It’s Monday and of course that means it’s time for Monday Night Football and tonight’s match-up consists of the Seattle Seahawks traveling to St. Louis, Missouri to face-off against the St. Louis Rams. Going into this game, Seahawks are looking to maintain control of the NFC West and improve their record to 7-1 with another win. While the Rams are looking to stay competitive especially without their quarterback Sam Bradford, seeing that he is out for the season with a torn ACL.
Technically this should be an easy win for the Seahawks but nothing in the NFL is guaranteed, especially since the Seahawks aren’t known for being the best road team and I’m sure the Rams are looking to make a statement by beating the Seahawks. While both teams have a chance to win, there will be certain keys to victory for both teams.
Seahawks Keys to Victory
The first thing this Seahawk team needs to do is run the ball and they should do it early and often. There is no doubt that Seahawks have one of the best running games in the NFL and running backs in Marshawn Lynch. Plus the Rams are just not good at stopping the run, seeing that they are ranked 30th in the NFL in opponent rushing yards. I expect the Rams to focus on stopping the run but the Seahawks must continue to run the ball, plus it will help to open up things in the passing game and keep the Rams pass rushers in check.
Which leads me to the next key, the Seahawks offensive line must be prepared to slow down the Rams front four, specifically defensive end Robert Quinn who has been great this season. I have no doubt that quarterback Russell Wilson will expose the Rams secondary but only if he has time in the pocket. I also would like to see the Seahawks continue with their play action schemes because it gives Wilson time to make a play plus he has the option to run the ball if needed.
Defensively the Seahawks have to be prepared to step up, the Rams may not have their quarterback Sam Bradford anymore this season but there are still weapons on this Rams offense, specifically wide receiver Tavon Austin, while he has had his inconsistent moments this season, there is no doubt that he is a weapon. He has great speed which is hard to contain, so the Seahawks should be prepared to slow him down. The defense should also be prepared to pressure quarterback Kellen Clemens, the offensive-line didn’t do the best job of protecting Bradford, so the Seahawks should look to challenge the Rams offensive line and see if they can force a couple of turnovers.
Finally the Seahawks must be able to slow down the Rams run game. I anticipate with them bringing in quarterback Kellen Clemens, they may run the ball more with rookie running back Zac Stacy. Now obviously the Seahawks have a good secondary but their run defense has improved, so they will need to be prepared to slow down Stacy and make the Rams an one-dimensional team.
Rams Keys to Victory
When it comes to the Rams, the first thing they need to do, is limit turnovers, when you’re facing a team like the Seahawks, you can’t afford to turn it over because they will make you pay for it. The way to limit turnovers, is to keep it simple for quarterback Kellen Clemens. Clemens would be smart to stick to what the defense gives him, honestly he should stick to short and intermediate passes which will hopefully open up some deep ball passing opportunities as the game goes on.
Mainly I think the offense needs to run the ball more, while the Rams haven’t had the best running game this season, they certainly have capable weapons, such as running back Zac Stacy along with wide receiver Tavon Austin, they are both capable of shaking things up in the offense. However for both Clemens and the running g game to be successful, the offensive line must step up, and give Clemens time in the pocket and open up holes for Stacy. If the Rams can get off to a good start and continue to put some form of points on the board, they might be able to stick with the Seahawks but they will need their defense to get some stops.
Defensively, it all starts with the pass rush, if the Rams can figure out a way to get pressure on quarterback Russell Wilson or at least contain him, they have a shot at making this an interesting game. However, the defensive line will need the linebackers help in containing not only Wilson but also running back Marshawn Lynch. When you talk about the Seahawks, the best bet is to make them a one-dimensional team, if the Rams could do that, they may have a chance.
Finally, the defense must do their best to force turnovers. Right now I don’t expect the Rams offense to produce a lot of points, so they will need the defense to help them out. While the offense should be grateful if the Rams defense is able to earn a couple stops, they would be even more grateful if they can force some turnovers.
I am going with the Seahawks to win this game, while it could easily be a blowout, I wouldn’t be shocked if this turned out to be a close game. I mean think about it, every road game the Seahawks have had so far this season has been fight for them, so I wouldn’t expect anything different in this game. As I said earlier, the Rams are looking to salvage their season and make a statement, so there’s no need to underestimate them. As always, I hope for a good game and remember if the game turns out to be a blow-out, you can always turn the channel. Tune into the Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams tonight at 8:25pm (ET) on ESPN.
Written by LBeasley, Sports Contributor for Radio One Detroit
Listen to LBeasley’s Radio Show, “Sports Talk with L-Beasley” every Mon, Wed & Fri from 6-8pm (ET) on LBeasley.com