Seahawks Rival Watch: NFC West

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Los Angeles Rams: 3-1

Dec 27, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; St. Louis Rams running back Todd Gurley (30) rushes against the Seattle Seahawks during the fourth quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /

In an odd turn of events, the Rams are in first place in the NFC West (gags). With a tough schedule that included the Seahawks, Cardinals, and upstart Buccaneers, expectations were deservedly low. Star running back Todd Gurley has struggled to start the season, but QB Case Keenum has done just enough to keep the Rams in games, while the dominant defense has stifled opponents. However, I wouldn’t expect it to last.

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The offense didn’t score a touchdown until week three, and their -13 point differential isn’t emblematic of a playoff contender. The big issue, however, is Gurley. Gurley is a special running back who is too talented to not, inevitably, bounce back. But will it happen this season? The run blocking has been porous at best, and the Rams have zero passing game to take the pressure off of Gurley. Despite the preseason hype for WR Tavon Austin, Austin has struggled to make the most of his touches.

Plus, although their deep defensive line has been fantastic as usual, the secondary’s performance leaves something to be desired. Tyler Lockett exploded for 99 yards during their week two matchup, and they’ve allowed 275.0 passing yards per game. In addition, they benefited from facing an injured Russell Wilson, a turnover prone Jameis Winston and an out of sync Carson Palmer. In my opinion, there is very little chance that this remarkable run continues down the stretch. Expect an inspired, annoyed and motivated Seahawks squad when Case Keenum leads the Rams into Century Link Field for their Week 15 matchup.