Posted on December 15, 2017, by Travis Pulver

The NFL gets bashed all the time for the things it does wrong, but occasionally the league does something right—and it deserves to get credit for it. A few years ago, the league decided it would be a good idea to schedule division match-ups at the end of the regular season. Of course, it only matters when a division race is close.

You know, like the one in the NFC West between the Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks.


It still sounds strange to say, but the Rams have a one-game lead on the Seahawks which gives them control of the division. However, since the Seahawks beat the Rams earlier this season, they own the tiebreaker. Should they finish with identical records, the Seahawks would win the division.

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Seattle is not in the playoffs at the moment, but are in the seventh seed due to a loss to the Atlanta Falcons. But with a win over the Rams, they would move into the division lead. They’d go from out of the postseason to hosting a wild-card game.

Should the Rams lose, they would still be in the playoff picture. But for a young team that is unaccustomed to winning, it would be nice to host the wild card game rather than have to travel. On the off-chance that the Minnesota Vikings slip and lose two down the stretch they could even get the first weekend off.

That is, if they can beat the Seahawks in Seattle Sunday. So—who’s going to win?

The Debate

It would be easy to look at each team on paper and say the Rams should run away with this one. They have the second highest scoring team in the league this year (30.5 points/game); Seattle comes in at 11th with 24.2 points/game. They run the ball well (15th; 114.7 yards/game) and they have a decent passing attack as well (ninth; 253 yards/game).

The Seahawks can’t focus on stopping any one player. If they blanket Sammy Watkins, Cooper Kupp or Robert Woods will step up. If they take away the passing game, Todd Gurley will run amok. But if they take away the run, Jared Goff will pick their secondary apart.

Besides, with the slew of injuries Seattle has suffered since these two teams meta couple months ago, the Seahawks defense hasn’t done a great job of stopping anyone. Blake Bortles threw for 268 yards and a pair of touchdowns last week. Carson Wentz threw for 348 yards and Drew Stanton even had a 273-yard day a few weeks ago.

The Seattle defense is not the fearsome unit it once was. It’s primed and ready for a talented young quarterback like Goff to make a statement by ripping it to shreds. But there is still one thing that could keep the Rams from tasting victory no matter how well Goff and his offense plays.

Russell Wilson.

No one can pull a victory out of nowhere quite like the Seattle Seahawks quarterback can. His heroics nearly led to a dramatic come-from-behind win against the Jaguars last week. In the fourth quarter alone he has thrown 17 touchdown passes and just one interception.


Los Angeles can try to devise a game plan that will minimize him. But he didn’t do much against the Rams the first time around (24-37 for 198 yards, one touchdown, and one interception; five carries for 16 yards) and the Seahawks still won.

The Prediction

Russell Wilson is going to be why the Seahawks will be in this game however long they happen to be in it. But when it comes down to it, the Rams are the better team this year. When they played a couple months ago, the Rams offense was still coming together. It will be much improved from the last meeting between these two. But the Seattle defense is not going to be nearly as good.

They are already missing most of their secondary, and Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright may not be cleared in time. If they are not, this game has the potential to get ugly.

Seattle is favored by 2.5 points and will be picked by many to pull this one out. But don’t be shocked if they are down by 14 with less than two minutes to play and start diving at the legs of the Rams offensive line and throwing punches again.

Maybe if they do it again, the league will finally suspend them.

Take the Rams and the points.


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