Rams vs Seahawks Preview & Free Pick [January 9th 2021]

LA Rams (10-6) at Seattle (12-4)
When: Saturday, January 9th, 2021
Where: Lumen Field,
Seattle, WA
Time: 4:40 ET | TV: FOX
Opening Odds: Seattle -5/44

Super Wild Card Weekend continues with game two on Saturday featuring a pair of NFC West rivals when the Los Angeles Rams visit the Seattle Seahawks for the second time in two weeks. Seattle won six of their last seven games to take the division crown including a 20-9 win in Week 16 over Los Angeles at Lumen Field – the site of Saturday’s wild card contest. The Rams offense stumbled toward the end of the season due in part to the thumb injury to quarterback Jared Goff, who is questionable for Saturday’s game. It appears John Wolford will get his second career start unless the Rams try and rush back Goff. Either way, the Rams have scored just 27 total points in the last two games and have dropped two of their last three.

Seattle opened as 5-point favorites on the NFL odds with a total of 43, but the line has moved down to 3.5 as of Tuesday night. The Rams defense had Russell Wilson figured out in both meetings, this season. Wilson was picked off twice in the Rams 23-16 Week 10 win in L.A. was sacked five times in the Seahawks Week 16 win. With the way these teams have played each other this year, it’s no surprise why this total is so low. The Rams have hit the under in 11 of their last 13 games, while the under is 7-1 in Seattle’s last eight games and 4-0 in their last four. In the last 22 games between these teams, the under is 15-7.

The Rams were looking like Super Bowl contenders just over a month ago, but sneaked into the playoffs due in large part to sweeping the brutally weak NFC East division. L.A. clinched their playoff spot after an 18-7 win over the Cardinals last Sunday despite missing Goff. Wolford didn’t manage to throw a TD in his first NFL start, but looked like he belonged, throwing for 231 yards and picking up another 56 yards on the ground. L.A. does have a good rushing attack that ranks 10th in the league with 126.1 yards per contest, but it’s the defense that might have to carry this team. The cornerback tandem of Jalen Ramsey and Darious Williams helped the Rams rank first in the NFL at stopping deep passes. They allowed just 723 yards on pass attempts of 15-plus yards. The team ranks No. 1 in the NFL in points allowed (18.5), total defense (281.9) and defending the pass (190.7). The Rams finished the regular season with a 9-7 record against the spread.

Speaking of defense, it looked like for a while the Seahawks might have one of the worst units of all-time, but have slow turned things around. After allowing 23 points or more in their first nine games, the unit has held opponents under 23 in every game since. The return of Jamal Adams from injury and the trade for Carlos Dunlap gave Seattle a midseason boost. The offense is still formidable behind Wilson and he thrives under pressure. Wilson’s passer efficiency rating under pressure is third-best in the NFL and his numbers in total passing yards, passing TDs and completion percentage were among the top quarterbacks in 2020. Seattle averages an eighth-best 28.7 points per game and are 12th in running the football (123.2). The Seahawks were 7-1 SU at home this season including a solid 6-2 ATS.

I know the Rams defense is very good, but the offense is an issue right now. Goff or Wolford, the Rams have struggled and it showed a couple of weeks ago in Seattle. I can see the same type of game here, only I think Wilson will play even better. I’ll lay the points with the Seahawks here.

Pick: Seahawks -3.5
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