 17-17 in their postseason history, while they have gone 9-5 in the wild card round of the playoffs.
The Seahawks closed the regular season with a four-game winning streak, and have won six of their last seven games overall. In last week’s season-ending victory over the San Francisco 49ers, the Seahawks overcame a 16-6 fourth-quarter deficit to score 20 points in the final stanza to pull out the win. Quarterback Russell Wilson didn’t have his best game, but he did enough to get the W. He was just 20-36 for 181 yards and two touchdowns. It was his third sub-200 yard passing game of the season.
“I’m really fired up that we continue to be a finishing club and we find ways to do it," coach Pete Carroll said on espn.com. "We can match up our numbers at the end of season with anybody. And it’s something that it’s in the blood around here, and I’m really proud of that and finishing strong is always something that we love.”
Wilson had his fourth 4,000-yards passing season of his career, throwing for 4,212 yards, which was just seven yards shy of his career-high. He had his highest completion percentage of his career (68.8%) and he set a career-high with 40 touchdown passes. He also set a career-high with 13 interceptions. Wilson was the team’s second-leading rusher this season with 513 yards and two touchdowns. Chris Carson, who is nursing a foot injury, but should play on Saturday, leads the team with 681 yards rushing this season. The Seahawks had a pair of 1,000-yard receivers this season. DK Metcalf had 83 catches for 1,303 yards and 10 touchdowns in the regular season, while Tyler Lockett had 100 catches for 1,054 yards and 10 touchdowns.
The Seahawks have the eighth-best scoring team in the NFL at 28.7 points per game. They are averaging 369.5 yards per game this season. Defensively, they are giving up 23.2 points per game and 380.6 total yards per game. Seattle has the fifth-best rushing defense in the league, giving up just 95.6 yards rushing per game, while they have the second-worst passing defense (285.0 per game).
Cornerback Jayson Stanley is out indefinitely with a hamstring injury, while tight end Greg Olsen (foot) and running back Carlos Hyde (illness) are listed as probable. Tackle Duane Brown (knee), defensive tackle Jarran Reed (oblique), running back Chris Carson (foot), safety Jamal Adams (shoulder), guard Mike Iupati (neck), and wide receiver Josh Gordon (suspension) are listed as questionable.
Trends found on covers.com:
- The home team is 11-5 ATS in the last 16 meetings between Seattle and the Los Angeles Rams
- The Rams are 4-10 ATS in their last 14 meetings in Seattle