Sunday is finally here, and to be honest I haven’t been this excited for an NFL football game in a long time. Seeing the Rams playing on national TV for a chance to go to he playoffs is way more than I ever imagined for this team, and I for one have no problem getting greedy and expecting a win tonight, so let’s take a look at my keys to the game.
QB Carousel – Everyone expects Charlie Whitehurst to start under center for Seattle tonight, and while I’m not usually one to jump on the conspiracy theory bandwagon, I can’t help but shake the feeling that the Seahawks are sandbagging. Matt Hasselbeck practiced Friday, and I wouldn’t be shocked in the slightest if he started. I would much rather see Whitehurst as their QB, obviously, but it’s not like Hasselbeck automatically makes them a better team than the Rams. Either way, our D-line has to get after whoever is under center, and I like our chances if we do that.
Stop The Run – The quarterback situation in Seattle is an issue, but they do have a pretty serviceable running game. We have to be able to stop Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett. I don’t think they will beat us through the air, but they are good enough to use the play-action to attack our secondary in single coverage. If they Rams close the door on defense early, they can take control of the game.
Early Lead – Playing off that last point, getting an early lead is huge. If we force Seattle to battle back using the pass, I think we will be fine. Their receivers aren’t anything to write home about, and neither is their quarterback. Making a below-average team one-dimensional, especially when defense is your strength, plays right into your hands.
The 12th Man – There’s no doubt that Seattle fans are some of the loudest in the NFL, and I’m sure they will be rocking. Taking the air out of that stadium is of vital importance, especially with a rookie quarterback under center. I’m not convinced that the confidence level in Seattle is super high right now, so I think the fans will throw in the towel early if we give them a reason to do so.
Special Teams – If there’s one thing that scares me about this Seattle team, it’s their return game. Leon Washington is the real deal, and we cannot let him get going. If the Rams do lose this game, I have a feeling this is the area we will be pointing to afterward.
No prediction again this week, but I’m excited and nervous and every other emotion there is. It will be fun, so enjoy it Rams fans.