Los Angeles Rams: Three Keys to Grounding the Seattle Seahawks
With the NFL wild card weekend upon us in a day, we will be likely to see some great matchups. One of which could be the divisional matchup between the Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks. This game will be played in Lumen Field, the Seahawks newly named stadium, on Saturday at 4:40 PM EST. The Rams are coming in as the underdog for this game, but could definitely pull off an upset if they follow these three keys.
Run, Run, and Run the Ball
This is going to be the difference between a Rams loss and a Rams win, rushing the ball. The ground attack will be huge for this game due to the complete uncertainty at the QB position. With Jared Goff recovering from thumb surgery, he is still questionable for Saturday’s game, which could leave John Wolford in his place. While John did enough last week to beat the Arizona Cardinals, I really do not believe relying on him heavily will beat playoff teams.
As a team, you have a fantastic rookie RB in Cam Akers and another proficient runner in Malcolm Brown. Use them. Cam has been fantastic in both the run game and the passing game, accruing these stats on the season:
- 145 rushing attempts for 625 yards and 2 touchdowns (only 13 games played)
- 11 receptions for 123 yards and a touchdown
In his last 4 weeks, he has seen his offensive usage go up exponentially in terms of offensive snaps taken. He was on the field for more than 60% of offensive snaps in his last 4 games and never broke 40% before that this season. The Rams will be relying on him this weekend to give them a shot offensively.
This Rams Defense Needs to Play Their Game
This one is a little more specific to the whole defensive unit and not just a few players. The Rams defense has been fantastic all year, only giving up 30+ in one game this year against the Buffalo Bills. Overall on the year it ranked #1 overall in defense and ranked #1 in total defense and passing defense. It ranked #3 in rush defense, which is still insanely good for this team. This defense will need to have a performance this week to keep the Rams in this game, due to the lack of explosive plays if Jared Goff does not play.
The secondary will need to be able to erase Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf out of the deep passing game. Otherwise, they just need to play like they have been for the whole season and just fundamentally play good football. A forced turnover or two would certainly help out in the game, to give their offense more chances at scoring. Within the front 7, the pressure will be key for this game. Getting Russell Wilson out of the pocket and following with linebackers to tackle him near the line of scrimmage is going to be key.
Smart, Rams Style Play Calling Throughout the Game
This is arguably the most important part of this game for the Rams, play-calling. We all know Sean McVay has good calls both offensively and defensively throughout games, which is great for the team. The reason I am bringing this up is due to their QB situation for this game. He is going to have to realize that John Wolford is not Jared Goff, and this is his first NFL playoff start, and second NFL start at all. Being able to accommodate for his playing style is going to be huge for this offense as if he can really just have Wolford avoid big mistakes they will have a good chance.
After having a full week of practice this week knowing Wolford is in and being able to make a playbook for him, he should look better arguably. He will now be coming into this game (possibly) as the starter, knowing what he has to do and what role he plays. Granted, he played the whole of their week 17 game against the Cardinals. So it’s not like he got thrown in mid-game. However, having all week to prepare for this moment with the knowledge that he could/will be the starter will prepare him with a better mindset.
He also really did not have that bad of a game last week which is something to note here. Besides his first NFL pass being an interception, he had a fairly clean game as a starter. Completing about 58% of his passes, throwing 231 yards, and rushing 6 times for….56 yards?! Getting over 9 yards per rush as a quarterback is pretty impressive, especially in your first NFL game ever. If that is something they can somehow cater to and let him have reign over scrambling, that could be something to watch for this game.
The Rams are going to have to do each of these things, to an extent at least, to win this game. They beat Seattle the first time around this year and lost the second time. This game is far from a Seattle lock. I think this game will come down to which team controls the ball more, and which team can really get moving on offense. If the Rams can produce 20 points or more, their defense may be able to handle the rest. This is Provided they continue as they have this season.
What do you think the Rams need to do to come out on top? Leave a comment down below and let me know!
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