The reigning NFC champion Los Angeles Rams are approaching must-win territory as they get set to host the Seattle Seahawks in a primetime rivalry game in Week 14. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:20 EST on Sunday, December 8 at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The game will be televised nationally on NBC.
Current betting odds list this game is a straight-up PK. The over/under for the contest is set at 47 points. Make sure you check out a full list of the Week 14 NFL betting odds.
Less than a year after playing in the Super Bowl, the Rams are in serious danger of missing the playoffs. If the season ended today, they would be on the outside of the playoff picture despite a respectable 7-5 record. Since starting the season 3-0, L.A. has gone just 4-5, struggling to string wins together. With two 10-2 teams ahead of them in the NFC West, winning the division is virtually impossible at this point.
Instead, the Rams need to focus on catching up to the 8-4 Vikings for the final Wild Card spot in the NFC. Unfortunately for the Rams, they play both of the 10-2 teams in their division over the final four weeks of the season, as well as a trip to Dallas next week. That’s not an easy schedule, so it’s vital that the Rams take advantage of playing their second to last home game this week.
Meanwhile, the Seahawks actually did the Rams a favor by beating the Vikings on Monday. The win was Seattle’s fifth in a row and brought them into a tie with the 49ers for first place in the NFC West. The Seahawks beat San Francisco earlier this year but still have a second game with the 49ers scheduled for Week 17.
Either Seattle or San Francisco is likely to get a first-round bye in the playoffs and possibly earn home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. But the other will have to settle for being a Wild Card team. Seattle doesn’t necessarily need to win this game to get into the playoffs. However, if they want to win the division and avoid having to win three road games to reach the Super Bowl, this is an important game for them.
These two teams put on a great show in early October when the Seahawks escaped with a 30-29 win over the Rams at home. The game went back and forth with Seattle prevailing in the end. Of course, the Rams have won seven of the last 11 meetings between these two teams, so they’ve had their way with the Seahawks in recent years with eight of those 11 games being decided by a touchdown or less.
At this point, it’s hard to come up with a good reason to bet against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. Seattle’s only losses this year have come against the Saints and Ravens. The Seahawks are even 6-0 on the road. The Rams need this game more, but they only have one win over a team with a winning record, and that came back in Week 2. Even on the road, I think Wilson and the Seahawks will find a way to get the win.
There was nothing the Los Angeles defense could do against the Seahawks when they met earlier this season. Chris Carson ran for 118 yards while Wilson completed 17 of his 23 passes, with four going for touchdowns. If anything, the Seattle offense is more dangerous than it was two months ago with the maturation of rookie receiver DK Metcalf and Josh Gordon in the mix as well. Between Seattle’s balance and an MVP candidate at quarterback, the Seahawks are a difficult team to keep under wraps for 60 minutes.
In fairness, only one team has scored more than 20 points against the Rams since their loss to Seattle, and that was the explosive Baltimore offense. As opposed to last season, the Los Angeles defense is actually what’s keeping the Rams in the playoff hunt and giving them a chance to win most weeks. However, they’ve been a little fortunate with their schedule recently. They couldn’t handle Lamar Jackson a couple of weeks ago, nor could they stop Wilson earlier this year, so I’m not sure the L.A. defense will fare much better this time around.
On the other side of the ball, there’s something not quite right about the Los Angeles offense. They had a breakout game last week, as Jared Goff threw for over 400 yards while the Rams scored 34 points against the Cardinals. But that was after three straight games of scoring 17 points or fewer. Even with the same set of receivers as last year, Goff barely has more touchdowns than interceptions. Without the same kind of production they were getting from Todd Gurley and the running game last year, Goff and the L.A. offense just aren’t the same.
To be fair, the Seattle defense is average at best most weeks, so I expect the Rams to score plenty of points in this game. However, I don’t have faith in the Los Angeles defense to slow down Wilson, nor do I think Goff can top Wilson in a shootout. This should be a close game, but I expect Wilson to make the plays necessary in the fourth quarter to give Seattle the win.