THREE KEYS TO VICTORY:
Contain Steven Jackson.
Steven Jackson is a talented running back, no question. He is also the focal point of a Rams offense that doesn’t feature much else.
For this reason, it will be important for Seattle to limit Jackson’s touches and prevent him from making any big plays. The front seven have a big job ahead of them, but making Jackson’s life miserable in the backfield will make it a little easier.
Find a running game.
Seattle’s biggest offensive question mark is their ability to run the football. Julius Jones, Edgerrin James, Justin Forsett, and the offensive line will have to get something going if the team wants to leave the field victorious this afternoon.
The Seahawks need to establish a running game to not only take heat off Matt Hasselbeck, but to control the clock and put away the Rams quickly. The Rams aren’t a great team, but it will be difficult to beat anyone without a threat on the ground.
Establish an early lead.
Although the Rams have struggled in recent years, they are a team in the National Football League. You can’t let NFL teams hang around in games, because they can (and will) beat you.
The Seahawks need to establish dominance early and build a convincing lead over the visiting opponent at Qwest Field. Take them out of the game, get the fans involved, and don’t let up.
No lead is insurmountable in the NFL, but a large margin early in the game wouldn’t hurt.
WHAT TO WATCH:
In Matt Hasselbeck’s first regular-season game since injuring his back last year, it will be critical that the offensive line provides good protection and keeps him upright.
Watch the bookends of the line, left tackle Sean Locklear and right tackle Ray Willis. Locklear needs to prove he is a capable replacement for Walter Jones until he is healthy again, and Willis will line up against Leonard Little. Little has been a terror against Seattle since the Seahawks joined the NFC West, and Willis isn’t exactly known for his exceptional pass-blocking ability.
Also keep an eye on the interior of the offensive line, which features a couple of new starters. Rookie Max Unger should get his first NFL start at right guard, and Steve Vallos will start at center in place of injured Chris Spencer. Rob Sims also gets his first NFL action (regular season) at left guard since an early injury that ended his season last year.
The Seahawks are at Qwest Field and primed to rebound from last year. What more do I need to convince me that they’ll be victorious against the St. Louis Rams?
The game will be more interesting than people think; this opener features two division rivals with a short history of close finishes.
The Seahawks take this game, and jump out to a quick 1-0 start.
Rams 17, Seahawks 34