Rams vs. Seahawks: NFL Wild Card odds, preview, and pick
The Los Angeles Rams will try to win their rubber match with the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday, when the NFC West rivals meet in an NFC Wild Card showdown.
Seattle Seahawks vs. Los Angeles Rams
Sat, January 9 2021, 9:40 PM
Los Angeles Rams
Can the Rams win without Goff?
Rams fans everywhere are waiting with baited breath for the status of quarterback Jared Goff, whose thumb injury might force him to miss a second straight game.
Goff broke his thumb in the Rams' second game against the Seahawks, a 20-9 defeat in Week 16, and backup John Wolford started for their season finale victory over Arizona.
However, playing in cold weather, less than two weeks after surgery, might be too much of an ask for Goff.
Wolford played decently against the Cardinals and recovered from an interception on his first throw to gain 231 passing yards in an 18-7 victory. More importantly, he ran for 56 yards, two more yards than Cam Akers and Malcolm Brown combined to earn on the ground.
If the Rams can get wide receiver Cooper Kupp back from the COVID-19 list this week, it would be a huge boost to the offense.
The added dimension of a mobile quarterback is a wrinkle Goff cannot provide, but the Rams have to be concerned that they only scored 11 offensive points against an Arizona team that allowed 23 points per game this season.
Goff also has one thing Wolford does not — playoff experience. Goff has a 2-2 postseason record and led the Rams to Super Bowl LII.
The Rams defense is arguably the best in the NFL. It led the league in total yards allowed and total points allowed. Despite how well the defense has played, the Rams are going to need the offense to put up some points if they want to defeat Seattle.
Seahawks defense is clicking
No team saw a bigger improvement on defense, over the second half of the season, than Seattle.
The Seahawks allowed more than 29 points per game during their first eight games, but allowed just 16 points per game in their final eight. That number was helped by games against the Jets, Eagles, and Giants, but nonetheless their play improved. They held opponents under 20 points in five straight games, a feat they had not accomplished since their Super Bowl season in 2014.
While the Seattle defense still allows quite a few yards through the air, the Seahawks have solidified their red-zone defense. They have conceded just seven touchdowns over their last six games.
Safety Jamal Adams, whose 9 1/2 sacks this season are the most from a defensive back since the stat has been officially recorded, has been key. But his shoulder injury sustained Sunday is very concerning, and head coach Pete Carroll has not said if Adams will start the playoff game.
This unreal snap timing & effort in pursuit by Jamal Adams not only saved a TD on this play, but the Seahawks D went on to stop the Rams on the next four plays, preventing them from scoring late in the 3rd quarter down 7 points. Critical play. pic.twitter.com/pPn2HZNit3— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) December 29, 2020
Offensively, the play of quarterback Russell Wilson was the opposite of the Seahawks’ defensive turnaround.
Wilson's numbers dropped off toward the end of the season. He averaged fewer than 190 passing yards in his last four games, and the Seahawks have scored fewer than 28 points in seven of their last eight games.
However, with two starting linemen returning for the Wild Card game, Wilson should be able to return to his early season form.
Rams and Seahawks statistics and rankings
|Team||Passing yards||Rushing yards||Passing yards allowed||Rushing yards allowed|
Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles vs. Seattle injury report
Los Angeles will closely monitor the condition of Goff and Cupp’s status will not be decided until later in the week.
Seattle will take a big hit if Adams is unable to go, but he looks to be a game-time decision. The status of defensive tackle Jarran Reed is also likely a game-time decision (oblique injury). However, guard Mike Iupati and tackle Brandon Shell are expected to return this week.
Will the Rams cover the spread against the Seahawks?
Rams vs. Seahawks betting trends
The Rams have won five of their last seven games against Seattle but have won just three times in their last 16 trips to Seattle. The Rams have also failed to cover the spread in 10 of their last 14 games at Seattle. The total has gone Under in 12 of their 16 games this season, and in 11 of their last 13.
The Seahawks have covered the spread just four times in their last 12 games, but they have won six of their last seven games outright. The total has gone Under in seven of their last eight games, and it has gone under in 12 of their last 18 games against the Rams.
Without Goff, the Rams likely have little chance to put up many points against the Seahawks, even if Adams misses the game. The Los Angeles running game has struggled of late, and Seattle’s run defense has been quite good.
Take the Under, even with the low number, and bet on Wilson and the Seahawks to outscore a Rams offense that has put up just 40 points and three touchdowns in its last three games.