SERIES HISTORY: 36th regular-season meeting. Seahawks lead series, 21-14. The Rams have won the last two meetings between the clubs, with CB Trumaine Johnson recording an interception in both wins against the Seattle Seahawks last year. Johnson tied for the third-most interceptions in the NFL a season ago with seven, establishing a career-high. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson threw eight interceptions in 2015, two of which were snared by Johnson.
KEYS TO THE GAME: It's back to the basics for the Rams, who need to return to their strengths. And that's running the ball effectively and stopping the run. They did neither against the 49ers, but it's incumbent they win the line of scrimmage against the Seahawks. If so, Todd Gurley can have a big game and control the pace, Case Keenum will have time to operate and the defense will not be on the field as much as it was Monday night.
Seattle needs to concentrate the majority of their focus on two players: Aaron Donald and Gurley. Donald has 24 tackles and four sacks in four games against Seattle. Finding a way to keep him blocked will be pivotal. Additionally, Seattle will have to keep Gurley from finding running room in order to put the game in the shaky hands of Keenum.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
--Rams CB Trumaine Johnson vs. Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin. Johnson had seven interceptions last year. Baldwin needs one reception to move into sixth place on Seattle's all-time receptions list and 234 yards to move in to sixth on Seattle's receiving yards list.
--Rams OT Greg Robinson vs. Seahawks DE Michael Bennett. Robinson, the second overall pick in 2014 NFL Draft, started all 16 games last year and was part of an offensive line that allowed an NFL-low 18 sacks. Bennett needs three sacks to move into ninth place on Seattle's all-time sacks list, with 29.5.
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Seattle CB DeShawn Shead has climbed the ladder from undrafted practice-squad member to starting cornerback opposite Richard Sherman. After replacing Cary Williams as the team's starter in the second half of 2015, Shead has blossomed into a quality option on the right side of Seattle's defense. He had four tackles and two passes defended in Seattle's 12-10 victory over Miami last week.
INJURY REPORT: Seattle -- Out: G Germain Ifedi (ankle), TE Nick Vannett (ankle). Questionable: RB C.J. Prosise (wrist), T J'Marcus Webb (ankle). Los Angeles -- Out: CB E.J. Gaines (thigh), WR Nelson Spruce (knee). Doubtful: WR Pharoh Cooper (shoulder). Questionable: DT Michael Brockers (thigh), RB Todd Gurley (rest), CB Lamarcus Joyner (foot).
FAST FACTS: This is the first regular-season game in Los Angeles since 1994. ... Pete Carroll coached at USC from 2001 to 2009. ... Seattle has won five straight road games. A sixth win in Los Angeles would set a franchise record. ... Seattle WR Doug Baldwin caught eight passes for 118 yards and a TD in the last meeting. He is aiming for his fourth straight game with at least seven receptions vs. the Rams. ... Rams DT Aaron Donald has four sacks and a forced fumble in four meetings vs. Seattle.
PREDICTION: As bad as the Rams looked in the opening 28-0 loss to the 49ers, they always play the Seahawks tough. But this one is in L.A., which makes Pete Carroll and his players happy.
OUR PICK: Seahawks, 20-13.