Seattle Seahawks (1-0) at Los Angeles Rams (0-1)
Coming into the season, I had the Rams as one of the worst teams in the league. They won 7 games last season, but they also needed good luck in close games to even go 7-9. Of those 7 wins, 5 came by 8 points or fewer, while only 3 of their 9 losses did, as they finished 30th in rate of moving the chains differential overall and their offense ranked dead last in rate of moving the chains. This off-season, they got even worse overall. They lost a pair of talented defensive starters in Janoris Jenkins and Rodney McLeod in free agency and traded away their entire draft to move up to #1 to reach for California quarterback Jared Goff, who won’t even be the starter to begin the season.
The Rams sure looked like one of the worst teams in the league last week, when they lost to another one of the worst teams in the league, the San Francisco 49ers, in blowout fashion, by the final score of 28-0. Road favorites of 2.5 points going into the game, the Rams’ offense ended up moving the chains at a mere 41.67% rate, while their defense allowed the 49ers to move the chains at a 76.19% rate. Starter Case Keenum is a backup caliber quarterback, with little to no help on offense around him. Jared Goff will be active as the #2 quarterback this week, after being inactive as the 3rd quarterback week 1, but he’s reportedly nowhere near ready and head coach Jeff Fisher still would prefer Keenum to start all season, even after last week’s disaster. That tells us that either Jared Goff is alarmingly behind in his development or that head coach Jeff Fisher is a poor judge of talent. Neither option is good for the Rams.
This week, the Rams head home to their new home in Los Angeles, after their off-season move from St. Louis, and open with about as tough of an opponent as they could have had, with the Seattle Seahawks coming to town. The Seahawks were unimpressive in a near home loss to the lowly Dolphins last week, but that could easily prove to be a fluke. The game was not as close as the final score suggested anyway, as the Seahawks had 10 more first downs than the Dolphins and moved the chains at a 70.97% rate, as opposed to 54.55% for the Dolphins. The Seahawks just had two killer turnovers that the Dolphins didn’t. Turnover margin tends to be pretty inconsistent from week-to-week and the Seahawks typically do very well with the turnover battle.
I see no reason why the Seahawks couldn’t give the Rams their 2nd straight big loss in a row, especially since the Seahawks don’t have any upcoming distractions, with another easy game on deck after this one. Next week, they go to San Francisco, where they figure to be at least touchdown favorites against a team that the Rams were favored by 2.5 against on the road. Teams tend to do better the week before being big favorites. Since 2012, teams are 31-19 ATS before being road favorites of 7 or more. On top of that, favorites of 6 or more, like the Seahawks are here, are 84-50 ATS since 2012 before being 6+ point favorites again. This looks like a tough welcome back for the Rams. This line is at 7 in some places, but I’d hold out for 6.5. It’s probably still worth a play on 7 though.
Seattle Seahawks 20 Los Angeles Rams 6
Pick against the spread: Seattle -6.5