SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (6-1) at ST. LOUIS RAMS (3-4)
Sportsbook.ag Line & Total: Seattle -14 & 44
Opening Line & Total: Seahawks -10 & 42
The Seahawks head into St. Louis on Monday night where they meet a Rams team that will be without quarterback Sam Bradford for the rest of the season.
Seattle played the Thursday night game last week and came away with a convincing 34-22 victory on the road against the Cardinals. The Rams, on the other hand, came up empty-handed in Carolina as they committed three turnovers and fell 30-15 against the Panthers. St. Louis quarterback Sam Bradford tore his ACL in the game and will be replaced by Kellen Clemens for the time being. Considering the team contacted 44-year-old Brett Favre to be its starter, Clemens does not figure to be a long-term solution. In the past five meetings between these teams, the Seahawks are 4-1 SU with the last matchup being a 20-13 victory for Seattle last December. However, the Rams covered as 10.5-point underdogs and won outright 19-13 at home when these division foes last met at Edward Jones Dome. The Seahawks are 16-4 ATS (80%) off 1 or more straight Overs in the past three seasons, and are also 13-4 ATS (77%) against conference opponents in the past two seasons. St. Louis has favorable trends too though, as Jeff Fisher is 47-27 ATS (64%) in weeks 5 through 9 as an NFL head coach, and Seattle is just 24-43 ATS (36%) after a win over a division rival since 1992.
Seattle went into the desert and defeated the Cardinals behind the superb play of QB Russell Wilson, who threw for 235 yards (8.1 YPA), three touchdowns and no interceptions in the game. He also rushed for 29 yards, but did fumble three times, losing two of those. Wilson has now thrown for 1,489 yards (8.0 YPA), 11 touchdowns and just four interceptions on the season, but he has taken 20 sacks and fumbled eight times, losing five of those. RB Marshawn Lynch continued to run the ball extremely well with 91 yards on 21 carries with a score, giving him 578 rushing yards (2nd in NFL) and six rushing touchdowns (T-2nd in league) for the season. WR Golden Tate was Wilson’s leading receiver with four receptions for 77 yards, but his targets should decrease with the return of top WR Percy Harvin (hip) nearing. Harvin has a slight chance to play in this game, but he is more likely to return next week. Although TE Zach Miller and WR Sidney Rice both caught touchdown passes versus the Cardinals, there is no guarantee they do it again as Wilson spreads the wealth, completing passes to nine different receivers in that victory. The Seattle defense has been stellar this season as it is allowing a league-low 4.5 yards per play with just 190.6 passing yards per game (2nd in NFL) and 91.6 rushing yards per game (6th in NFL). The Seahawks rank third in the league in scoring defense (16.6 PPG) despite a below average time of possession (29:42). This defensive unit has forced multiple turnovers in all seven games (19 total), and recorded a season-high seven sacks last week. This will make it very difficult for new Rams QB Kellen Clemens to move the football.
St. Louis Rams was a devastating blow with Sam Bradford tearing his ACL in the midst of his best pro season (90.9 passer rating, 24 passing YPG, 14 TD, 4 INT). His backup Clemens (2-for-4, 19 yards last week) will start in Week 8, but is just 4-8 as a starter in the NFL with his last win coming in 2009. His last start was in December of 2011 where he threw completed just 45% of his passes for 226 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. He also rushed for 18 yards and a touchdown in that game against the 49ers, a 34-27 home loss. St. Louis is now going to rely heavily on their new starting RB Zac Stacy (214 rush yards, 4.3 YPC, 1 TD), who carried the ball 17 times for just 53 yards (3.1 YPC) against the Panthers last week, but he did catch four passes for 34 yards and a touchdown out of the backfield. With a shaky starting quarterback, the Rams will hand it off to Stacy as much as they can but it will be hard for him to get it going against the Seahawks stout rush defense. The Rams’ run defense has been just the opposite, surrendering 126.4 rushing YPG (3rd-worst in NFL), and will have to step it up otherwise Marshawn Lynch will really make them pay. St. Louis hasn’t been great defending the pass either though, allowing 8.0 yards per pass attempt, which is the second-highest number in the league. The Rams tied for the league lead in sacks last year (52), but they have just 18 sacks this season (T-16th in NFL). But they will try to exploit Wilson being turnover-prone, as St. Louis has been able to generate nine takeaways over the past four games. However, this won’t be as easy if top CB Cortland Finnegan (thigh) remains out.