Rams vs. Seahawks Odds & Picks: Russell Wilson Should Cook Another Over On Sunday
Alika Jenner/Getty Images. Pictured: Russell Wilson, Aaron Donald
Rams vs. Seahawks Odds
After a 5-0 start to the season, the Seahawks have lost two of their last three games, with the latest a 44-34 road loss to the Bills.
Although Russell Wilson is in the midst of an MVP-caliber season, pass defense struggles have been Seattle’s Achilles heel, and it now holds just a one-game lead in the NFC West. But the Seahawks hope to get back on track as they travel to take on the Rams in a divisional showdown, with oddsmakers installing the home team as a short favorite in what figures to be a high-scoring game.
As for the Rams, they’re healthy and well-rested coming off a bye, and are looking to bounce back after a 28-17 road loss to the Dolphins in Week 8. History is on their side, though, as Sean McVay has won four out of the six meetings against Pete Carroll’s team.
With control of the division up for grabs, let’s find out where the betting value lies.
Seattle’s defense has been a disaster this season, as they’re third-to-last in points allowed per game at 30.4 and have the worst pass defense in NFL history, giving up a whopping 362.1 passing yards per game.
Sunday’s road loss to the Bills appears to be the breaking point, however. With a defense designed to stop the ground game and make teams one-dimensional, the Bills effectively abandoned the run, passing on 52 of their 65 plays (80%) — up from their overall rate of 60% — to score 44 points. Josh Allen completed 31-of-38 passes for 415 yards and three touchdowns, finishing with a 79.3 mark in ESPN’s Total QBR and a passer rating of 138.5.
At this point you have to wonder how long defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. will have his job.
Things won’t get any easier for this defense this week, as they’ll be without the services of cornerbacks Shaquill Griffin and Quinton Dunbar, as well as defensive end Benson Mayowa and defensive tackle Bryan Mone. The Seahawks could see the return of cornerback Neiko Thorpe and the debut of defensive tackle Damon “Snacks” Harrison, but it appears that Russell Wilson will have even more pressure on him to score this Sunday.
Needing to score 30 points may impact Wilson — in the losses to the Cardinals and Bills, Wilson had five interceptions and two fumbles.
He’s still first in touchdowns (28) and passing yards per game (317), second in quarterback rating (117.1) and third in completion percentage (71.0%) while leading the Seahawks to a league-high 34.3 points per game. Still, it’s clear he could be facing the limits of just how much he can do by myself as he’s essentially had to play perfect football and in order for his team to win.
This week he’ll face off against an Aaron Donald-led defense without starting center Ethan Pocic and running backs Carlos Hyde and Chris Carson listed as questionable.
Despite that, do we have any doubts about the Seahawks’ ability to score? They’ve scored 30 points in every game this season except one.
Los Angeles Rams
McVay has had the Seahawks’ number during his tenure, but digging deeper, the Rams have scored 28 or more points in five of the six meetings since he became head coach — the only exception was a 16-10 loss in 2017 during his first matchup against Carroll’s team.
The Rams come into this matchup healthy and are happy to have the services of running back Darrell Henderson, who suffered a quad injury in their Week 8 loss against the Dolphins. Despite not having a very high workload, Henderson is fifth among NFL running backs with the most runs of 10 or more yards according to Pro Football Focus.
If there’s an intriguing angle of this matchup, it’s that the Rams are the eighth-most run-heavy team in the league, with a pass-to-run ratio of 54% to 46%. Although they’re second in rushing efficiency and rushing success rate, with 57% percent of runs grading out as successful, you have to wonder if they’ll run as much given that the Seahawks are allowing only 93.9 rushing yards per game and 3.7 yards per carry with a rushing success rate of just 46%.
Although much of what the Rams do involves play action, the Bills provided the blueprint for how successful you can be abandoning the run against this Seahawks defense. Given McVay’s record against Carroll and the extra week to prepare, McVay deserves the benefit of the doubt for having the ability to put together a solid game plan to maximize the strengths of this offense.
Jared Goff is coming off a rough outing against the Dolphins, completing just 35-of-61 passes for 355 yards with one touchdown, two interceptions and two fumbles. This should be a prime get-right spot for him, which means wide receivers Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp and Gerald Everett should be in line for big days.
Aaron Donald leads the league in sacks (9) and a defense that is eighth in efficiency, 10th against the pass and 14th against the run. Brandon Staley’s unit has been impressive in his first season as defensive coordinator with L.A. allowing only 19 points per game, second in the NFL.
The Rams are also limiting explosive plays as they’re sixth in explosive run rate and first in explosive pass rate. Still, this unit isn’t exactly proven, as they’ve faced the league’s worst opponent offenses — the only time they played a top-10 offense was against the Bills, and they gave up 35 points.
Is there any reason to go away from the tried and true method for success in Seahawks games this season?
The 2020 Seahawks are very reminiscent of the Jameis Winston-led Buccaneers that finished a league-leading 12-4 to the over in 2019. To put it short, the game script of these Seahawks games lends itself to high-scoring outputs. If Seattle gets ahead, its secondary has no hopes of slowing down the opposing team. If the Seahawks get behind, the opposing team is at the mercy of Wilson, D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett.
The Bills were up, 21-3, at halftime against the Rams and the game finished 35-32 with both teams having realistic chances of winning and covering the spread. I could see this game resembling that matchup.
Until Norton is relieved of his duties or we see evidence of Carroll and Brian Schottenheimer changing their offensive philosophy from #LettingRussCook back to running to control the clock, I see no reason to approach Seahawks games differently.
I like the over 54.5 and would play it up to 55 — a key number in NFL totals.
PICK: Over 54.5