Skip to main content

Rams News | Los Angeles Rams -

Game Preview: Rams & Seahawks battle for NFC West Supremacy in Week 16  

Merry Christmas, everyone. And here's to the final Rams game of the calendar year.

As they take the field Sunday, the Seahawks will have the opportunity to clinch the NFC West. That was supposed to be the Rams' privilege, and it's hard not to feel a bit Scrooge-like, despite the holiday cheer.

I'm as curious as anyone to see what the response will be. Every loss this season has been followed by a victory; they've not allowed any team to "beat them twice."

If that trend continues, then Los Angeles will come home for the regular season finale on January 3rd with all the stakes we envisioned for this week, and a chance to put things right.

The Clinch Who Stole Christmas

Before the Rams can punch their own ticket to the postseason with a sweep of the Seahawks, they may be playoff-bound.

If the Cardinals defeat the 49ers on Saturday, it becomes mathematically impossible for them to be part of a multi-team tie at 9-7, which happens to be the only way the Rams are locked out of the dance. So for those inclined to root against San Francisco as it is, there's an added bit of incentive.

Failing that, the Rams can also clinch a playoff berth with a Chicago loss in the early window Sunday. However, that would require the Jaguars returning the biggest gift of the Christmas season: the top overall selection in the NFL Draft and the quarterback from Clemson who comes with it.

Anyway, there you have it. The Rams are in with a win or tie; an Arizona win or tie; or a Chicago loss or tie.

Pro Bowled Over

Los Angeles shouldn't need any extra fire for Week 16. The sting of their most recent loss, the rivalry with the Seahawks, and the stakes at hand should be plenty.

But if there was some bulletin board material required, might I suggest the ratio of Pro Bowl Seahawks to Rams?

Seattle tied a franchise record with seven players honored (and to be fair, they could've easily had nine or more, as both their kicker and punter were deserving). Compare that total to the paltry two for L.A.

Maybe the Seahawks really do have the more deserving roster and will prove to have the better season by wrapping up the division. Or perhaps the Rams will let their head-to-head performance speak for itself and walk away with the honor of sweeping the season series.

Safety in Numbers

On the short list of Pro Bowl snubs belong Andrew Whitworth, Darious Williams, and John Johnson III.

I want to focus on the latter, because Johnson has captained one of the best defenses in Rams history, as the play-caller, all while having a career year in the final season of his rookie contract. That's big time stuff.

Even more intriguing, however? The combination of the remaining schedule and the peers selected over him.

First up, Jamal Adams. When Seattle trades two first-round picks for your services and you respond by setting an NFL record for sacks by a defensive back (9.5), through Week 15, despite missing four games? Yeah, you're a Pro Bowler.

But that's not all. Adams' running mate on the back end of that defense – which was historically terrible for a good portion of this season – Quandre Diggs also made the cut. Nothing against the former Detroit Lion, but he currently grades out as Pro Football Focus's 51st safety. Johnson is second!

Then in the regular season finale, the Rams run into Arizona's Budda Baker, who's been excellent again in 2020 after signing a record-setting extension during camp.

All three NFC Pro Bowl safeties are from the West, but none of them are named John Johnson?

J.J., you're the man. And if you outplay your peers in these final two weeks, here's to an All-Pro honor as your overdue recognition.

These Are Not Your Week 10 Seahawks

If for any reason you're expecting Seattle to turn it over three times, for Russell Wilson to throw two picks, and for the most accommodating defense in league history to show up on Sunday… please disavow yourself of that notion.

The Seahawks have allowed fewer than 20 points in four consecutive games, the longest active streak by any team in the league, per NFL Research. Since they last faced the Rams, Ken Norton's group has allowed 16.0 points per contest and averaged better than three sacks per outing, both top five totals.

Meantime, on offense, Russ is cooking less and handing off more. In their most recent win at Washington, the Seahawks rushed for 181 yards while Wilson passed for a season-low 121.

Sack Artists

Also, for the first time in his NFL career, Wilson hasn't been sacked in back-to-back games.


Let's run that back in case you breezed past it…


Also, for the first time in his NFL career, Wilson hasn't been sacked in back-to-back games.

That's a span of nine years and 142 games.

Appropriate, then, that the next opponent is the one that's tormented him more than any other, led by Aaron Donald. Against the Rams, Wilson has 10 losses, thrown 11 interceptions, and most pertinent to this specific topic, been sacked 67 times. Those totals are all his most versus any opponent.

Suffice it to say, the Rams cannot afford to allow this sackless streak to reach three straight games.

Career Day

When will this guy get to Jalen Ramsey against D.K. Metcalf, already?

I hear you. Standby. We're almost there.

First, let me give some kudos to the less-heralded stars of this defense.

Williams was flat-out robbed of NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors in Week 10.

Fortunately, his teammate Leonard Floyd was the thief.

Floyd collected three sacks and recovered a fumble; Williams came away with two interceptions and a remarkable touchdown-saving pass breakup, as well.

It would be absurd to suggest they need to duplicate those performances.

But between a mention of Donald and the one to follow about Ramsey, here's a quick plug for "someone else" needing to rise to the occasion on Sunday for the Rams to duplicate their win over the Seahawks.


According to PFF, Jalen Ramsey shadowed Metcalf on 77.1 percent of his routes in their most recent meeting and held him without a catch on just 2 targets. Turns out, Ramsey is the only corner to shadow Metcalf and not allow a reception this season.

If not for Ramsey, Metcalf likely would have passed Hall of Famer Steve Largent already for the most receiving yards in a single Seahawks season (1,287 in 1985).

"I live for these type of matchups," the L.A. corner said this week in anticipation of the rematch.

As an aside, I'm not sure there's a safer prediction in the league this weekend than Metcalf seeing more than the four targets sent his way at SoFi Stadium.

The Los Angeles Rams took to the field at SoFi Stadium in preparation for the Week 16 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. Check out the top shots from Thursday's practice!

Pacific Northwest Drought

Memo to Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Josh Reynolds, and Van Jefferson: Gabriel Davis of the Bills is the last receiver to score against the Seahawks.

Seattle played Buffalo the week before they came to Inglewood.

So that's six straight games without surrendering a touchdown to an opposing receiver. You can make the case the Rams are the best passing defense in the NFL, and even they've surrendered three scores to receivers since their last meeting with Seattle.

Halfway Point

Did you also know that in the Rams last thirteen games, the winner held the halftime lead?

Not a single game all year has been tied in the halftime locker room.

The opener against Dallas was the only time when the Rams trailed after two quarters and came back to win.

And those of you who follow the Rams closely know full-well the McVay statistic about halftime leads – one he prefers we not discuss. But, indeed, L.A. is unbeaten this season on the eight occasions they've been up at the break.


Lastly, know what's still stuck in my craw?

The final play before halftime from Week 10.

Mater Dei's own, Jason Myers, booted a franchise-record 61-yard field goal for the Seahawks as the final seconds of the second quarter expired.

And chances are, that's going to stand as the SoFi Stadium record for longest made field goal for quite some time.

In the meantime, I went down a rabbit hole trying to find the longest made field goal in Lumen Field history (formerly CenturyLink). Because it's only fair for Matt Gay to return the favor and put his name in that stadium's record books.

Turns out, Myers shares the record with Stephen Hauschka and Arizona's Zane Gonzalez at 55 yards.

Go get 'em, Matt.

Related Content