Week 12 Preview: Seattle at St.Louis

One week after taking on the juggernaut that is the Minnesota Vikings, the Seahawks head to St. Louis this weekend to take on the Rams.

Talk about two completely opposite sides of the spectrum.

While it seemed that the Vikings had weapons at every position, the Rams (1-10) have only one real threat, running back Steven Jackson.

Jackson is coming into the weekend with four straight games of at least 100 rushing yards. Jackson is the only running back in Rams’ history to rush for five straight seasons. Jackson is also a big receiving threat out of the backfield, already having 35 receptions this season.

Aside from Jackson, St. Louis is young, inexperienced and injured.

Two key defensive positions, defensive end and middle linebacker, are manned by second-year man Chris Long and rookie James Laurinaitis, respectively. The two combine for just three sacks this season.

At wide receiver, the Rams have three receivers out for the season. Of the team’s receivers on the active roster, all but one has just two years of N.F.L. experience or less. The exception? Ruvell Martin with four.

At quarterback, starter Marc Bulger is out with a knee fracture. In his place, Kyle Boller.

In order for the Seahawks (3-7) to end their two-game losing streak, the team needs to do two things this weekend, run the ball effectively and get Boller guessing and gambling on throws.

Last week, the Rams gave up 183 total rushing yards to the Arizona Cardinals and 110 of those came from Tim Hightower on just 14 touches. If Seattle can even get 100 yards on the ground as a collective unit this weekend, it will keep the Rams’ secondary honest so it can’t constantly double team TJ Houshmandzadeh or Nate Burleson. This would allow quarterback Matt Hasselbeck the opportunity to successfully find these big-play targets, something that Hasselbeck hasn’t had the best time doing this season.

To get St. Louis’ backup-turned-starting quarterback Kyle Boller overanalyzing and making mistakes he shouldn’t, Seattle needs to better get pressure on him, something that head coach Jim Mora Jr. said his Seahawks couldn’t do last week in a loss at Minnesota, but the Seahawks can’t just send a rush. They also need to implement a little defensive trickery with its blitz packages.

In this scenario, just before a snap, Boller will recognize a blitz is coming and try to make the appropriate adjustments to quiet the pressure that will be coming, but if Seattle is able to sell that a blitz is coming well enough and then not send a rush at all, the Seahawks can drop more players back into coverage and better blanket the Rams’ receiving options. This “sell the fake” strategy provides Seattle the opportunity to have an increased number of interceptions and more time for the Seahawks’ offense to take control of the game.

If Seattle can get Boller guessing, even a hot Steven Jackson running for St. Louis shouldn’t keep the Seahawks from bettering the Rams.

Seattle 24, St. Louis 7.

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