Remarkably, the Seattle Seahawks, a team with Brian Schottenheimer as their offensive coordinator, are currently leading the NFC West with a 10-2 record. In all seriousness though, stability (and that includes the legend of Schottenheimer), has been the foundation of the Seahawks success. Pete Carroll, defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Schottenheimer, and most of the Seahawks lineup have returned and learned how to get over the hump in close games.
The Seahawks added ends Ziggy Ansah and Jadaveon Clowney, and lost Frank Clark, yet these 10-2 Seattle Seahawks mostly look a lot like last year’s 10-6 team, however this year they’re pulling out the close games that they would have dropped a year ago. Such is the NFL nowadays, and it definitely pays to have difference maker like Russell Wilson at the quarterback.
Once again, the Seahawks have built their offense from the ground up and are 3rd in the league in rush attempts. With running back Mike Davis having moved on to the Chicago Bears, the Seahawks now split carries between Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny. Carson is currently 8th in the league with 981 rushing yards, and Penny is averaging a whopping 5.7 yards per attempt. This strong reliance on the run allows an offensive line, that is still somewhat vulnerable on the right side, to play with aggression, attack, and compete.
That commitment to run really makes things tough against an elite and mobile quarterback like Russell Wilson. If any lanes are neglected, Russ will make the Rams pay. Of course, no team has pummeled Wilson quite like the Rams have over the years.More of the same could be in store for Wilson if he drops out of the back of the pocket into the lanes of edges Dante Fowler and Clay Matthews. In the Rams and Seahawks first matchup this season, Wilson connected on an improbable 13 yard reception to Tyler Lockett and on another blown coverage to rookie DK Metcalf. With those touchdowns, the game still came down to a missed field goal by Greg Zurlein, so this game should be up for grabs.
On defense, Seattle has the 23rd ranked defense. Despite the additions of ends Jadaveon Clowney and Ziggy Ansah, and the emergence of interior lineman Quinton Jefferson, the Seahawks have only generated inconsistent pressure this season, significantly less than they did a year ago. Ansah and Clowney only had three sacks apiece, a will almost certainly fall short of the 12 sacks and 22 hurries that Frank Clark brought last year. That being said, the Seahawks have been good against the pass overall and have plenty of talent in their linebacking corps and secondary. Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner is as good as it gets, and he’s flanked by former Pro Bowler K.J. Wright and Mychal Kendricks. Cornerback Shaquill Griffin has become a a very solid corner and will be a handful for any receiver, but Tre Flowers may have difficulties against whichever of the Rams receiving trio he ends up guarding. Against the rush the Seahawks are 23rd in the league, surrendering 4.6 yards per carry.
Outside of their record, these Seahawks don’t really seem so different than the team the Rams beat twice last season, but Russell Wilson gives them supreme confidence in close games and they have that winning vibe this year. The 2019 Seahwaks make plays and pull games out. Their points differential is only 3 better than the Rams is (that includes the Rams blowout loss to the Baltimore Ravens), yet the Seahawks have three more wins. The Rams need to win on Sunday Night, and can win; but in a feel good season for the Seahawks will the uneven Rams maintain enough focus to change the tides?
We shall see.