The Seattle Seahawks are now officially the leaders of the NFC West. We know that wasn’t what was expected. And it may not be the way it ends. Seattle and San Francisco have both played so well that it’s a shame one of them will have to be a wild card.
The odd men out here could be the Los Angeles Rams, who did put together a great effort last week. But this is a whole different animal they’ll be facing when these teams get together on Sunday night. The site is the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. And kickoff is at 8:20 PM ET. While BetAnySports customers are watching this game on NBC, they can place wagers in real-time through two different outlets. Of course, we are talking about Sports Betting Ultra and Live Betting Extra.
What’s working for the Seahawks?
The Seahawks keep rising to the occasion, and it is not necessarily a product of “home bias” either. The two losses they have sustained came at CenturyLink Field. Where they have really stood out is on the road, where they have gone a perfect 6-0. Last week they had a struggle, but still managed to beat the Minnesota Vikings (37-30). That, coupled with San Francisco’s loss at Baltimore, vaulted the Seahawks into first place. Currently, the tie-breaker is their head-to-head victory over the Niners. That’s right, in the Bay Area.
You can’t talk about Seattle without talking about the MVP candidacy of quarterback Russell Wilson, who is averaging over eight yards per attempt. Wilson brings intangibles to the table that is actually pretty tough to describe. And were not just speaking in cliché. There are few teams in the NFL who have as much confidence in their on-field leader.
Of course, one of the other things that has worked for Seattle is the running game. Pete Carroll is determined to put the ball on the ground, and you’ll find that the Seahawks are one of the teams in the league that runs it most frequently (47.4%).
Let’s take the first meeting between these two as an example. In Seattle’s dramatic 30-29 victory, they had 43 rushing plays. Wilson through the ball only 23 times. They like what they have been getting lately out of Rashaad Penny. Last year’s first-round draft pick is averaging close to six yards a carry. And he has been invaluable catching passes out of the backfield. He is a big-play threat.
Here are the numbers…
In the NFL odds that have been posted on this Sunday night game, it’s a pretty close decision:
Seattle Seahawks vs. Los Angeles Rams NFL Week 14 Betting Odds
|Seahawks||-1 (-101)||47 (-105)||–|
|Rams||+1 (-109)||47 (-105)||–|
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The Rams need the Gurley-man
Sean McVay’s team was completely embarrassed in its 45-6 loss to Baltimore a couple of weeks ago. In fact, the Rams were outrushed by a 285-22 margin. They went on the road last week and put some hurt on the Arizona Cardinals. Jared Goff threw for 417 yards. But he was playing against quite possibly the worst secondary in the league.
The key thing here for the Rams is whether they can sustain some kind of running game against Seattle’s defensive front. That is because McVay bases many of his passing calls on play action. Last week the Rams had 132 yards on the ground. So they were successful in that regard.
It’s been demonstrated that the Seahawks are not impermeable, by any means. In fact, they have yielded 4.5 yards per carry. Todd Gurley has come alive a little lately; he had 97 rushing yards against Chicago three weeks ago. And then against Arizona he had 95. It would be fair to say that, overall, he’s been something of a disappointment. Of course, he’s probably not healed completely from the mysterious knee injury that made him less useful in January.
At 7-5, the Rams have some ground to make up. First of all, either Seattle or San Francisco is going to be a wildcard team. And they are both three games ahead of Los Angeles. The Rams will have to take aim at Minnesota, which is one game ahead of them at the moment.
But a sense of urgency does not necessarily make them a play. When a team goes on the road and consistently wins games, that’s a huge plus. And the Seahawks have done this at Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Philadelphia, to name a few venues. The defensive numbers may not look sensational. But there have been emerging playmakers. Jadeveon Clowney has been making a difference, despite an injury that will eventually require surgery. Qunadre Diggs has become a stud in the secondary. And Ziggy Ansah is finally giving this team some result up front.
The main ingredient is Wilson, and he’s plenty. No, the Rams’ win at Arizona is not the “buy” signal for us. We’ll stick with Pete Carroll’s team, which is third in the NFL in takeaways.
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