The X-Factor that can lead the Seattle Seahawks to victory in Week 18
By Jake Luppino
Well, Week 18 means everything to the Seattle Seahawks. The good news is that their playoff aspirations remain alive as we enter the final week of the regular season. The bad news is they need some help in order to earn that final spot in the NFC playoffs.
Many aren’t happy with the scheduling of the Seahawks/Rams and Packers/Lions games as a Seahawks win at 4:25 pm eastern would end the Lions season, leaving them nothing to really play for on Sunday Night Football. As upset as I am, the 2nd part of the equation doesn’t mean anything unless the Seahawks handle their business first.
Despite a 5-11 record for the Los Angeles Rams, they’ve been playing better football over the last month of the season. The resurgence of Cam Akers has given this offense more pop. With no Jordyn Brooks in this game due to a torn ACL, he suffered in Week 17 against the Jets, the Seahawks will turn to a familiar face who stepped into a similar role to close out the regular season in 2021.
Seattle Seahawks: X-Factor that can lead them to victory in Week 18
Last year, Cody Barton was called upon to finish the season as MLB after Bobby Wagner suffered a knee injury in Week 17 that kept him sidelined for the remainder of the season. In the two games Barton essentially started, he totaled 18 tackles, 1 tackle for loss and 1 quarterback hit. In fact, one could argue his strong finish had something to do with the Seahawks letting go of Bobby Wagner.
Prior to the injury to Jordyn Brooks, Barton was having a career year. No better time to have it than on a contract year. In a huge game, he will now be the quarterback of this defense and must put together a similar performance to what he did against the Jets in Week 17. I will say, this Seahawks defense has been playing really solid over the last two weeks. This season has truly been a rollercoaster ride for this defense.
When game planning for this Los Angeles Rams offense, the focus should be on stopping the run. When these two teams met back in Week 13, it took a game-winning drive late in the fourth from Geno to propel this Seattle Seahawks team to victory. In that game, Los Angeles tallied 33 carries for 177 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Expect Sean McVay and the Rams to utilize a similar game plan this Sunday. Their power zone run scheme has done some damage to the Seahawks in their matchups over the years. Once the run is established, they can open the offense through the play-action fake. Although their wide receivers do not seem threatening, a strong running game allows guys to get wide-open.
The one thing I do look forward to this Sunday is seeing more of Jonathan Abram as the SUBLB in certain packages. When the Seahawks claimed him off waivers not too long ago, I have been waiting for him to make his presence felt on this team. With Cody Barton being one of the only linebackers left standing that Seattle trusts, expect Abram to see more playing time.
In certain formations, Barton and Abram/Teez Tabor will be in the box expected to stop the run game. To me, this game is simple. If the Seattle Seahawks can stop the Rams run game and make Baker Mayfield beat them with his arm and playmaking, they will have no problem winning. If that happens, we then turn our attention to Sunday Night Football and all become Detroit Lions fans.