The first two matchups between the Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks in 2020 often felt like a boxing match. A few jabs, a couple of uppercuts and both sides taking a round in the fight for the NFC West.
However, Round 3 will result in a knockout blow for two of the NFC’s top Super Bowl contenders when they matchup at Lumen Field on Saturday (4:40 p.m. ET kickoff, FOX) in the wild-card round.
Seattle enters as the NFC West champion at 12-4 led by MVP candidate Russell Wilson, an improving defense and just enough things to keep teams off balance. The Rams (10-6) advanced as a wild-card by knocking out the Cardinals 18-7 last Sunday at SoFi Stadium in a winner-moves-on game.
Los Angeles’ fierce defense may have to pull this round out again, as uncertainty surrounded Rams quarterback Jared Goff’s status for Saturday’s game. Goff missed Sunday’s win with a broken finger that needed surgery. If Goff doesn’t go, John Woffard will get his second straight start under center for Los Angeles.
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The sports betting information
On FOXBet.com Sportsbook, Seattle is a four-point favorite and a -188 on the money line. (A $188 wager is needed to win $100 on a straight-up Seahawk victory.) Los Angeles is +160 – a Rams outright win would win $160 on a $100 bet. The over-under is 42.
Against the spread this year, Los Angeles was 9-7 while Seattle was 8-8. If you are thinking about taking the total, consider that Rams games only went over the number 25 percent of the time (4 out of 16) during the regular season.
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The two teams split their regular-season meetings. The Rams won 23-16 back on Nov. 15 as Malcolm Brown rushed for two touchdowns while the Los Angeles defense sacked Wilson six times and forced three turnovers – two interceptions and one fumble lost. In the rematch two weeks ago, Seattle clinched the NFC West with a 20-9 win over Los Angeles in Seattle. Jacob Hollister’s 13-yard touchdown catch from Wilson with 2:51 to play put the game out of reach. Goff was sacked three times and hurt his hand on a follow-through late in the 3rd quarter.
The ability for Seattle’s offensive line to keep Wilson upright against the Rams front four on defense could determine this game. Wilson was sacked 11 times between the two games and he seemed impacted in both games with completion percentages under 62.5 percent. Two of Wilson’s three worst statistical performances on the year have come against the Rams – only last week’s win over San Francisco could compare. (Six of Wilson’s seven sub 100 quarterback ratings have come since Week 9.) Another storyline to watch for Seattle: the status of corner Jamal Adams, who left last week’s game with a shoulder injury and who is listed as questionable.
Los Angeles got some good news on Tuesday as Goff was a limited participant in practice with Cooper Kupp (COVID-19) activated on Wednesday after missing last week. Add that in with the return of veteran tackle Andrew Whitworth, who is coming back from injured reserve from a knee injury. The problem for the Rams, however, has been the turnovers. Los Angeles is a minus-3 in the turnovers and turned the ball over 13 times in their six losses. If Goff returns, it opens up the offense for Sean McVay and company to try to stretch the Seahawks defense out. The problem is that it also makes for more turnover chances – and that’s something that could doom Los Angeles.
Seahawks look for knockout punch in Round 3 against Rams The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ Fox News.