LA Rams (3-1) at Seattle (2-2)
When: Thursday, October 7th, 2021
Where: Lumen Field,
Time: 8:20 ET | TV: FOX
Opening Odds: Los Angeles -1/53
My favorite division this year is quickly turning into the NFC West with all four teams having a legitimate shot at finishing in first place. Two of those teams will meet Thursday night in Seattle as the Seahawks host the Los Angeles Rams at Lumen Field. The surprising Arizona Cardinals sit atop the West at 4-0 thanks to handing the Rams their first loss last week 37-20 behind a big performance from Kyler Murray. The most impressive thing about this division is if you look at the standings and see that the combined road record for these teams is an impressive 8-1. This will be Seattle’s second home game and they dropped a tough 33-30 overtime contest to the Tennessee Titans in Week 2. The ‘Hawks followed that up with two big road wins in Minnesota and San Francisco.
The Rams entered last week with the NFL’s top-rated defense, but they allowed Murray and the Cardinals to gain 465 yards of total offense, including 216 on the ground. Quarterback Matthew Stafford, acquired in an offseason trade with Detroit, was 26-of-41 for 280 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception. The Seahawks avoided their first three-game losing streak in the Russell Wilson era with a 28-21 victory at San Francisco.
This will be the fourth meeting between these teams in less than 12 months. They split the two regular season meetings in 2010 with each winning a low-scoring game at home. Seattle hosted Los Angeles in an NFC wild-card game and the Rams pulled off a 30-20 upset. Cam Akers, who out for the season, rushed for 131 yards and a touchdown for Los Angeles, while Darious Williams returned Russell Wilson’s interception 42 yards for a score. Wilson was just 11-for-27 passing and was sacked five times.
Los Angeles’ loss last week was surprising in two aspects. Head coach Sean McVay hadn’t lost to the Cardinals in eight chances and it was the Rams’ largest NFC West loss under McVay since a 21-point defeat to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 17 of 2017 when they rested starters. Part of it could also be contributed to a letdown after knocking off the defending Super Bowl champion Bucs the week prior. Despite the off game, Stafford still ranks second in the NFL with 11 touchdown passes and fourth in passing yards (1,222) and passer rating (117.6). Running back Darrell Henderson returned after missing one game injured and had 89 yards on 14 carries. Henderson got hurt again last Sunday, but McVay said he should be able to play in Seattle. Henderson was limited in practice Tuesday, as were safety Taylor Rapp (ankle) and tight ends Tyler Higbee (ankle) and Johnny Mundt (shoulder). The Rams are 5-1 ATS in their past six after a loss and 23-9-1 ATS in their last 33 games versus NFC teams.
Wilson threw for only 149 yards last week in San Francisco but threw for two scores and rushed for another. It was Wilson’s 100th career regular-season win to join Peyton Manning as the only quarterbacks with 100 regular-season wins in their first 10 seasons. Wilson also has had a passer rating of at least 110.0 every game this year with no interceptions. Tight end Gerald Everett missed the game on the COVID list and might play on Thursday. Everett has eight catches for 77 yards and a touchdown. Running back Alex Collins led the team in rushing last week with 44 yards and a touchdown and had two targets. Fellow running back Chris Carson (neck) and wide receiver Dee Eskridge (concussion) missed practice Tuesday. Receiver DK Metcalf (foot), defensive end Darrell Taylor (ankle) and linebacker Carlos Dunlap II (toe) were limited. The Seahawks are 12-4 against the spread in their last 16 games as the underdog.
I mentioned above how great this whole division has been on the road this season (8-1), but I’m going against that trend here. The Seahawks play really well as an underdog and their record in prime time games is fantastic under Pete Carroll. They are 10-1 on Thursday nights under Carroll including nine wins in a row. The Rams might have the better overall team, but Seattle getting points at home is a gift I won’t pass up.
Pick: Seahawks +2.5
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