We enter Week 13 with adjusted expectations and plenty of questions. We’ve seen a couple different versions of the Seahawks now. The team of the first five weeks was the mediocre to bad we’d initially anticipated. And then, much to our surprise and delight, something magical transpired, at least for four weeks. For four wonderful games, we saw a balanced and powerful team that was kicking ass on both sides of the ball. But then, we witnessed an inexplicable regression, especially with the defense. In a blink, our newfound optimism took a gnarly nosedive. And now, having witnessed what’s possible, good or bad, we wait to see which version of the Seahawks will ultimately prevail. I suspect it will be a hybrid of the two.
The Rams are an interesting proposition for me. First off, I hate the Rams. Always have. I could get into all the whys of that, but that’s for another post. At present, they are the defending Super Bowl champions. They’re also a train wreck of a team this season, presently sitting at 3-8. Injuries have not been kind to the Rams this season, and some of their biggest dogs – Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, Aaron Donald–will not be playing this week. In fact, news just broke today that Stafford, Rams starting quarterback, has gone on injured reserved with some kind of neck injury. I should note that although I dislike this team, I never wish injuries on anyone and hope all these players have speedy and complete recoveries. Another pain point for the Rams is an ever-changing offensive line and all the attendant problems that come with it. Hopefully, this will give something for the Seahawks defense to chew on. Lord knows they need it. But despite these liabilities, the Rams still have some star dudes, such as former Seahawk Bobby Wagner and Jalen Ramsey, who will be trouble all day.
Hawks are favored to win this one by seven points. God knows we could use a victory. Here’s my wish list:
- Healthy players. A flu bug has been making the rounds in the Seahawks locker room this week, and as many as eight guys have missed practices due to illness. I’m hopeful everyone is fully recovered by game time and 100% ready to play. While I suppose germ warfare could be a possible defensive strategy, we really don’t want a bunch of infectious Seahawks running around.
- Dignity for the defense. I want the Seattle defense to find their fire again, play smart football and take care of the business at hand. If they badass dominate and shred the very soul out of the Rams’ offense, I’m all for it. But mostly, I want them to play in a way they feel good about and that makes the fans proud.
- King Geno to reign. Regardless of what happens to the Seahawks this season, I really do want Geno Smith to continue to play at a level that will open up new opportunities for him, be it with the Seahawks or another team. The man deserves that much. I want this fairy tale to have the happiest of endings and I believe it can, one game at a time. So, for this week against the Rams, may Geno ball out and blow up his box scores.
Player to watch this week: Rams quarterback John Wolford. This is the first time I’ve listed an opposing player as one to watch. And to fine tune this a little, what I’ll be looking for is Wolford consistently discombobulated due to relentless pressures and/or nasty sacks. Wolford’s success or lack of success in this game will be a reflection of the success of lack of success of the Seattle d-line.