Sept 24, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) comes out of the lockerroom before a game against the Green Bay Packers at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-US PRESSWIRE

NFL Predictions: Seattle Seahawks At St. Louis Rams

We’re already to Saturday, so it’s time to finally announce my empirically based prediction for this week’s Seahawks game, although this week I throw out all the data and go with my gut, which is most likely a very dumb idea, but I did it anyways. Last week I picked against the Seahawks, and they won anyways. Not that that is anything knew. Looking back to last season, I get my predictions wrong for ‘Hawk’s games about 75% of the time. This week, I’m hoping for a repeat performance.

When The Seahawks Have The Ball

The Seahawks offense is the 2nd worst of in the league with a horrible -24.6 rating. The Rams defense is much better at -1.9, but still negative overall. This suggests yet another tough day is ahead for the Seahawks offense. Hopefully, the Seahawks run heavy offense can take advantage of the Rams’ -5.6 rating run defense.

The matchup doesn’t favor the Rams as much as the overall rating suggest. The Seahawks passing offense is ok when Wilson gets time, but really struggles when Wilson is under pressure. The Rams have a rather poor -6.4 in pass rush, so that should mean that Wilson should have more time than he’s has the past 3 weeks. If Wilson has enough time, the Rams 5.9 in pass coverage wont be nearly meaningful as it would be otherwise.

When The Rams Have The Ball

Overall, the Seahawks have the best defense in the NFL (64.4), the best pass rush of the NFL (34.3) and one of the best rush defenses in the NFL (21.2). And this is after games against the Packers and Cowboys, which are teams known for offense.

The Rams offense on the other hand isn’t exactly prolific. Overall their -7.8 rating is 22nd in the league. That negtive score is from a rare mix of both negative and positive scores. They are positive the passing game (4.2) but negative in pass blocking (-13.5). They have a negative ranking at running the ball (-2.2), even though they have a positive rating at run blocking (5.7). The result is no definite strength, but no huge weakness either.

The Rams best player on offense, at least in terms of performance so far, is WR Danny Amendola. That’s not a good matchup for the Rams, as CB Richard Sherman is having an amazing year so far and can shut down the team’s best receiver. The rest of the Rams receivers haven’t done enough this year to indicate that any are capable of giving Seattle’s very tough secondary any trouble.

In the passing game, the Rams should definitely be worried about the Seahawk pass rush. The strength of their line is center Robert Turner, but that wont help slow down the pass rushing tandem of Chris Clemons and Bruce Irvin who will be coming from the outside. Though it might help to negate some of the inside rush of Jason Jones or Brandon Mebane.

Special Teams

The Rams are right at league average on special team at 8.2, while the Seahawks are in the top 10 at 11.3. While that sounds like a big advantage for the Seahawks, the difference isn’t outside of 1 standard deviation from the mean. That means that while the Seahawks should have a slight advantage, don’t expect to to show in a significant way on Sunday.

Overall Outcome

One thing that doesn’t show up in any of the advanced metrics used for this prediction, is that is a classic “trap” game for the Seahawks. They are coming off an emotional win vs Green Bay, and have had to deal with the constant distraction of how that game ended. They are playing a clearly inferior team, but are doing so on the road and in the morning time slot.

No matter how the talent stacks up on paper, this game isn’t going to be easy for the Seahawks. I just have a tough time getting past the idea that the Seahawks aren’t going to play well this week.

Plus, whenever I pick the Seahawks to lose, they win, so there’s very little motivation for me to look past the “Trap Game” worry and follow the analysis above.

Seahawks 23 – 28 Rams

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