Monday Night Football Preview | St. Louis Rams vs. Seattle Seahawks
Week 14 in the 2011 regular season schedule is coming to an end with an NFC West match-up between the 2-10 St. Louis Rams and the 5-7 Seattle Seahawks.
Typically, Monday Night Football is better slotted with more entertaining games that encourage excitement.
Unfortunately, we get to watch the two worst teams in the NFC West battle in out on Primetime television. Sam Bradford (ankle) is set to play unless his ankle can’t go in pre-game warmups.
The former #1 overall pick has had a rough season battling injuries and dealing with an offensive line that can’t protect him.
On the flip side, we get to see Tarvaris Jackson sling the ball around a bit, although he will be doing it without #1 wide receiver Sidney Rice (concussion, IR). Jackson seems to be fully recovered from his torn pectoral, and will be looking to make a few plays in the air against this poor defense.
Here are five things to watch for in Monday Night Football.
1. Which Receiver Steps Up in Sidney Rice’s Absence?
Sidney Rice was placed on the injured reserve after Week 12 with a concussion, and in Week 13 we failed to see any one receiver step up in a 31-14 Seahawks route of the Eagles on Thursday Night Football.
It’s quite possible that they will ride the Marshawn Lynch bus again in Week 14, but you would think that with a healthy Tarvaris Jackson, and going against a very poor secondary, that there will be a bit of an aerial assault.
Doug Baldwin is the best bet for increased targets overall, while Ben Obomanu should also see an increase in production. However, Golden Tate is a sleeper to make a few plays if given more playing time like in Week 13 when he finished with 47 yards and a touchdown.
Don’t count out Zach Miller, the tight end formerly with Oakland in 2010, but has been disappointing. Miller is extremely talented but hasn’t received the targets to produce.
2. Will Marshawn Lynch Continue His Dominance?
The last time that Marshawn Lynch didn’t score a touchdown in a game in which he played in was in Week 3 against the Arizona Cardinals.
He has been on fire in his last five weeks as well, rushing for over 100 yards in four of those match-ups. Whether he makes plays on the ground or on the receiving end, he is tapping into beast mode.
Against this poor St. Louis Rams defense, Lynch should have no problems getting over 100 yards and at least one touchdown.
3. Can Sam Bradford Get the Rams Passed the 35 Yard Line?
Against the 49ers, the Rams failed to get passed their own 35 yard line.
Steven Jackson and Jerious Norwood each finished with 19 rushing yards, and A.J. Feeley threw for just 156 in a shutout loss against San Francisco.
The Seahawks defense isn’t on the same level as the 49ers, and in fact have a suspect secondary, but they are good enough to hold St. Louis under 10 points, much like they did in Week 11.
Look for Brandon Lloyd, Brandon Gibson and Danario Alexander to have a bit more success than in Week 14, but don’t expect big numbers. Until the Rams can give their quarterback more than 1.5-2.0 seconds to throw, then he will continue to play poorly.
4. Will Steven Jackson Rebound in Week 14?
As mentioned before, Steven Jackson had just 19 yards on the ground on ten carries in Week 13 against the 49ers.
That’s an embarrassing performance for such a dominant running back with such exceptional tools when he gets the ball in his hands.
The issue is that St. Louis isn’t as much a threat to throw the ball consistently well, allowing teams to stack the box against Jackson.
It’s quite unlucky for Jackson, but it doesn’t look like he will have much more luck in this one either against a Seahawks defensive line that features Red Bryant and Alan Branch.
5. Can the Rams Make This an Entertaining Game?
I’m not confident in the St. Louis Rams’ ability to put up big points or play good enough defense to stop Marshawn Lynch.
Unfortunately this game could be quite a snooze-fest with two mediocre quarterbacks throwing the ball.
The good news is that it will likely go by quickly with Marshawn Lynch likely carrying the ball around 25 times, and Seattle likely keeping to the ground.
The Rams don’t have great weapons, but they are adequate enough to make this a football game. The issue is that St. Louis Rams offensive line not being able to pass block or run block, and putting the Rams into the race for the NFL’s worse offense.
I don’t expect much out of this game, but I do expect a mediocre Seattle team to roll this week. The good news is that Primetime games tend to be a bit closer than Sunday games.
I think St. Louis puts up more than 10 points, but still loses in convincing fashion.