Game: Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks
Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
Odds: Rams -2.5, Seahawks +2.5
Thursday night’s Rams-Seahawks clash is a big one for both teams. The Seahawks averted a 1-3 start with a big win over San Francisco last week. The Rams were humbled by the Arizona Cardinals who now sit atop the NFC West at 4-0 all by themselves. The winner of this game keeps the division title hopes alive while the loser isn’t done but will have a much tougher time getting to the top.
Thursday’s outcome comes down to two things primarily – defense and the quarterback matchup. The Rams were the NFL’s best defense a year ago. Through four weeks of the 2021 season, LA looks nothing like the defense that gave up the fewest yards and fewest points in the NFL last year.
Last week, the Rams stopped Arizona on their first possession forcing a punt. After that, it was all downhill. The Cardinals scored on seven of their next eight possessions. That cannot happen against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks.
Seattle’s defense is in a similar boat though the Seahawks did come through last week in their win over the 49ers. Head coach Pete Carroll’s defense ranks dead last in the NFL in total yards allowed – 444.5. That is going to have to change if Seattle is going to be a playoff team in 2021.
Offensively, both teams are capable of scoring big. The Rams rank sixth (28.8) and the Seahawks 10th (25.8) in scoring. Both quarterbacks are elite-level players. LA went out and traded for Matthew Stafford in the offseason. To say that trade has benefited the Rams is an understatement. Stafford is averaging 305 passing yards per game and has thrown 11 touchdowns. He also averages 9.1 yards per attempt.
That last number is just a few ticks behind Wilson, who leads the league in yards per attempt at 9.6. Wilson has nine scoring passes and has yet to throw an interception. It helps that Wilson can lean on RB Chris Carson and the running game at times.
Where the Seahawks’ offense struggles is in protection at times. So far, Seattle has allowed Wilson to be sacked 11 times in four games. That is concerning because last season Wilson was sacked a total of 47 times. That number was the third-highest in the NFL. The Rams, with three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald, have 12 sacks this season. That could be a key in Thursday night’s game.
The Rams have won six of the last eight in the series, including going 2-1 last year. The two teams met in the Wild Card round last season, a game won by the Rams 30-20. LA is also 5-3 ATS in those eight games.
A trend to watch is related to the high total (54) for tonight’s game. The Over is 6-0 in the Rams’ last six games. Oddly enough, if you take out the playoff game last year, the last three regular-season Rams-Seahawks games have produced a final score of 40 or fewer points. All three of those games went Under the total.
The Rams are 12-3-1 ATS in their last 16 games following a double-digit loss at home. Seattle is 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games as a home underdog. Interestingly, the moneyline favorite is 4-0 on Thursday Night Football and home teams are 3-1.