Football Outsiders has updated their projected DVOA for all NFL teams. Jeff at Rams Gab has a rundown of where they put the St. Louis Rams' DVOA (hint: it's good). To get ready for the season opener this week, I wanted to compare the Rams and Seahawks DVOA projections.
Rams: 5.7% (14)
Seattle: 11.4% (6)
Seattle's getting the benefit of the doubt among the national media because of Matt Hasselbeck's return to health. He's also got a better, i.e. less injured, group of receivers around him now, led by offseason acquisition T. J. Housmanzadeh. Julius Jones and Edgerrin James are their running backs...crickets chirp. If I'm Seattle, I'm deeply concerned about the injuries to their offensive line, especially to LT Walter Jones, who'll miss this week for sure and maybe the entire season. That's the situation the Rams will need to exploit, and if Hasselbeck ends up on the ground too much, that healthy season could quickly come to an end for the 34-year-old QB.
A middle of the pack number for the Rams offensive is positively stunning compared to being among the league's worst last year. Our offensive line and a healthy Steven Jackson no doubt have much to do with that projection. FO is a big believer in Donnie Avery too.
Rams: -2.7% (9)
Seattle: -1.3% (15)
The actual DVOA numbers aren't as far apart as the rankings make them seem. Seattle has a very suspect secondary, and I think their defensive line gets too much credit with Patrick Kerney as their only real standout.
The Rams defense could be better than it seems, and the number reflects that. I'd expect to see more of the fancy, schmancy blitz packages we got teased with against the Bengals in preseason play this week, especially give Seattle's injuries on their o-line. The Rams defense still has to ease concerns about their run stopping ability.
Going by DVOA alone, Seattle looks like the favorite in a tight game. The beauty of a close matchup like that is it could go either way. A forced turnover here or a penalty there could be the difference.