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In order to compete against Seattle, the Rams need look no further than last week's Saints win.

For whatever reason, and the main one seems to be an inability to change on the part of Mike Holmgren, the Seahawks left the middle of the field wide open, allowing Reggie Bush to break off some 20+ yard carries in the first half last week. With Romberg back at center and McCollum at guard again, the Rams should be able to get decent enough blocking in the middle to keep that lane open for Brian Leonard to do some damage.

Football Outsiders (I didn't watch the SEA/NO game last week, so I'm relying on others for info) noted the Saints put guard Jammal Brown on Seahawks MLB Lofa Tatupu to keep the middle open. A good running game should also help protect Bulger's ribs from pass rushers.

Behind the front seven, Seattle's secondary is giving up lots of yards to even the most pedestrian of wide receivers, making the return of Bruce this week even more important as Holt will likely demand double team coverage. Brees beat the Seattle pass defense with patience and consistency, wearing them down and not turning over the ball by connecting with the less heralded NO receivers on shorter passes on intermediate routes, which benefited the NO offense by keeping the drives going and wearing down Seattle's defense.

On the other side of the ball, the decline of Shaun Alexander is no secret. He's averaging less than 4 yards per carry this season, and Seattle's mediocre offensive line play. In fact, Seattle's line is playing generally worse than ours. Per FO, Seattle has 3.67 adjusted line yards, compared to the Rams 3.99. In terms of pass protection, they're almost exactly equal to the Rams, both lines sport sack rates of 7.7% with Seattle having allowed two less sacks (15) than the Rams (17).

I'm not comfortable anymore saying "this is a winnable game." If the Rams found a massive reserve of motivation and can play a smart, well-executed game plan, we should at least see some improvment from what we've been seeing.

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The return of so many injured (and suspended) starters ought to at least bouy hopes just a bit. More good news might come in a couple weeks when the Rams get the chance to jettison the mouth of Claude Terrell. From Bill Coats' blog at the PD:

Still, Terrell, who has rankled Linehan a couple of times previously, might be deemed expendable if Todd Steussie is re-signed after the bye (Nov. 4).

Huhzaa!!

It also sounds like Steven Jackson could play next week.

Baby steps, baby steps.