I gotta be honest. It’s sobering to write about a football game preview after what happened to Damar Hamlin on Monday Night Football. Let’s just get that one out of the way.
This season finale game in which my Seahawks will be facing off against their bitter divisional rival in the LA Rams here in Seattle should be met with huge anticipation by any diehard Twelve. The Seahawks have before them an opportunity to sweep a divisional foe who has had their number for years now, and finish their season out with a winning record that few thought they would finish with when this season began.
If they do this, and the Lions beat the Packers on Sunday Night Football, the Seahawks will even be awarded a playoff birth, which in my opinion, is huge in terms of a young roster gaining post season experience earlier than anticipated. Even if they don’t end up in the playoffs, finishing the season off right by sweeping these Rams and going 9-8 will still feel sweet, and give a sense that this organization is building towards a positive direction again.
From the perspective of the Rams, this is their opportunity to close their season out right by wrecking Seattle’s playoff hopes and ending their season by giving them a somewhat annoying 8-9 record. This is an opportunity for Baker Mayfield to make a statement that he can be a quality starting quarterback in this league. Even more so, it’s an opportunity for Bobby Wagner to enact revenge on the team he had played ten years for, and gave up on him last off-season. I imagine the entire Rams defense will be playing this one extra fierce for Wagner.
So, this should be a really good game to watch, even for the objective non Seahawks or Rams fan to watch. I also think, despite the records, these teams are a bit more evenly matched than some think.
Yes, the Rams are without most of their marquee players, but the Seahawks will be a bit gimpy in this one, as well, with Tyler Lockett dealing with multiple issues, Jordyn Brooks now on injured reserve, and many other players dealing with late season issues. While, I would expect most of the guys who have been sitting out of practice to play for Seattle, who knows how hampered they will be as they face a Rams club that is ready to play spoiler.
For these reasons, I expect a hard fought game between both of these clubs. For a second week in a row, this should feel like a playoff game for these Seahawks, and I am super duper here for it.
I want to see pro bowl quarterback Geno Smith close out his feel good storybook season right with a solidly efficient game that leads his team to a win, and himself to a long term contract. I want to see Darrell Taylor continue his late season surge as pass rusher, and prove to Seattle that if the opportunity presents itself next Spring, they should draft defensive tackle Jalen Carter over defensive end Will Anderson with their first pick. I want to see Ken Walker III finish out his stellar rookie season by rushing for over a hundred yards again, and getting a thousand yards to his season, and I want to see Tariq Woolen pick off Mayfield to solidify earning DOYR.
But, if I am to be perfectly honest, I think viewing football could feel a bit weird this weekend because of the freak accident that happened to Damar Hamlin on MNF that saw his heart stop on the field on national television, and that’s okay. This incident gave us all a chilling reminder that every time a football player suits up to play, they put their lives at risk. I think it’s a reality that many of us lose sight of as fans.
For my part, I think it also puts in perspective how I want to root for these players. Football is a violent game. The rules in place help these players more these days than in years past, and the gear obviously protects them, but a freak things can happen as was the case last Monday. There is an unavoidable level of danger to this game.
Therefore, I would like to better keep that into perspective. I think the emotions of rivalries can lead us to hate on good players simply because of the uniforms they wear. I also think it’s a natural reaction as fans to trash on players if they aren’t living up to whatever expectations or hype. Moving forward, as Hamlin regains his health, I want to resist both of these impulses out of respect for these dudes who suit up and play this sport out of passion.
They assume risks in order to make a living playing a game they love that can ultimately prove deadly. I’m going to respect the players more because of that.
Yes, I want my Seahawks to decisively win this game on Sunday. I would love nothing more than a blowout win for Seattle, but I also want every guy who suits up to walk off that field okay. This is how I want to be as a fan more these days, and I cannot personally stand Jalen Ramsey as a player.
So, how do I think this game finishes?
As much as I want to see a dominant finish by Seattle, I think this is probably going to be pretty hard fought between both clubs. I see Seattle winning it, and closing out their season with a winning record, but I think it’s likely to be a 23-17 type of finish than a 23-6 one we saw last Sunday against the Jets.
I think the Seahawks defense is playing well enough that, even without Brooks at linebacker, they can give Baker Mayfield fits at Lumen Field with the noise of the fans behind them, and hold Cam Akers in check enough, but I think Sean McVay is still a master offensive play caller, and there is likely going to be times where the Rams get things going well enough on offense to make any Seahawk fan nervous. Get ready to feel those nerves flowing if you want Seattle to win this.
Offensively, I expect Seattle to stay with the run in this one, and at times, it’s could feel frustrating, but as the game wears on, I think we see Walker breaking big gains on the ground, and we are likely to see another efficient game out of Geno Smith throwing off of the play action opportunities. It might not always feel pretty because this Rams defense will put up a fight, but if Seattle wins, it will feel right.
I’m down for the Seahawks to feel right in this one, and hold off a bitter opponent intent on playing spoiler. I’m thinking this is likely going to be a great game to watch, and my hope is that it is hard fought, but everyone comes out of it okay.
Because I would imagine that every one of these guys probably has a momma who says a prayer before every game that her baby comes out of it okay.
This is what I hope, anyways.