The Rams continue what has been a brutally tough stretch to the schedule with a road trip to Seattle to take on the Seahawks in a game which will likely decide the NFC West. The Rams are going to have to play a clean, disciplined game in one of the toughest places to play in the NFL in order to return home victorious. Here are the keys to victory in Sunday’s game:
1. Stay composed
Seattle is one of, if not the, most difficult stadiums to play in. Their fans are nicknamed the ’12th man’ for a reason, the energy that they bring really is as if the Seahawks have an extra player on the field at all times. The crowd noise is so deafening that it can lead to communication issues and mental mistakes, which a young team like the Rams are especially susceptible to. In order to win, the Rams will have to stay composed and avoid getting rattled. Also, they must avoid picking up costly penalties like false starts due to the crowd noise.
2. Take advantage of all the Seahawks injuries
The Seahawks are currently one of the most banged up teams in the entire league, especially on defense. The loss of star cornerback Richard Sherman due to a torn achilles garnered most of the attention, but they’ve suffered a slew of equally devastating injuries. The loss of Kam Chancellor for the season a few weeks ago was just as big of a blow. Pro Bowl linebacker K.J. Wright is doubtful to play against the Rams and Defensive Player of the Year candidate Bobby Wagner is looking like a game-time decision. Simply put, this is a much different defense than Jared Goff and co. faced the first time around in Los Angeles. The Rams must exploit the injuries to the Seahawks secondary and linebacking corps, and it will be up to Goff to take advantage.
3. Start strong
A fast start will be key to quieting the crowd early on. Picking up some positive momentum early on is essential. If the Rams get behind early, the crowd and the Seahawks pass rush may prove to be too much and the game could slip away easily. The first time these two teams met, back in week five, LA had a golden opportunity to start strong but couldn’t finish. Early in the game, LA had the ball at the Seattle 12 yard line and Todd Gurley seemed to run it in for a touchdown. However, the touchdown was overturned on review as the ball came loose before he crossed the goal-line, giving Seattle a touchback. Certainly, the Rams can’t afford to squander such an opportunity if they get it on the road, and will need some first quarter points to get the win.
Those are the Rams’ keys to victory. Playing in Seattle is never easy, but this Seahawks defense is nothing like the dominant units of years past. If there were ever a time to knock them off in Seattle and establish NFC West supremacy, it would be now. Without a doubt, if they can complete at least two of these keys to victory, they have a very good chance.
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