There are multiple parts of that sentence to break down. The Detroit Lions are competing for the playoffs in the final week of the season? The Seahawks are favorites over the defending champion Rams? The Rams’ quarterback is Baker Mayfield?
It has been a wild season, to say the least, and with one week of the regular season left, there is plenty more madness to come. The NFC playoff picture remains murky with three teams in the hunt for the third and final Wild Card spot: Detroit, Seattle, and those pesky Green Bay Packers.
The road for Green Bay is the simplest, as a mere win over Detroit would secure their playoff appearance. Meanwhile, Detroit and Seattle will need some cooperation. For Detroit to make the playoffs, they need to defeat the Packers, and for Seattle to fall to their Week 18 opponent, the Rams. For a Seahawks postseason ticket, they need Detroit to win as well, with the obvious difference being a Seattle victory instead of a loss.
Three teams, two games, and the fate of the postseason bracket at stake. We’ll focus on the Lions and Packers showdown throughout the week, so let’s shed a little light on the equally pivotal Rams and Seahawks matchup.
Avid Lions fans have been following the Rams all year, albeit for different reasons. Despite a Super Bowl victory the season before, the Rams floundered over the course of the 2022 season. Now with a 5-11 record, the Rams sit near the bottom of the league, which in turn benefits the Lions as owners of their first round draft pick. Having rooted against the Rams all season, the tune changes in the final week of the season.
While it would be beneficial draft-wise for the Rams to lose, a Rams loss would eliminate the Lions from postseason contention, regardless of the Lions-Packers outcome. So unless you’re a diehard member of Team Draft (if so, I’m sorry for you), you’re rooting for a Rams win.
DVOA numbers for Week 17 are still to come, but the Seahawks were 10th in DVOA entering the week and are unlikely to shift much further. The Rams, meanwhile, were 22nd entering the week, and following a blowout loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, that is guaranteed to go down.
That being said, the Rams have shown signs of life, and it could match up decency against the Seahawks. The Rams have gone 2-2 since acquiring Mayfield, all four games experiencing the range of outcomes. There was a narrow win (Week 14 versus the Las Vegas Raiders), and two-score loss (Week 15 versus the Packers), a blowout win (Week 16 versus the Denver Broncos), and a blowout loss (Week 17 versus the Chargers). Which Rams will we get in Week 18?
One player that has come alive in recent weeks is running back Cam Akers. At midseason, Akers was seemingly on the outs in Los Angeles. The Rams were shopping him around, while Akers had left the team. Yet that relationship got mended, and Akers has turned in impressive back-to-back performances. He had a stellar 118-yard, three-touchdown performance against the Broncos last week, and followed it up with a 123-yard outing in their loss to the Chargers.
Akers is running hard and running well, and it comes against a vulnerable opponent. The Seahawks entered the week 25th in run defense DVOA, and while they shut down the New York Jets on Sunday, they weren’t a formidable rushing attack, to begin with. If Akers and the Rams rushing attack can get going against the Seahawks, the Rams could have a chance.
However, the Seahawks will be playing for their playoff lives, so expect Seattle to not go quietly. The Geno Smith-led offense has seen a remarkable turnaround from the preseason predictions. The passing game is strong, while Kenneth Walker is shining in the run game, having also posted back-to-back 100-yard rushing games.
Even if the Lions take care of business against the Packers, they will need help from the former champions.
Today’s Question of the Day is:
Will the Rams beat the Seahawks in Week 18?
My answer: I think the Rams will lose.
The Lions had destiny in their hands against the Carolina Panthers, but a brutal loss meant they would ride or die at another team’s hands. Unfortunately, that team is the Rams, and I don’t think that bodes well for Detroit’s playoff chances.
Defeating the hungry Packers will be difficult enough for Detroit, but relying on Los Angeles to pull off the upset? It’s not like these are the Rams from last year’s Super Bowl. The injuries are everywhere, from Stafford himself to Cooper Kupp to the offensive line and chunks of the defense. The Rams are 5-11 for good reason: they are not a good team. I don’t believe the Seahawks are a great team by any stretch, but they are a more complete team than the Rams, plus they have home field advantage.
If the Lions fall just short of the playoffs, the season will certainly be filled with regret, even amidst an overall positive year. Missed opportunities coupled with a slow start to the season could come back to haunt them. Having to rely on a bad team to upset a team with the playoffs in their sights is, sadly, the situation the Lions find themselves in.
Will the Rams beat the Seahawks in Week 18?
This poll is closed