NFL Wild Card Betting Preview: Rams vs. Seahawks
The Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks will meet for the third time this season, however, this time it will take place in the Wild Card round.
The Rams will be travelling to Lumen Field to play the Seahawks on Saturday at 4:40 pm.
After a two-game losing streak, the Rams snapped the skid in Week 17 after they beat the Arizona Cardinals 18-7. Aside from quarterback John Wolford making his NFL debut and throwing for 231 yards while adding 56 on the ground, no other Rams players had outstanding offensive performances. Defensively, cornerback Troy Hill did have an interception that he turned into an 84-yard Pick-6.
Meanwhile, the Seattle Seahawks squeezed out a Week 17 victory against the San Francisco 49ers, which means they’ve now won four straight games and six of their last seven. Tyler Lockett had another impressive game, making 12 catches for 90 yards and two touchdowns.
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According to BetOnline, the hometown Seahawks are the favorites to win the matchup with a moneyline of -225. The Rams have a moneyline of +195 and their point spread is +4.5.
BetOnline also projects this game to be a low-scoring affair with an over/under of 43 points.
See BetOnline for updated lines and odds.
Can the Rams get defence and offence this week?
It goes without saying that the Rams are one of the top defensive teams in the league, if not the very best of them all.
This season, they’re allowing an average of 18.5 points and 281.9 yards against per game, which puts them as the best team in both statistical categories this season.
The Rams are tied for 22nd most points for per game with 23.2, however, that number is a lot lower when looking at their last three games in which they’ve scored an average of 15.7 points.
Only the Jacksonville Jaguars, Carolina Panthers and New York Giants have averaged less in that timespan and that’s not exactly company you want to be associated with heading into the playoffs.
Things may look worse if Jared Goff is unable to start at quarterback again after undergoing thumb surgery, which means the weight would be on Wolford’s shoulders to help provide the team with an offensive spark. While he looked decent against the Cards, it’s unrealistic to expect Wolford to do it all by himself on Saturday.
Rookie running back Cam Akers was starting to look really good a few weeks ago, but it seems like he’s come back to earth as he’s mustered up a total of 148 total yards, no touchdowns, and a fumble over his last two games. If Wolford looks shaky in his second career game, Akers is going to have to find a way to open up the ground to take some pressure off.
Seahawks need to continue winning
Overall, the Seahawks have been a pretty average team defensively.
Over the course of the season, they have allowed the 18th-most points per game (23.2), however, they have been tightening up defensively over their current win streak. Looking at their last four games, the Seahawks have only allowed 12.5 points per game.
Yes, you read that right.
Coupling that statistic with the fact that the Rams have recently struggled offensively band could be relying on a quarterback with practically zero NFL experience, Seattle may just win again.
While defence may win this game for the Seahawks, another factor that you can never ignore is Russell Wilson, who threw for 4,212 yards and 40 touchdowns (which was a career-best) this season. Even with the Rams elite defence, it’s going to be tough to stop Wilson if he gets going early and often.
Wilson also has one of the most dangerous receiving duos in the NFL: DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett.
In his second year, Metcalf put up 1,303 yards and 10 touchdowns in his sophomore season, while Lockett had 1,054 yards and 10 touchdowns of his own.
That’s right: half of Wilson’s touchdowns went to the duo this season.
And, as always, the Rams can’t afford to ignore running back Chris Carson, who only played 12 games this year, but still had 968 total yards and nine touchdowns.
It’s evident that the Seahawks can win as of late through the air, on the ground, and by defensive means.
Other important information
As mentioned before, this will be the third time the two teams meet this season, and it will serve as the tiebreaker since the Rams and Seahawks split the season series.
The Rams won the Week 10 matchup by a score of 23-16, while the Seahawks won the Week 16 contest 20-9. Six touchdowns were scored across the two games, with only one being a passing touchdown. This means that, if the trend continues, the game might end up coming down to special teams and defence again.
With both previous meetings being low scoring affairs, it’s possible that the Wild Card game could be in the same boat, especially if Wolford is making the start.