Game Preview: Rams at Seahawks

The Seahawks come off of their bye week to face the formidable challenge of the St. Louis Rams in a battle for supremacy in the NFC West.

What: Game four of the regular season
When: Sunday, October 10th, 1:15 pm (PST)
Where: Qwest Field, Seattle, Washington


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Rams Key Players:

QB Marc Bulger: Bulger has been very accurate this season, completing 69% of his passes for 1,101 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. He has yet to hit on a long pass (his longest completion has been 36 yards) but in the Ram offense the big-play is usually just around the corner. He has eliminated his penchant for making poor decisions but he still tries to force things in when wideouts are double-covered.

RB Marshall Faulk: Faulk finally broke out with a big game last week against a questionable San Francisco defense, running for 120 yards against the 49ers. He is averaging 4.5 yards per carry so far this season and the seven-time Pro Bowler is on pace to another 1,000 yard season.

WR Torry Holt: Holt draws double-coverage on almost every play and because of that his numbers have fallen off a bit. He is still on pace to catch 100 passes for over 1,200 yards but for a player with his abilities the big-play has not been there (12.4 yard average). Look for a big-game from Holt soon.

WR Isaac Bruce: Bruce is benefiting the most from Holt's presence in this offense. While Holt is double-teamed, Bruce enjoys single-coverage and so far has caught 32 passes for 448 yards and one touchdown. Bruce is still explosive and can get deep enough to keep defenses honest. One area he has improved on is his downfield blocking.

S Aeneas Williams: Williams is the free safety and "QB" of the defense as he like having a coach on the field. Williams is a ball-hawk but he has yet to record an interception this season. He is second on the team in tackles with 28 and even though he has lost a step, his savvy and instincts allow him to make plays players his age have a tough time making.

DE Leonard Little: Little is being used in different ways by new defensive coordinator Larry Marmie. Last week he lined up as a linebacker as well as at left defensive end and it allowed him to have his best game of the season. He is a threat on passing downs and he is a disruptor who must be blocked or it will be a long day for the quarterback.

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Key Matchups:

Seahawks RT Chris Terry vs. Little: As stated above, Little is a superb athlete with speed off the edge. Terry has not been as consistent in pass-protection as he has been the last two years and it will be up to the sixth-year tackle from Georgia to hold his own against Little. If Terry can handle Little on his own, it opens up the offense even more for QB Matt Hasselbeck because they don't have to keep the fullback or tight end in to protect and they can send them into the pass-patterns.

Holt and Bruce vs. Seahawks secondary: Last year in St. Louis Bulger completed several long passes against CBs Marcus Trufant and Ken Lucas. Trufant and Lucas have improved immensely from last season and are arguably playing the best of any cornerback duo in the league. If the two corners can match up against Holt and Bruce and allow the defensive line more time to get pressure on Bulger, there could be plenty of passes up for grabs as Bulger has a penchant for getting rattled and forcing things.

Seahawks DEs Grant Wistrom and Chike Okeafor vs. Rams Tackles Grant Williams and Orlando Pace: Pace and Wistrom faced off every day in practice for six years when Wistrom played for the Rams and they know each other well. Wistrom doesn't have to win this battle, but he must keep Pace from dominating him. Okeafor has played well opposite Wistrom and Williams has been below-average as a replacement for the injured Kyle Turley. Okeafor must get pressure from the LDE spot or at least cause Faulk or the tight end to stay in and help protect.

Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren vs. Rams head coach Mike Martz: As far as a gameday leader this comparison isn't even close. Martz is an erratic strategist and a questionable play-caller. Holmgren is quietly excited about what he has going up in the Emerald City and he trusts his players to make plays. Holmgren knows his teams' strengths and is one of the best "play-callers" in the league…ever!!!

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News and Notes: The Seahawks are looking for their first 4-0 start in team history; The Seahawks defense is ranked first in the league for the first time since the second week of the 1998 season; The Seahawks are 0-5 following bye weeks under Holmgren and 3-11 since the bye week was introduced; The Rams lead this series 7-4, but the teams have split the last four games; The Seahawks have won 10 straight regular season home games going back to December 8, 2002 (Philadelphia); Martz is 3-2 versus the Seahawks.

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Injuries:


St. Louis:
PROBABLE: RB Marshall Faulk (shoulder); CB Dejuan Groce (knee); RB Arlen Harris (hamstring); T Scott Tercero (wrist/hand); LB Robert Thomas (ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: G Chris Dishman (knee); LB Tony Newson (ankle)
OUT: CB Travis Fisher (forearm); DT Jimmy Kennedy (foot)


Seattle:
PROBABLE: LB Isaiah Kacyvenski (groin); RB Mack Strong (knee)
OUT: LB Chad Brown (fibula)


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Prediction: Seattle 31 – St. Louis 23


.NET Reporter Scott Eklund writes for Seahawks.NET every week. Feel free to contact him at sctthawk@yahoo.com.


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