The St. Louis Rams travel to Seattle to play one of their division rivals tonight on Monday Night Football. The last time the Rams played in Seattle in prime time, they were embarrassed on a national stage as they missed out on the playoffs. St. Louis will be looking to avoid that again as they come in with a 2-10 record and a lost season. At this point, the team just has to be professionals and go out and play for pride. This is the time to see who has the quit in them and who doesn't. Let's get to the things to watch for.
1. Will Sam Bradford play and how well?
It is likely that Sam will start according to Jim Thomas. If Sam doesn't start, or gets injured, either Kellen Clemens or Tom Brandstater will start. With Sam, the Rams probably have a small chance of not being totally embarrassed, but if he doesn't, complete embarrassment will commence. Sam and the offense has been struggling, to say the least, this season. Could this be a game that Sam finally plays well? We will see tonight.
More after the jump.
2. Marshawn Lynch vs. the Rams' rush defense
Lynch has found his niche with the Seahawks. His power running is a perfect fit for the offense. This year he has 854 yards with 8 TDs. In the Rams first game against him, he ran for 88 yards and a TD. The Rams defense actually held him pretty well. He only had 3.3 yards per carry, but the 32nd ranked rush defense of the Rams has been very inconsistent. The Rams need to contain the beast mode of Lynch if they want to win the game.
3. Chris Long
The Rams defensive end has had a great breakout season this year. He already has 12 sacks playing on a defense that rarely has the lead. The Seahawks, like the Rams, have their two starting tackles out for this game. It could be a great opportunity for Chris Long to unleash on national TV and get him momentum to get a well deserved pro bowl berth.
4. Can Steven Jackson get it going?
Steven Jackson and the Rams' running game has been really struggling the last few weeks, including the game against Seattle at home. Jackson had 15 carries for only 42 yards in that game, mainly because of the struggles of the run blocking. The Rams need to get the running game going this week. They will either have to play with a limited Sam Bradford or one of the inexperienced QBs. The passing game will be limited.
5. Can Brandon Lloyd provide the big play?
Brandon Lloyd has been a steady playmaker for the Rams since he has arrived. He is the only Rams player to score a TD in November. Last week, he was surprising held to only one catch. He was doubled the whole game and for the most part, AJ Feeley didn't target him. As the only play-maker at WR for the Rams, he needs to get more touches tonight. He will be double teamed, so the Rams will have to be creative in how to get him the ball. Screen passes, rub routes and getting the running game going will all be beneficial to getting him the ball.
6. Dealing with the crowd noise
Seattle fans are some of the loudest in the NFL and Century Link Field is one of the most uniquely designed stadiums. Even though it's an outdoor stadium, it holds the sound better than most domes. Will the Rams have a lot of penalties in the game especially those pesky false starts? It's not to be underestimated, and the Rams will have to be prepared for it.