Naturally, the St. Louis Rams first real taste of primetime action would come on the heels of the most devastating injury to the franchise since… 2011, when Bradford sustained a high ankle sprain that many thought would require some type of surgery to repair. Luckily, the Rams have been secretly grooming a “stud backup” quarterback for just such an occasion; enter Kellen Clemens. All joking aside, the St. Louis Rams will have their hands full on Monday Night Football, taking on the likely “favorite” in the NFC, and the almost inevitable winner of the NFC West. The Seahawks have struggled on the road this season, losing to Indianapolis, squeaking by Carolina, and needing an overtime period to finish off the Houston Texans. However, with their Richard Sherman-led defense and Marshawn Lynch-heavy offense, they can beat anyone, in any stadium, on any given Sunday. So, with the cards stacked against the St. Louis Rams, will any pick them for the upset?
To be perfectly frank, this is the kind of game the Rams normally win — and, in fact, last year, they did. Sam Bradford is out, however, which means we get Kellen Clemens. I like Kellen. I celebrate the guy’s entire catalog. And yet … it’s hard to give the Rams much of a chance here. Clemens barely has played this season. And consider this: When a backup comes in mid-game, he’s playing with house money, i.e., he has nothing to lose. But it’s a different deal when the understudy preps for the start all week. Why? Because a talented defense — like the Seahawks’ unit — spends the same amount of time prepping for him. St. Louis running back Zac Stacy might get 20 carries. Since becoming the starter three weeks ago, he’s averaging 16.3 carries per game. Problem is, trying to run on first down to set up the pass doesn’t work against Seattle. The Seahawks are allowing just 2.97 yards per carry on first down. #SEAvsSTL Seattle 24, St. Louis 14
The better you get as a team, the more you play on anything but Sunday afternoons at 1 p.m. Seattle is 2-0 this year in night games, winning at home against San Francisco on a Sunday nighter in Week 2 and at Arizona last Thursday night. The Seahawks are getting used to the glamor-team treatment and seem ready to play no matter when they kick off. Make no mistake, the Rams without Sam Bradford are not a glamor team. Kellen Clemens is in for a rough night in the home dome, with maybe Game 5 of the World Series going on just down the street. Seattle 34, St. Louis 16
MDS’s take: Pity Rams quarterback Kellen Clemens having to take on that nasty Seahawks defense in his first start in two years. It’s going to get ugly in St. Louis.
MDS’s pick: Seahawks 34, Rams 6.
Florio’s take: After the Rams have moved and people in St. Louis are tempted to lament the fact that their NFL franchise is gone, they’ll be able to look back on this game, and it will make them feel a little bit better.
Florio’s pick: Seahawks 38, Rams 13
Some sites prefer to merely throw out their picks, instead of outlining boldly predicted scores. In the Week 8 “expert picks” for ESPN, 14 out of 14 picked the Seattle Seahawks to win. In CBS Sports’ “Against the Spread” predictions, eight out of eight went with the anti-underdog Seahawks, even with Seattle set as a +10.5 point favorite on Sunday. Obviously, their “Straight Up” picks were not any better for Rams Nation, with the voters unanimously picking the Seattle for the win
No surprises here. No analyst worth his salt would take a St. Louis Rams squad, one with a losing record before the Bradford injury, and pick them to win over against of the better teams in the NFL. However, crazier things have happened in the NFL, and with the St. Louis Cardinals playing right down the street, maybe some of their “playoff magic” will rub off on the Rams.
Guess we’ll find out tonight…