If this proves to be the end of an era in Seattle, the Rams have played a leading role in ushering in their demise.
No franchise has defeated Pete Carroll's Seahawks more often.
No opponent has more wins, takeaways, or sacks against Russell Wilson.
In fact, the Seahawks (5-8) have never finished with fewer than nine wins since they drafted the 33-year-old quarterback in 2012. Here in 2021, Seattle would have to win out to get to nine.
And yet, they're still just one game out of the NFC Wild Card race as they arrive in Los Angeles.
Beat the Rams, and they're very much alive. Succumb to the pressure of Aaron Donald and the Rams again? It could be the last time Carroll and Wilson visit Inglewood together.
Six Ways to Sunday
This is a tricky column to write this week as Week 15 has been and may continue to be altered by yet another league-and-society-wide COVID disruption.
For the moment, we'll focus on what we know and be prepared to pivot, just as the Rams did so effectively in a Monday Night Football win over the Cardinals.
In the meantime, wishing all of you a healthy and merry week of Christmas ahead.
Got it Good
It's an awkward time to be trumpeting how good the Rams have it, I know.
But I want to make sure we all take a moment to appreciate how good the Rams have it – especially now.
At 9-4, Los Angeles has secured a fifth straight winning season. That hasn't happened for this franchise since a stretch of eight in a row from 1973-80. And I think we can agree this span is particularly impressive given that it snapped a 13-year drought without a winning season.
The only other franchises with active streaks as long (or longer) than L.A.'s are Kansas City, Tennessee, and Baltimore in the AFC as well as New Orleans and Seattle in the NFC (both the Saints and Seahawks are in jeopardy of finishing at-or-below .500 this season).
Certainly, the goals for this season far surpass a mere nine wins. But at this juncture, it's worth commending the commitment of Stan Kroenke, Kevin Demoff, Les Snead, Sean McVay, and all those at every level of the organization who have leveraged "We Not Me" into a consistent product in line with L.A.'s sports and entertainment standard.
How the Clinch Stole Christmas
Here's the most direct path to a playoff spot for the Rams this weekend:
First, the Saints lose in Tampa Bay on Sunday Night Football.
Followed by a Vikings loss (or tie) in Chicago on Monday Night Football.
Then, beat Seattle.
That would put the Rams back in the postseason before Week 16.
Wild West, Calm For the Rest
While it's unlikely, the other three NFC divisions can be decided by week's end.
The Packers clinch the North with a win in Baltimore or a Vikings loss.
The Buccaneers clinch the South with a win over New Orleans.
That's simple enough, but the East isn't nearly as straightforward yet. The Cowboys clinch a division title with a win, a Philadelphia victory over Washington and clinching the strength of victory tiebreaker over the Eagles.
Never Say Never
Any "first in NFL history" is worth anticipating, so here's one to watch for against Seattle:
Cooper Kupp has topped 90 receiving yards in each of his last nine games, tied with Hall of Famer Michael Irvin (1995) and teammate Odell Beckham Jr. (2014) for the longest streak of games with 90-plus receiving, according to NFL Research.
That means that with 90 more against the Seahawks, Kupp would stand alone.
Playing for a coach in McVay who's fond of saying, "consistency is the truest measure of performance," who's been more consistent than or outperformed Kupp in 2021?
Van Jefferson's in some pretty select company, as well.
He's one of three players this season with three receiving touchdowns measuring 52-plus yards.
Tyler Lockett of Seattle has three as well (he's unfortunately on the Seahawks Reserve/COVID list at the time of this writing).
And Deonte Harris of New Orleans also has a trio of such scoring grabs.
OBJ All the Way
And we're not going to exclude the third amigo.
OBJ has receiving touchdowns in three consecutive games. That's his longest such streak since 2015 with the New York Giants (when he had a run of five straight games).
We'll continue to write this: There's no replacing Robert Woods.
However, the Rams receiving corps has done admirably to recover and offset some of what he brought to the huddle.
A League of His Own
And if we're going to talk superlatives, Aaron Donald automatically enters the chat.
Just look at how far off in a league of his own he is on this graph!
Great to see him finally collect some well-deserved stats in the desert.
And just a reminder of his career numbers in 16 games against the Seahawks, including playoffs: 16 sacks, 24 tackles for loss, 43 hits on the quarterback, two forced fumbles, and a partridge in a pear tree.