“Westside Story”


Intriguing Game- Week Five

Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks

Rams: They haven’t really impressed me this year. They won ugly in Carolina the first week of the season, dominated the Saints in week two when Drew Brees went down with the thumb injury, they got everything they could handle from the Cleveland Browns in week three and escaped a close battle. On Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, all their issues were on full display and it caught up to them. The biggest takeaway from the Rams in the first four games of the year has been the struggles of Jared Goff. He just doesn’t seem like the guy who seemed to be elevating his play since Sean McVay became the Rams head coach and Sunday was a prime example. He threw the football a total of 68 times, you read that right along with seven yards per attempt. The numbers however weren’t that great as he threw two touchdown passes and three interceptions. These struggles also came against a Buccaneers team who was ranked 22nd in pass defense which isn’t good. I’ve always said when team find a way to neutralize Aaron Donald, the defense doesn’t have much to offer. I’ll never doubt a defensive being coached by Wade Phillips. He’s always had them in the elite category of defense. They made Jameis Winston look like the second coming of Peyton Manning Sunday and the Rams entered the day ranked four in total defense. They gave up 55 points which raises some eyebrows. From everything I just wrote, I’m still not giving up on them yet. They did win the conference last year and if you want to get somewhere in the NFC, this is still the team you need to take down to advance. It’s a short week and tonight, they’ll face a division rival looking to bounce back.

Seahawks: They bounced back nicely after a shocking home loss to the New Orleans Saints in week three, something nobody saw coming especially without Brees playing. In Arizona on Sunday, they rode a methodical offensive attack along with an opportunistic defensive effort. From an offensive standpoint, they were extremely balanced as the Seahawks threw the football 28 times and ran it 27. In a way, they’ve quietly gone about their business so far. They’re 3-1 and all you’ve heard about in the NFC is the Cowboys are the real deal, the Packers are a much-improved team, the Saints are contenders, the Rams are still the team to beat in the NFC. Pete Carroll has the Seahawks sitting at 3-1 right now in a tie for second place looking up to the San Francisco 49ers. The last few seasons have been difficult for them for two reasons. The first has been their offensive line. I can’t stress this enough, but you truly play as well as those five guys up front and your quarterback shouldn’t be running for his life. Because of those issues, Russell has been one of the three most hit quarterbacks in the last three years or so. The second was their lack of a running game. When you think about the two years they got to the Super Bowl in consecutive seasons, they had one of the best rushing attacks with Marshawn Lynch. Now, you have Chris Carson who’s helped provide some balance and it takes pressure off the quarterback. As a defense, they can tighten some things up. The secondary isn’t as strong as what it was in previous years with the “Legion of Boom” and I think that could be their downfall later in the year if they don’t address it. The front seven has been the strength. Clowney made his presence felt early on. He recorded a pick-six on Sunday against the Cardinals. It’s been a short week for them, and they’ll get ready to face a team that’s had their number the last few years.

Rams Player to Watch: Tyler Higbee– On an offense with Toddy Gurley, Robert Woods, Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp, it’s understandable how someone could go a little under the radar. The Rams will find a way to get him the ball in space. Whether it’s a mismatch with a safety or linebacker, he’s winning that battle because they won’t be able to cover him.

Seahawks Player to Watch: Tyler Lockett– He’s the Seahawks most dynamic offensive weapon. He’s their new “Doug Baldwin” but can do more. He’s that guy you can target on third and short to convert on first down, he can stretch the field vertically and he’s also a threat in the special team aspect of the game.

Final Analysis: The Rams won both games last year when these two met. Now, it seems as if both teams are headed in different directions. I see this game coming down to pass protection. Keeping the quarterback upright is always important when these two meet. Russ has been sacked a total of 12 times in 2019 and that number would be higher if it weren’t for his ability to escape. It will be important that he gets rid of the football quickly tonight. Jared Goff has been sacked ten times this year. Tampa Bay put enormous amounts of pressure on him in week four, what makes you think Seattle won’t bring the heat? I see Seattle’s defensive front blitzing more than normal to try and get Goff out of rhythm. The Rams need to feed Todd Gurley the football early on. He’s still looking for his first 100-yard rushing game this season. If I’m Seattle, I’m attacking the Rams secondary. Get Lockett and Metcalf some deep passes early in the first half.

Prediction: Seahawks 27 Rams 20

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