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4 storylines to follow ahead of Rams-Seahawks season opener

Injuries play heavy in this one with both Los Angeles and Seattle missing key pieces

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams head to Lumen Field in Seattle to take on the Seahawks in an afternoon game on Sunday in which the home team is favored by 5.5 points over at DraftKings Sportsbook. Rams vs Seahawks is always a battle and records rarely play a factor. LA was 8-2 against Seattle up until 2022, but as of late the Hawks have gotten the best of Los Angeles, winning the last two matchups.

Let’s take a look at what some of the biggest storylines are for these two teams are heading into their matchup in the opening weekend of the NFL season.

Big injuries for both teams

Cooper Kupp missing week one dominated headlines this week for good measure, he is by far the Rams number one option on offense and quarterback Matthew Stafford’s favorite target. It’s a big hit to the offense that will now need to head into the game counting on 4th year player, Van Jefferson, and 3rd year player, TuTu Atwell.

Los Angeles Rams Offseason Workout Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

LA is not the only team missing one of their star players though.

Seattle heads into the game already declaring safety, Jamal Adams, out as he continues to recover from a torn quad from last season. The Seahawks may also be without their first round pick, cornerback Devon Witherspoon out of Illinois. “It’s going to be a race to get him for the opener. Might not get that,” said head coach Pete Carroll. Witherspoon has missed most of the offseason dealing with a hamstring injury like Kupp.

Rookie wide receiver, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, is also recovering from a wrist injury but has practiced as of late and looks like he may be available to play, however it’s something to keep an eye on.

Who are the Rams starting 5 offensive linemen

Los Angeles released a week one depth chart, but it did not answer many questions about the offensive line. Left tackle still listed both Alaric Jackson and Joe Noteboom as potential starters, while center still listed both Coleman Shelton and Brian Allen. I did find it interesting, however, that Tremayne Anchrum Jr. was the lone starting right guard. Joe Noteboom was previously mentioned to be in competition for that position, and while it’s possible he still is, Noteboom was only listed as a left tackle.

Los Angeles Rams v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Anchrum Jr. had a very nice camp and preseason, posting an 87.9 PFF score in pass blocking and gave up no pressures through the three games. Given Anchrum Jr.’s play and Noteboom’s lack of availability through out the offseason, it was probably hard to think about taking him off the field at this point.

The offensive line looks to at least be decided at left guard and right tackle, with rookie Steve Avila and veteran Rob Havenstein both locked into those starting position.

Where is the defensive pressure coming from for LA

The Rams struggled on defense throughout the entire preseason, with their only sacks coming from Keir Thomas, who is currently on the practice squad. The Rams will need to have a big push from the defensive line and a stellar edge presence to have hopes of winning in Seattle, as the Seahawks sports one of the best young running backs in Kenneth Walker.

Seattle Seahawks v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

LA will need to get a push up front to keep Walker in check. Aaron Donald is returning after missing the back half of the season in 2022, and he should at least take on some of the extra blockers the Rams were having to deal with in preseason while he was not on the field.

However it cannot all fall on Donald alone, they will need Bobby Brown and rookie Kobie Turner to step up big. The Rams are also playing rookie Byron Young at edge along with Michael Hoecht, both of whom have something to prove after lackluster preseason debuts. Hoecht played well at defensive end last year, but after moving to linebacker, it remains to be seen if he can build on his 2022 success.

Which Cam Akers will Los Angeles get

Cam Akers has been an enigma for the Rams. He has had positives in his time with the team, like his rookie season and being able to come back from an Achilles injury after only seven months to play and win a Super Bowl, but he has also had some major lows, like when he was almost traded at the deadline last year due to a terrible start in the 2022 season.

Wild Card Round - Los Angeles Rams v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

He was obviously not traded and the Rams seemed to double down on Akers late last year where he went on to finish out strong with 512 yards and 6 touchdowns in his last six games alone.

This was all done behind a makeshift line so, in theory, he should be better off this year now with the Rams offense healthy. With no real threat behind him, this could be a breakout year for Akers, who should get the bulk of the carries and be given every opportunity to succeed.