This Thursday, for the first time this season, the Seahawks will take on the Rams in a battle for NFC West dominance. Yes, I know the 49ers are 3-0 and *technically* in first place, but come on. They’re the 49ers.
At first, this seems like a tough matchup for Seattle. Head coach Sean McVay, the NFL version of Bobby Fischer, turned Jared Goof into an “MVP” caliber quarterback last season. They even tied an offensive record in the Super Bowl. And by offensive record, I mean Rams fans were offended by the fact that they scored the fewest points ever for one team on the biggest stage in football.
How is this child prodigy following up a season in which he lit the world on fire with his revolutionary idea of putting the good players on the field for 92% of the offensive snaps? With the 16th best offense by DVOA of course. It’s just good that no teams went all-in with the Sean McVay coaching tree after one amazing season.
Let’s check in on the EPA/dropback around the league and see where the Rams land.
The 2019 Los Angeles Rams: Slightly better at passing than a winless rookie, Josh Allen, and a team that passes so rarely that Pete Carroll has weekly wet dreams about them. They are almost as good as Derek Carr and the Eli Manning/Daniel Jones combo. Some might comment about how successful LA’s ground attack has been, and to them I’ll say: running doesn’t matter.
But for real, the Seahawks are the only team in the league right now with the stones to roll out a base 4-3 defense against literally any unit the opponent throws out there. I know the Cardinals don’t exactly have a remarkable receiving room, but the fact that they’re running plays with 4+ wide receivers on over 60% of their snaps and couldn’t get one single play to a wide receiver to go 20+ yards should tell you plenty about the capability of Seattle’s linebackers.
And how have they fared against the run?
I dare a hobbled Todd Gurley to try and run by…
…Al Woods, apparently. The Jarran Reed-less Seahawks rank eighth in EPA/rush allowed so far in 2019. Nobody is going to run on this team.
Jared Goff has reverted to his original Jeff Fisher form and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to ignore. He has thrown 13 interceptions and fumbled 12 times in his last 12 games (including postseason). He’s coming off of a career high 517 yards and 4 turnovers. The starting field position for Tampa Bay after these turnovers:
- 50-yard line
- LA 9-yard line
- TB 47-yard line
- Touchdown Bucs
Jadeveon Clowney is about to get his second career pick-6 just four days after his first.
I heard some talk about the Rams defense being good coming into this season, and I never really understood it. First of all, fuck Clay Matthews. Sure, they’ve got plenty of big names and a lot of individual talent, but they did last year too. That defense is significantly less than the sum of its parts. They gave up more points than both Washington and Detroit in 2018 and finished the season with the sixth worst yards per play in the NFL. As of now, Los Angeles has given up the sixth most points in 2019. Their success rate allowed ranks a whopping 19th in the league. I was told Wade Phillips was good.
In conclusion, the Rams can’t pass the ball and they can’t play defense. Meanwhile, Seattle can stop the run (praise be to all-knowing Peter Clay Carroll) and can pass the ball (praise be to our God-like quarterback Russell Carrington Wilson). After running over 3 billion simulations of this Thursday Night Football matchup on my TI-89, I can confidently say I’ve reached a flawless prediction.