Los Angeles Rams (4-9 SU, 4-8-1 ATS) vs. Seattle Seahawks (8-4-1 SU, 7-6 ATS)
NFL Week 15
Date/Time: Thursday, December 15, 2016 at 8:25PM EST
Where: CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Washington
by Scott, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: LA +15/SEA -15
Over/Under Total: 38.5
The Los Angeles Rams come to CenturyLink Field to face the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday Night Football. The Rams got crushed again on Sunday for their 8th loss in 9 games, followed by Jeff Fisher getting the boot. Special teams coordinator John Fassel, son of former NFL coach Jim, will take over on an interim basis. That speaks volumes to how south things have gone for the Rams in their first season back in LA. Now they soldier on to Seattle on the short week to face an irritated Seahawks team that is coming off one of its worst performances in years in a 38-10 smashing in Lambeau to the Packers. Who can cover the giant spread this week?
Some teams have gotten a little spurt on the heels of a mid-season firing, but itís also a confirmation of failure, especially when a coach of Fisherís stature gets canned with three games left in the season. Itís hard to argue with the move, as potential was never really converted into on-the-field production. And with 8 losses in their last 9, with the last three being really ugly, it really canít get much worse from here.
Against the Falcons on Sunday at home, the Rams fell into an ugly 42-0 hole before adding a few late meaningless touchdowns that meant nothing. The only positive development for this team in the last 9 games was a 9-6 triumph over the lowly Jets. Since mid-October, theyíve surpassed 14 points just once. They are the lowest-scoring team in the league and the effort seems to be waning on both sides of the ball. There are no stars on this offense and the impending explosion of Todd Gurley never really happened this season. Itís not all his fault, as the line has been a big part of his failings and the inability for a quarterback to shine behind center.
Number-one pick QB Jared Goff has been unable to get this offense jump-started since becoming the Ramsí starter. On Sunday, he threw a pick-six, with another strip-sack leading to another Falconsí score. The aerial attack has not delivered. Tavon Austin has been a good weapon, with Kenny Britt nearing 1000 yards receiving. Itís just not a group that has been able to deliver and their title of worst offense in the league is a deserving one.
The Rams have a defense that could be among the best in the league. But even theyíve started waning in recent weeks. The Rams have depended too heavily on this group and their lack of support from the other side of the ball has been taxing. Against an Atlanta team that was without their top two receivers, the Rams had few answers on Sunday. A defense that was playing well earlier in the season has now given up 117 combined points in their last three games. A lot of talent has been wasted. There is a lack of spark on this side of the ball and with the leagueís worst offense, itís no wonder theyíve been getting massacred lately.
The Seahawks arenít in bad shape and they will win the NFC West. But theyíre starting to show some of the inconsistency that they want to shed before the postseason begins. On Sunday, they were beaten soundly by the Packers on the road, 38-10. Two weeks before that, they lost on the road to Tampa, 14-5. Just when it looks like the Seahawks are about to get rolling, they come up with a really bad performance that reminds us how unreliable they can be.
The inconsistency really shows on offense for the Seahawks. In some games, the Seahawks are cooking, only to look like they canít do anything right the following week. Against Carolina two weeks ago, they put up 40 points. But sandwiched around that were two awful showings where they scored a combined 15 points. Sunday was a bizarre game, with Russell Wilson throwing five interceptions. They have been pretty erratic on the road as of late. The bad news for the Rams is that they will be facing a home Seattle bunch that has been better at CenturyLink. Still, this Rams team beat the Seahawks in week two in a 9-6 grind. That was one of the clunkers Seattle has put forth this season. But a lot of things have changed since then to put the overall relevance of that result into question.
Seattle will be looking to unleash its offense on Thursday against a Rams defense that looks a lot less-fierce than the group they faced in week 2. Thomas Rawls has been back for a few weeks and should start having some big games here soon. Wilson, when able to unleash the Seattle aerial attack, has gotten big plays from Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham this season, with Jermaine Kearse getting involved, along with big contributions from Tyler Lockett through the air and on special teams. Again, this offense plays with one of the widest levels of variance of any group in the league.
The Seattle defense didnít have one of its better games on Sunday in Green Bay, a lot of that having to do with the six Seahawks turnovers. They allowed a season-high 38 points. But no other team has surpassed 25 points against Seattle this season. They entered the game on a nice run of good momentum, allowing a total of 36 points in their last 3 games. And when this defense is at home, especially late in the season and with some weather playing a role, they tend to look a lot better than they did last week. If looking to time a good showing from this defense, this seems to be as good a game as any. The worst offense in the league is coming into town and the Seahawks will be pining for the win after such a bad showing in Lambeau.
The week two Ramsí win over the Seahawks notwithstanding, this looks to be a tough spot for the Rams, both situationally and from strictly a football point-of-view. Seattle is at home and irritated facing a Rams team that hasnít seen much go right in recent weeks. Fisher getting canned doesnít seem like something that would necessarily pump much life into the Ramsí sails, as he was known as a playerís coach. I just see this being a rough week for the Rams. Iím taking Seattle.
Scott's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Iím betting on the Seattle Seahawks minus 15 points.
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