Rams (+1.5) @ Seahawks (49.5)
Pick: Seahawks -1.5
I liked the Eagles quite a bit in last week’s Thursday night game, and I like Seattle even more this week in a big early-season divisional game with the defending NFC champions. This is not the Legion of Boom version of the Seahawks. However, Seattle has kept its floor high the last few seasons thanks to Russell Wilson protecting the football, a consistent rushing attack, a good front seven on defense and one of the better coaches in the league in Pete Carroll. If you have all those things, you’re going to be in a lot of games and probably win more close games than you lose thanks to smart quarterback play and coaching. Carroll said this week Wilson is off to his “best start ever” which is not something to be taken lightly given the two have been together for almost a decade now.
Now, let’s look at the Rams. When handicapping this team, especially after last week’s embarrassment at home against Tampa Bay where the Rams allowed the Buccaneers to travel cross country and win 55-40, ask yourself if they deserve to be treated like the defending NFC champions. Prior to that loss against Tampa Bay at home, the Rams posted a very uninspiring 20-13 victory in Cleveland in which Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens showed why he is a first-year coach with some very suspect play calling. In Week 2, Los Angeles won by a comfortable margin against New Orleans but that was the game Saints quarterback Drew Brees exited early in and Teddy Bridgewater was thrown into the fire without an appropriate game plan. We’ve since seen the Saints be much more prepared for life without Brees having gone 2-0 in Bridgewater’s first two starts this season. In its season opener, the Rams won at Carolina against a Panthers team quarterbacked by Cam Newton who didn’t look like himself in the first two games of the year and now we’re seeing the Panthers season get revitalized by backup quarterback Kyle Allen.
When considering everything above, do any of the available data points of the Rams suggest they’re the same team that played in the Super Bowl last year? The defense has its fair share of holes. They’ve lost a couple starters on the offensive line. Todd Gurley’s knee seems to be limiting his workload. Most importantly, Jared Goff, even with all his wide receivers healthy now, has been held under 300 passing yards in three of four games and has thrown six interceptions so far this season. I don’t want any part of the Rams right now, and I love getting Seattle discounted in this game. You won’t find the Seahawks in a shorter home favorite role all season so lay the point and the hook and cash a ticket.
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