It’s Seahawks week for the Rams, which is usually a big week each season. Not so much this year, though. This year’s Rams-Seahawks game has a different feel with Los Angeles sitting at 3-8 and being without some of its top players – including Cooper Kupp, Aaron Donald and likely Matthew Stafford.
There are still some key matchups to watch in this game, however, and they’re ones that will help decide the outcome on Sunday.
Jalen Ramsey vs. DK Metcalf
There are few cornerbacks in the NFL that can match Metcalf’s combination of size and speed, but Ramsey is one of them. That’s what makes this one-on-one battle so much fun each time they square off. In their first meeting last season, Metcalf caught three passes for 58 yards and a touchdown against Ramsey, getting targeted just three times.
In their second matchup of the year, Ramsey held Metcalf to just three catches for 25 yards on eight targets. This will be the first time they square off with Geno Smith throwing the passes, so it’ll be interesting to see how many looks Metcalf gets with Ramsey covering him.
I don’t expect the Rams to have Ramsey shadow him throughout the game, but he’s their biggest corner and one of the only defenders who can match up with the athletically gifted wideout.
Bobby Wagner vs. Kenneth Walker III
With Aaron Donald and A’Shawn Robinson out for this game, the Rams could have a hard time stopping the Seahawks’ rushing attack, which has been very productive with Walker leading the way. That puts even more on Wagner as a run defender because he’ll probably have more tackle opportunities without two of the team’s best run stoppers in the game.
Wagner didn’t take the bait this week when asked about facing Walker, simply saying he’s a rookie that he’s “looking forward to tackling.” Ernest Jones will help clean things up on the second level, too, but Wagner will get plenty of chances to take down the standout rookie in the open field.
Van Jefferson vs. Tariq Woolen
Woolen has been one of the most impressive rookie cornerbacks in the NFL this season, allowing a passer rating of only 70.6 in coverage. The Rams don’t have Cooper Kupp or Allen Robinson to draw Woolen in coverage, so it’ll most likely be Jefferson working against him on the outside.
Woolen has a rare skill set with excellent size and length to go with 4.26 speed, allowing him to match up with both bigger receivers and faster ones. Jefferson has been relatively quiet since he returned from a knee injury and has yet to make a big play down the field; it’ll be tough for him to do that this week, too.
Rob Havenstein vs. Uchenna Nwosu
Nwosu has been the Seahawks’ best pass rusher this season, leading the team with 37 total pressures and seven sacks. He’s already set a career high with 42 tackles and tied his career best with eight tackles for a loss, playing extremely well in his first year with the Seahawks.
Nwosu rushes from both the left and right sides, so he’ll go up against Havenstein and either A.J. Arcuri or Ty Nsekhe – whichever one is healthy enough to play left tackle. Keeping Nwosu in check is critical for the Rams as they attempt to keep their quarterback, whoever it may be, upright in the pocket.