The playoff action on the NFC side of the bracket gets started Saturday afternoon at 4:20 EST when the Seattle Seahawks host the Los Angeles Rams in an NFC West rivalry game. The Seahawks are currently listed as 3.5-point favorites with the over/under set at 42.5 points.
The Seahawks head to the playoffs winners of four straight and six of their last seven games as they finished the regular season 12-4, giving them a two-game cushion atop the NFC West. However, Seattle is only the no. Three seed and something of a dark horse heading into the playoffs.
Meanwhile, the Rams avoided a three-game losing streak by beating the Cardinals 18-7 in Week 17. They also needed the win to officially clinch a playoff spot. Of course, the Rams haven’t scored an offensive touchdown in back-to-back games, so they don’t exactly enter the playoffs with a lot of momentum.
Building a Mystery
At the moment, it’s unclear who will play quarterback for the Rams on Saturday. The door remains open for Jared Goff playing despite missing Week 17 because of a thumb injury. However, it’s far from a certainty that he’ll be able to play or be anything close to 100%. Backup John Wolford did some nice things in Week 17, particularly with his legs. But he looked miles away from being a proficient passer, so Wolford may not be able to take full advantage of the dynamic Los Angeles receiving corps, especially with Cooper Kupp back from the COVID list.
Of course, even with Goff playing, the Rams managed just three field goals in a 20-9 loss to the Seahawks in Week 16. Despite some issues early in the season, the Seattle defense has played well down the stretch, holding five straight opponents under 20 points until giving up 23 points to the 49ers in Week 17. The Seahawks have injury questions of their own concerning safety Jamal Adams and defensive lineman Jarran Reed.
A Little Help
Offensively, the Seahawks have been a mixed bag late in the season. Russell Wilson isn’t exactly getting a lot of help around him. An injury-plagued offensive line allowed Wilson to get sacked 47 times this season, an average of nearly three sacks per game. The Seahawks are also uncertain about the state of their backfield with multiple running backs battling injuries. As a result, this game could come down to Wilson’s ability to buy time in the pocket and hit DK Metcalf and Tyler Locket on deep passes.
That might be a little easier said than down against the Los Angeles defense, which gave up the fewest points in the NFL this season. With Jalen Ramsey, the Rams have at least one cornerback who can match up against Seattle’s receivers. Aaron Donald is also capable of being a difference-maker against the leaky Seattle offensive line. Keep in mind that in two games against the Rams this season, the Seahawks scored a total of just 36 points.
The Low Down
The best bet in this game might be for it to be a low-scoring game. Whether it’s Goff or Wolford at quarterback, the Rams can’t count on scoring too many points. Likewise, the Seahawks will have similar concerns against the Seattle defense. Take the under on 42.5 points.
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