In just a few hours, the Rams and Seahawks will tangle in the Dome in an inter-divisional match-up that could go a long way in showing if either team has what it takes to win the NFC West. In an interesting side note, the Rams will also look to break the streak of 10 straight Seattle victories in the rivalry. I think the Rams have a very good chance of taking this win, but here is a look at some of the issues that could decide who takes this one home.
Home Cookin’-The Seahawks are an absolutely abysmal road team, and the Rams are coming off their first win of the season at the Dome. I think being at home is a huge advantage, and we need the crowd to be in this thing from start to finish. I will not be able to attend this week because I have to work (I know, it’s Sunday. Unfortunately, the Centralia Sentinel still needs to go out on Monday), but everyone who does make the trip needs to get some beverages in them early and be as loud as possible.
Mr. Washington, I Presume?-New Ram Chauncey Washington will make his debut for the team this week, but the real Washington to keep an eye on makes his home in the Pacific Northwest. Leon Washington absolutely destroyed te Chargers in the return game last week, and he was pretty much the reason Seattle pulled out the victory. The Rams have had issues on special teams, but if they want to win this game, they will have to keep the dynamic Washington in check.
(No?) Action Jackson– We still don’t know for sure what the status of SJ39 will be today, but if I were a betting man, I would guess he plays it safe and sits this one out. If he does go, it seem likely he will be extremely limited. Jackson is a huge part of this offense, but we need some people to step up if he can’t go. First on that list is Kenneth Darby. It’s no secret that I’m not a Darby fan, but I could jump on the bandwagon if he plays as well today as he did last week. Keith Toston will need to make an impact as well, but we will need to get some running production from somewhere.
Sam The Savior– If Jackson is indeed out, the pressure falls squarely on the shoulders of our rookie quarterback, Sam Bradford. Sam will probably have to drop back and chuck the ball plenty, so he will have to continue to show that he is already a legit NFL signal-caller. There’s no doubt in my mind that Bradford can handle the pressure, because he hasn’t cracked yet. The question is, will it be enough?
Tight On The TE– Seattle tight end John Carlson has a history of killing the Rams, and he is probably the Seahawks’ best offensive option heading into the game. If the defense can keep Carlson in check like they did to Chris Cooley last week, I think Seattle will have some trouble putting up points.
Put Matt On His Hassel”back”-I’ve long thought Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck was extremely overrated, but he can be pretty good when he gets all day in the pocket. On the other hand, he will thrown the ball to the defense if he is under pressure on a consistent basis. It’s obvious that one of, if not THE, weakest spots on this roster is the pass-rush, so the Rams need to find a way to force Hasselbeck into some bad throws. And, when he does throw us the ball, we have to catch it. We can’t afford to give away turnovers this week, or any week for that matter.
Now, for my prediction. I am concerned about the lack of SJ39, but I don’t think I could live with myself if I picked the Seahawks over the Rams, so i will go 21-17 St. Louis. The game is not blacked out, so tune in at noon to see if the Rams can move back to .500 and get themselves right in the thick of the NFC West race.