Good morning. We’ve god cold and clear conditions today, with temperatures in the 30s expected around game time, so bundle up if you’re headed to the game tonight.
Here are five keys for the Seattle Seahawks as they take on the St. Louis Rams for the second time this season.
Focus: The Seahawks were a bit loose at practice this week, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The relaxed nature can lead to comfortable and confident play tonight against a banged up and inferior opponent tonight when Seattle takes on the Rams. But it can also lead to overconfidence and taking St. Louis for granted. The Seahawks need to make sure they are focused and ready to play from the opening whistle. Contain Jackson: It’s a given every time you face St. Louis that you have to stop that team’s best player, running back Steven Jackson. And the Seahawks have done a nice job; Jackson has not rushed for 100 yards against the Seahawks in 14 games. Seattle needs to make that 15 by swarm tackling and getting 11 hats to the ball.
Get after the passer: Whether it’s a banged up Sam Bradford or recent addition Kellen Clemons at quarterback, the Seahawks need to take advantage of an inexperienced St. Louis offensive line and force the Rams into some mistakes in the passing game. Seattle did a good job of that in the previous matchup, finishing with five sacks and an interception.
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Ball security: The Seahawks have done a nice job the past four games, with 12 takeaways and only three Tarvaris Jackson interceptions. Seattle needs to do the same thing today. One of the few ways St. Louis can win this game is creating some turnovers and getting the short field.
Feed the beast: Marshawn Lynch has rushed for 591 yards in the last five games, and has scored in his last eight games played. Give Lynch the ball and get out of the way.
I wrote about both the good and the bad Seattle cornerback Brandon Browner brings to table for the Seahawks. The good – the Oregon State product is tied for third in the league in passes defense with 20, and tied for fifth in interceptions with four. The bad – Browner has a league-leading 16 penalties for 128 yards, 11 of which have resulted in first downs.
And here’s my advance for today’s game. The Seahawks have won their last four straight Monday night contests and are 16-8 on Monday nights, a 66.7 percent winning percentage that’s tops in the league.
The Seahawks remain two games out of the playoff hunt after Sunday’s game. Seattle got some help from Denver, with the Broncos beating Chicago 13-10 in overtime, dropping the Bears to 7-6. But they did not get help from Dallas, who lost to the New York Giants 37-34 at Cowboys Stadium.
ESPN’s Mike Sando points out that it was a historical day of comebacks in the NFL, with five teams overcoming deficits of 12 points or more for the firs time in league history according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com writes that the Seahawks are “Chasing ghosts” according to linebacker Leroy Hill, as they try to get their first winning season since 2007.
Christian Caple of Seattlepi.com gives us five things to watch.
John Boyle of the Everett Herald breaks down the game here.
Art Thiel of SportspressNW.com is starting a new campaign – Whiff for Griff – as in Seattle losing to improve its draft position so the Seahawks can select Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, this year’s Heisman trophy winner.
Pat Kirwan of CBS Sports previews the game in video below.
Steve Korte of the Belleville News-Democrat previews the game here.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that even though Seattle has faced similar issues with injuries, they are outplaying the Rams.