Found October 26, 2013 on Cascadia Sports:
I know what you are thinking. “Who cares about this game, Seattle Seahawks have it in the bag!” Truth be told, I feel the same way. If you were to ask most St. Louis Rams’ fans, I think that they would express a similar point of view. After all, the Rams did just lose their franchise starting quarterback, Sam Bradford, for the rest of the season after tearing his ACL against the Carolina Panthers. That leaves the Rams with Kellen Clemens behind center leading their 22nd ranked offense against the Seahawks’ 1st ranked defense in the NFL, according to Football Outsiders. The Rams did pick up Brady Quinn, which I think offers them an upgrade at the QB position, but having Quinn go so soon against the Seahawks’ defense is an impossible task and cannot be expected.   The Rams should not be written off so soon, however. Before Bradford was lost to injury against the Panthers, the Rams had been playing quality football the previous two games. It appeared as though they may have been hitting their stride. You also cannot expect the Rams to simply fold against the Seahawks just because they lost their QB; Jeff Fisher is too good of a coach to ever let that happen, and they will have their home crowd behind them.   The question this game is how the Rams will be able to handle Seattle’s vaunted pass rush. The Seahawks are currently ranked 4th in the NFL for total sacks and have constantly given apposing QBs a ton of pressure. That is a fantastic statistic considering the Seahawks’ defensive line has only recently begun to get healthy. However, the Rams’ offensive line has been a lot better than Seattle’s when it comes to protecting the QB in the pocket. The Rams currently rank 10th in pass protection as opposed to Seattle, who currently ranks 27th. It will be interesting to see what type of performance Chris Clemons has. Clemons was pretty quiet last week against the Arizona Cardinals, outside of making a single sack, but I actually believe he has been pretty good overall considering he has just come back from a serious injury last season that he suffered in the playoffs. He was activated week three against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but week four was his true comeback game. Clemons has now had a full month of game time, so I suspect that he will only just now be at full game speed, or at least be close.   Seattle should first be ready to stop Zac Stacy and the run. Stacy is not a flashy RB by any means, but since taking over the starting role he has proven to be a very tough uphill runner, and he is most definitely the best runner on the Rams’ roster. The Rams’ offensive line, however, has not been as impressive run blocking as they have been in pass protection. Currently the Rams rank 20th, while the Seahawks’ defense against the run ranks 6th overall. Again, that ranking has been without their defensive line at full strength. I believe that Stacy will improve the Rams rushing statistics overall, but I doubt he will have a very effective game against Seattle. Fisher will not want to throw the ball against the Seahawks and the Legion of Boom, but they will eventually have to if the Rams are not able to get their running game going and begin to fall behind. St. Louis is in danger of being forced to play against Seattle’s strengths without Bradford or any real threat of being able to throw the ball effectively. Kellen Clemens is in for what could be a very long game.   Seattle should not have very much trouble moving the ball, either. Percy Harvin may or may not be activated against the Rams, but it should not matter. Seattle currently boasts the 12th ranked overall offense despite playing some very tough defenses and having a depleted offensive line. The Rams overall defense ranks 27th, but that is mostly because they have been absolutely terrible against the pass. Seattle will run the ball effectively with Marshawn Lynch, and Robert Turbin, but Russell Wilson will definitely take advantage of St. Louis’ weak pass defense, and probably break off a few good runs of his own. It would be nice to see Christine Michael get some playing time because he is so explosive, but I believe that his (lack of) pass protection is keeping Michael on the sideline, so we may not see Michael until the Seahawk offensive line gets healthy. Additionally, the Rams are not terrible against the run, so they may not want to release Michael for the first time on MNF.   Expect this game to be played Seattle’s way: running the ball effectively and forcing the opposing team to pass the ball. For the Rams to have a chance, Zac Stacy will have to be effective running the ball, but more than likely he will not have a lot of help from the passing game. I fully expect Seattle to win their third divisional matchup, making Seattle 3 – 0 in the NFC West, and 7 – 1 overall.   Go Hawks!   All stats are provided by Football Outsiders!     Tyson Sweet is a Seattle Seahawks writer for cascadiasports.com. Follow him on Twitter @The12thDude, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google
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