The Los Angeles Rams open the 2023 NFL season with a trip to Lumen Field to take on their NFC West rival, Seattle Seahawks. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:25 p.m. on Sunday, September 10. The Rams have serious questions to be answered, but there are questions facing Seattle as well.
Last season the ‘Hawks swept the two-game series in a pair of games that could have gone either way. Behind the 367 yards passing by quarterback Geno Smith, Seattle won the first meeting 27-23, scoring the winning touchdown with 36 seconds left in the game. In season-ending Week 18, the Seahawks overcame a missed game-winning field in the last minute of regulation time and capitalized on a late interception to win 19-16 in overtime.
After eight nondescript NFL seasons, Smith was revitalized in Seattle under the tutelage of ex-Rams passing game coordinator Shane Waldron. Smith threw for 4282 yards on a nearly 70% completion average with 30 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions. The ‘Hawks passing attack is driven by successfully using a strong play-action attack.
To make the play-action game work, a competent running game is needed. Last year, rookie Kenneth Walker led the team with 1050 yards rushing, with QB smith chipping in another 346. The Seahawks added to their 2023 run game by adding two backs in the NFL Draft, Zach Charbonnet (UCLA) at #52 and Kenny McIntosh (Georgia) at #237.
On the receiving end of passes, the ‘Hawks have two 1000 yard wide outs, D.K. Metcalfe and Tyler Lockett. The two combined for 174 catches, 2081 yards and 15 touchdowns. The duo was bolstered by the 2023 draft addition of #20 pick Jaxon Smith-Njigba. The tight ends are are a three-headed monster of Noah Fant, Will Dissley, and Colby Parkinson. In 2022, they combined for 109 receptions, 1157 yards, and nine touch downs.
Last year, Seattle’s defense was a mixed bag. They finished middle of the pack in pass defense, but were one of the worst versus the run. They didn’t blitz much and again, were mid-ranked in pressuring quarterbacks, although they were a Top 10 unit in creating turnovers.
Bobby Wagner is back at middle linebacker after spending a season with the Rams and his running mate, Jordan Brooks is back eight months after a serious knee injury. The big free agent addition was Dre’Mont Jones from the Denver Broncos for $51 mil over three years, he has 22 sacks and 38 QB hits over his first four NFL seasons.
The Rams have many questions about how the rebuild/season shakes itself out. But the Seahawks must answer questions of their own after over-achieving last year. Will Geno Smith revert back to his journeyman-like play? Can the young offensive line open up running holes and keep Smith off his back (46 sacks last year)? Will there be enough footballs to go around to keep D.K. Metcalfe from melting down if spread around? Can the defense stop the run? Will Bobby Wagner and Jordyn Brooks hold up or have they both lost a step?
The answers to all these questions and more are almost here to see and here’s how to do it:
How to follow the game
Date: Sunday, September 10
Kickoff: 1:25 p.m. PST
Location: Lumen Field in Seattle, Wa.
Watch it live: Nationally on Fox
Live stream: A host of streaming services including LA Rams Mobile App, NFL+, ESPN+, fuboTV, DirecTV Stream, Hulu Live TV, Sling TV, and You Tube TV
Listen: ESPNLA 710 AM, KWKW 1330 AM, JACK 93.1 FM
ESPNLA’s affiliate radio stations:
- KMET/1490 AM & 98.1 FM - Banning, CA
- KFIG/1430 AM & 790 FM – Fresno, CA
- KAVL/610 AM & 106.7 FM – Lancaster, CA
- KRHQ/102.3 AM - Palm Springs, CA
- KTIE/590 AM – Riverside, CA
- KGB/760 AM – San Diego, CA
- KXTK/1280 AM & 101.7 FM – San Luis Obispo, CA
- KSMA/1240 AM & 99.5 FM - Santa Maria, CA
En Español: Tu Liga Radio 1330 AM
Tu Liga Radio’s affiliate radio stations:
- KTMZ/1220 AM – Pomona, CA
- KCAL/1410 AM – San Bernardino and Riverside, CA
- KOXR 910 AM – Oxnard and Ventura, CA
Current betting odds @ DraftKings Sportsbook
Line: Rams +5.5 -110 / Seahawks -5.5 -110
Over/under total: 46 -110
Money line: Rams +190 / Seahawks -230