Seahawks vs. Rams NFL Week 15 Preview and Best Bet

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Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks. Tim Warner/Getty Images/AFP

Editor’s Note: The NFL announced on Friday afternoon that the Seattle Seahawks and the Los Angeles Rams game has been moved to Tuesday 21th, at 07:00 PM EST due to a “substantial increase in (COVID) cases across the league.”

The Seahawks and Rams clash in an NFC West matchup. Seattle is coming off two straight wins, a pretty impressive one against San Francisco and a less impressive one in Houston. But the Seahawks still have a lot of work to do to catch up to the 9-4 Rams who have won two straight games themselves including a Monday Night showdown in Arizona.

The top-rated sportsbooks have released their NFL odds for Sunday’s Week 15 contest between the Seahawks and Rams. For reasons that I will explain, you should play the spread for this game.

Seattle Seahawks vs. Los Angeles Rams

Tuesday, December 21, 2021 – 07:00 PM EST at SoFi Stadium

Seattle's Awful Pass Defense 

Seattle arguably has one of the NFL's worst pass defenses. The Seahawks rank last place in limiting opposing passing yards. They allow over 12 more passing yards per game than any other team.

Moreover, they rank 22nd in limiting the opponent's passer rating. When one thinks of bad pass defenses, one normally thinks of the secondary. Indeed, Seattle's cornerbacks and safeties have struggled in tandem throughout the season.

With former Jaguar Sidney Jones and fellow youngsters, the terribly undersized D.J. Reed, and Ugo Amadi at cornerback, there simply isn't a lot of defensive ability on the field. Amadi is the team's regular nickel corner as a consequence of predecessor Marquise Blair suffering a season-ending injury.

I'm not sure how Jones or Reed could limit Ram superstar Cooper Kupp as both cornerbacks have been decimated by higher-level wide receivers. Covered by Jones, 49er leading wide receiver Deebo Samuel amassed nine receptions on 12 targets for 193 yards. Likewise, Green Bay's Davante Adams hurt Reed for 75 yards on two receptions out of four targets.

In addition to the secondary struggling, Seattle misses departed linebacker K.J. Wright whom Seahawk players have dubbed "the screen master." His absence has allowed opponents to pick Seattle apart on screens. Additionally to having issues at linebacker, Seattle's pass rush ranks second-to-last in sack rate.

So, know for your sports betting that, at all three levels, the Seahawks' pass defense is terrible.

The Trend 

Seattle's terrible pass defense explains why the Seahawks are 0-3 ATS against teams with quarterbacks who rank top-10 in passing yards. -- That's right, the Seahawk pass defense ranks so poorly despite rarely facing stronger pass attacks.

These three teams -- Green Bay, the Rams, and Minnesota, won by 17, 9, and 13 points, respectively, and yet the Rams are favored at most of the top-rated sportsbooks by seven points. One can find a better number if one shops around.

Seattle's bad pass defense thus creates a betting edge in favor of the Rams. L.A. does miss Odell Beckham Jr., but I'm always disinclined to trust pass attacks with Odell because his selfishness and his theatrics make him such cancer to the team. Without him, a quarterback won't have to put up with his whining when he doesn't get the ball.

The NFL's undisputed top wide receiver Kupp and the team's second-leading wide receiver Van Jefferson remain healthy. Pass-catching tight end Tyler Higbee is also back to resume his regular role in L.A.'s pass attack.

Ram Run Attack 

Seattle has allowed few rushing yards in recent weeks. However, this current trend is totally misleading. Most recently, the Seahawks faced an anemic Houston rush attack led by career backups.

Before that, they stacked the box against San Francisco, which is something they won't be able to do against the Rams' high-level pass attack. Despite these recent successes, they still rank 22nd in limiting opposing rush yards per game. Opponents run for an average of 116 per game against them. Keep this stat in mind for your best bets.

L.A. might have two starter-caliber running backs available for this game. Former Patriot Sony Michel is certainly healthy. The team's normal starter, Darrell Henderson, appeared ready to return from his quadricep injury until he tested positive for COVID, which caused him to miss his team's last game. Both guys are powerful, physical-type running backs who will help wear down a defense.

Seahawk Offense vs. Ram Defense 

I think that the Rams will score a lot, which places an extra onus on Seahawk quarterback Russell Wilson to replicate his performance from last week against Houston against a much tougher Ram defense. Wilson's strongest asset as a passer is his play-action game. He ranks second in the NFL in play-action percentage.

The fact that Seattle has had to rely on backup running backs who are regularly less productive than initial starter Chris Carson and the fact that L.A. with studs like Aaron Donald ranks seventh in run defense will damage Seattle's chances of establishing the run.

Without a strong run game, though, the play-action is less effective. Wilson will therefore miss the support on the ground that he enjoyed against teams like Houston that rank last place in limiting opposing rush yards.

The Seahawks' lack of run game helps explain the team's poor record this season. In five of the six games where they failed to reach 20 points, they failed to reach 100 yards rushing as a team.

The Rams, who allow 100.6 rushing yards per game, will only need to be slightly above average for themselves against one of the NFL's less productive rush attacks in Seattle.

The Verdict

The Ram pass attack will damage Seattle's awful pass defense while Ram running backs create a lethal offensive balance. To keep pace with L.A., Russell Wilson will have to do a lot by himself, but he'll be held back by lack of run support.

In sum, I expect the Rams to reach 30-35 points while the Seahawks struggle to exceed 17. For the above reasons, invest in L.A. with your NFL picks.

NFL Pick: Rams -4.5 (-108) with Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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Rams -4.5 (-108)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.