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The battle for playoff seeding in the NFC has become more intense this season. Among all the divisions in the NFC, the NFC West looks to have two or maybe three teams from the division up here in the playoffs at the end of the season. Two teams in serious contention for the wild card are the Seattle Seahawks (6-3) and the Los Angeles Rams (3-6), who will meet for the second time this season this weekend.
After losing to the Rams at home in week one, the Seahawks have shown their potential in bursts. They accounted for a big set of three wins, including a 37-31 win on the road versus Detroit Lions. They could have made a statement with a win over the Cincinnati Bengals on the road, but the offense fell apart. Seattle has won three of the last four games, but the 37-3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens is the game that fans will remember the most.
The Rams started the season with a solid win over the Seahawks, but they never maintained the momentum through the remainder of the season. Los Angeles has faced a brutal schedule that includes losses to San Francisco, at Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Dallas. Five of the six teams that the Rams have lost to are legitimate playoff contenders.
Seattle came into the week one matchup as favorites but were dominated on both sides of the ball by Los Angeles. The Rams outgained the Seahawks in total yards, accounting for 426 to 180. This was a Seahawks team that had gotten better through a big off-season after becoming a surprising playoff team last season.
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It has been a tough season for Geno Smith, as he is in his second year as the starting quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks. Through nine games this season, Smith has thrown for 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions. There have been some tough challenges for Smith under center for the Seahawks this season. He has had seven games where he has accounted for a passing touchdown, as he is often crumbling under pressure because of a lack of consistency from the offensive line.
The Los Angeles Rams have allowed 20 touchdowns this season, with nine coming from the passing game. While the Rams are without some other star defensive backs they've had in the past few seasons, they have been surprisingly efficient this season.
Even if Smith gets the Seahawks offense into the red zone, the offense has had problems scoring and needed kicker Jason Myers to finish the drive with field goals.
The offense for the Seattle Seahawks has struggled to get rookie wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba opportunities to make plays as a receiver and a runner after the catch. After week four, the rookie has become more productive and available to Smith and the passing offense.
He has accounted for 45 yards or more in four of the last five games played for the Seahawks. In those last five games, he has accounted for 21 receptions for 263 yards and two touchdowns. He is slowly making his way toward becoming one of the top targets for Geno Smith and potentially the number-one option in the receiving game.
With the Rams' defense focused on DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, this is a game where Smith-Njigba could account for his first 100-yard game of his pro career.
The defense of the Seattle Seahawks is slowly building up to a potential rebirth of the Legion of Boom. They have generated and developed several key players in the secondary that still must be polished.
Seattle is ranked 22nd in the league in passing yards allowed per game (238.3) despite stellar play from second-year cornerback Tariq Woolen and rookie cornerback Devon Witherspoon. Seattle has allowed 12 of the 22 touchdowns allowed this season to be from the passing game.
The Seahawks allowed Washington quarterback Sam Howell to pass for three touchdowns in the 29-26 victory last week. If Matthew Stafford is playing healthy enough to make consistent passes to wide receivers Cooper Kupp and rookie Puka Nacua, the Rams could have another big offensive production.
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What: Seattle Seahawks vs. Los Angeles Rams
Where: Sofi Stadium, Inglewood, California
When: Sunday, November 19, 4:25 PM
How to Watch: CBS, YouTube TV, NFL Network
Michael Hanich is a sports journalist/analyst with a wide variety of experience in the newspaper and digital field. He has a love for all sports. The leagues that he covers are College Football, the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, College Basketball (men’s and women’s), the MLB, Lacrosse, Volleyball, and the WNBA.More info on Michael Hanich
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