Los Angeles Rams (4-9 SU, 4-8-1 ATS) vs. Seattle Seahawks (8-4-1 SU, 7-6 ATS)
Week 15 NFL
Date/Time: Thursday Night Football, December 15, 2016 at 8:25PM EST
Where: CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Washington
By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Betting Odds: LA +14/SEA -14
Over/Under Total: 39
On Thursday Night Football, the Los Angeles Rams come to CenturyLink Field to take on the Seattle Seahawks in an NFC West battle. Neither team had a good time of it on Sunday, both absorbing lopsided losses. The Seahawks had their worst game in recent memory in dropping a 38-10 road loss to the Green Bay Packers. The Rams didn't fare any better in absorbing a 42-14 loss to Atlanta in a lopsided and demoralizing defeat. The Rams have now lost four in a row and 8 of their last 9 games. On Monday, it was announced that Jeff Fisher was relieved of his duties.
It's getting pretty ragged for the Rams. Their last three games have been non-competitive losses, leading to Fisher's firing. Against Atlanta at home, the Rams fell behind 42-0, before adding a few garbage touchdowns late. They have covered one spread since October 2. Their only win in the last nine games was a 9-6 win over the Jets. Since October 16, they have surpassed 14 points just once and that was in a 49-21 loss to the Saints. After the game, running back Todd Gurley took the team to task for playing with no energy and said the whole team wasn't expending full effort. Fair enough, though Gurley averaging 3.3 yards per rush and under-performing severely this season wouldn't seem to make him an ideal spokesman on how bad things are going.
The Rams' offense is a mess. Gurley was anticipated by just about everybody to become a bonafide star this season and that hasn't happened. The Rams are last in the league in points scored, first downs, and yards. On Sunday against a banged-up Falcons squad, not even their defense looked good. Offense was even worse. First pick Jared Goff has been getting his feet wet in his first stretch of games as an NFL starter. Two turnovers led to points, with Goff throwing a pick-six and a strip-sack leading to another score. The Rams had five turnovers on the day. It's going to take some time for this offense to get its act together. Kenny Britt, nearing 1000 yards, is the only good part of this offense this season. And when Kenny Britt is the star of your offense, that's not a terribly good sign with all due deference to Britt.
The Rams defense is also unraveling in the face of an offense that can't so much as get anything right. Hung out to dry for the whole season, the resistance on this side of the ball is waning. In their last three games, the Rams have allowed 117 combined points. We've seen a good defense deprived of their edge. And it's a defense that could be good, if only getting more support on the other side of the ball. There are good players across all phases of this unit, but the effort has been dipping and you can hardly blame them in light of what's happened. One gets the feeling that the Rams just want to get 2016 over with.
Seattle is going to take the division and go to the playoffs again. But now would be a good time to develop some positive momentum. They are a wildly inconsistent bunch, particularly on offense. Russell Wilson tossed five picks on Sunday, as the offense put forth one of its worst performances since Wilson joined the team. The offense can deliver in the right spots and maybe a cold day in Green Bay on Sunday wasn't an ideal time for them to thrive. Still, a few weeks before that, they put up 5 points in a loss to Tampa and after putting up 10 at Green Bay, their offense is laboring on the road at times this season. At home, they've been far more dependable and one should anticipate the Seahawks will be eager to get back on the winning track this week in Seattle.
Wilson was off in a big way on Sunday with the five interceptions. The turnovers prevented the offense from establishing any continuity. But with Thomas Rawls back in the fold and making some big runs in the past few weeks, they finally have a go-to back in the fold. With Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, Jermaine Kearse, and the improved play of Jimmy Graham, the offense has some options. There have been times where they looked a lot better on this side of the ball. But just when you think they're dialing it in, they come up with a clunker like they did against the Packers. When it comes to an offense playing with a wide range of form, this Seattle offense takes the cake.
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The 38 points the Packers put on Seattle on Sunday was the first time a team had surpassed 25 points against this team in 2016. And one would have to term that an aberration, as Russell Wilson won't throw five picks very often. In the three games leading up to the Green Bay disaster, the Seahawks had allowed a combined 36 points. The Legion of Boom is still intact and especially in Seattle, one should expect opposing offenses to suffer, especially ones like what the Rams bring to the table.
As divisional teams, these squads have already met, with the Rams emerging 9-6 winners in LA in week two. Both teams have been through a lot. That was the Rams' only gravy-period of the season, when they won three straight games to start the season 3-1 before going into the tank. That was another of Seattle's aforementioned offensive road failures. One shouldn't be so sure that they'll see something similar this week. The Rams have lost a lot of their hunger since that week two matchup and the Seahawks are now in spot where they don't want to fall into a funk with two losses in their last three games. Sometimes, teams see a little spike after a firing. Are the Rams even capable of that at this point? That spread is daunting, but I'm looking to time a big Seattle offensive performance and we might see one this week, or at least enough to cover the big number.
Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Seattle Seahawks minus 14 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet the Los Angeles vs. Seattle game by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 100% sign-up bonus!