Seattle Seahawks vs. Los Angeles Rams: Prediction, preview, pick to win

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Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson hands off to Thomas Rawls during first quarter action against the Atlanta Falcons in their NFC playoff game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on January 14, 2017. File photo by Phil Skinner/UPI
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson hands off to Thomas Rawls during first quarter action against the Atlanta Falcons in their NFC playoff game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on January 14, 2017. File photo by Phil Skinner/UPI | License Photo




KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. TV: CBS, Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta.

SERIES HISTORY: 38th regular-season meeting. Seahawks lead series, 22-15. The Seahawks have lost four of the last five meetings on the road in St. Louis/Los Angeles. Seattle is 0-3 all-time against the Rams in games played in Los Angeles/Anaheim.

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KEYS TO THE GAME: The Seahawks need to try to grab an early lead as their defense can play to its best capabilities when playing in front. Getting a running game established without Chris Carson will be a priority as well. Thomas Rawls will be called upon to pick up the slack.

Handling the Rams' front seven defensively will also be extremely important as Aaron Donald, Michael Brockers and Robert Quinn can cause issues for Seattle's offensive line.

The Rams' offense is flying high right now as the highest-scoring team in the NFL. It's doubtful they'll equal or surpass the 35 points per game they're averaging right now against one of the sturdier defenses in the league, but don't be surprised if the Rams come out from the outset attacking the Seahawks in ways they aren't accustomed to from their long-time division rivals.

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The Rams want to go for the jugular early then force the Seahawks to operate from behind against an improving Rams defense in a loud, intimidating setting of the Coliseum.


--Seahawks LG Luke Joeckel & RG Oday Aboushi vs. Rams DE Aaron Donald. Donald has terrorized Seattle offensive lines in the past. Joeckel and Aboushi will have to deal with him primarily in L.A.'s 3-4 front.

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--Rams WR Sammy Watkins vs. Seahawks CB Shaquill Griffin. If Jeremy Lane can't play, Griffin will get his first start against the Rams. Watkins will be the receiver he'll draw most frequently in coverage and will provide a good test for the rookie.



--Out: DE Cliff Avril (neck), DT Quinton Jefferson (hand)

--Doubtful: CB Jeremy Lane (groin), RB C.J. Prosise (ankle)

--Questionable: LB Michael Wilhoite (hamstring)


--Doubtful: S Lamarcus Joyner (hamstring)

--Questionable: G Jamon Brown (groin)

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Seahawks CB Justin Coleman. Acquired in a trade with the New England Patriots at the end of the preseason, Coleman has been a productive addition. Coleman recorded his first career interception last week against the Colts, which he returned 28 yards for a touchdown. Coleman will receive move playing time this week in nickel packages if Jeremy Lane can't play due to a groin injury.


FAST FACTS: In a 46-18 win over Indianapolis last Sunday night, Seattle set a team record with 36 second-half points and became the first team this season to score a touchdown in four ways (passing, rushing, interception return, and a fumble recovery). ... Seattle QB Russell Wilson threw for two touchdowns and rushed for one last week, his eighth game with two passing TDs and one rushing. Cam Newton is the only QB with more (16) since 2012. ... Seattle DE Michael Bennett has five sacks in his past six games and is going for his fourth division game in a row with a sack. He has 16.5 sacks in his past 18 road games. ... The Rams lead the NFL at 35.5 points per game, just one season after averaging an NFL-low 14 points. ... Rams K Greg Zuerlein hit a franchise-record seven field goals in a 35-30 victory over Dallas last week. Zuerlein became the first kicker to go 7-for-7 (or better) in a game since Cairo Santos did so for the Chiefs in 2015. ... The Rams haven't held an outright division lead this late in the season since Week 16 of 2010. ... Rams QB Jared Goff has passed for 1,072 yards, seven TDs and an interception. His 112.2 rating ranks third in the NFL. ... Rams RB Todd Gurley's seven scrimmage TDs through the first four games tied Elroy Hirsch's franchise record set in 1951. Gurley leads the NFC with 596 scrimmage yards. He is one of three (along with Hall of Famers Jim Brown and Emmitt Smith) to have 575 scrimmage yards and seven TDs in his team's first four games.


PREDICTION: Seattle's defense has struggled in hot conditions like it figures to see in L.A., so it's hard to see Seattle's scuffling offense winning a shootout against these much-improved Rams.

OUR PICK: Rams, 27-20.

--Chris Cluff

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