A Rivalry Renewed - The LA Rams
Rivalries are an essential aspect to team sports all over the globe. They create atmospheres like no other, and they provide athletes with greater incentives to put their hearts and souls out into the field or court. Many rivalries can be found throughout all sports, including a few major rivalries in the NFL, namely the Steelers and Ravens. Although, there is one particular rivalry that really separates itself from the rest of the rivalries in the NFL. That rivalry is the Seahawks vs Rams. The rivalry between the Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams has been prevalent over the past couple decades. Seattle became a super power in the NFL back in 2012, so the rivalry really ramped up its meaning and significance right about that time. In 2017, the Rams proved to be a lethal force in the NFL for the first time in well over a decade, so the rivalry is expected to be ramped up to an even higher level, at the very least, in 2018. In this piece, I want to lay out the different facts that have set the stage for this intense rivalry that is going to live on as a spectacle the next few years.
All time, the two teams have played against each other 40 times (including 1 postseason game). The Seahawks have managed to win 23 of those 40 games, while the Rams were able to win 17 of them. Since 2012, the two teams have both taken 6 of 12 games played against each other, a dead-even split since Seattle has become a power in the NFC. Last season, the Rams were able to conquer the NFC West and make its first run in the playoffs since 2004. Even then, the two teams split the two games they played against each other. Seattle took the first game in Los Angeles 16-10, and Los Angeles took the second game up in Seattle 42-7. The 42-7 game was probably the toughest game to watch as a Seahawks fan in a very, very long time. I have never seen our team just take a route like that, but it was even worse to see our team get beat down so badly after having to deal with so many devastating injuries across the board. The thing about this game that many people seem to neglect to realize is that it has the capability to take this rivalry to a whole new level. Seattle is now firmly aware that the Rams are a force to be reckoned with, so you can certainly be ensured that Seattle will play as hard and physical as they can the next time they face off against the Rams. In the past, when the Rams were fairly awful and Seattle was going to Super Bowls, the Rams took beat downs as well.
For example, in 2013, the Seahawks beat the Rams 27-9 in dominating fashion. The Seahawks eventually went on to win the Super Bowl against the most efficient offense the league has ever season led by Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. The thing is, the Rams went on to win the following meeting between the two in October of 2014, 28-26. This means that even after one of these teams gets a beat down, the losing team is definitely not going to let up in the future. With this reasoning, I have strong belief that the Seahawks will play the Rams much tougher than their last meeting, and no one should ever count out Seattle in this particular matchup. It is also important to note that in that 42-7 beat down, Seattle was cluttered with horrific injuries, including season enders for Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, and Cliff Avril. I believe a couple other key players went down during the game, including KJ Wright, who plays a major role on defense that many people seem to forget.
Above all, this rivalry between the Seahawks and Rams is renewed once again to be one of the most physical and destructive matchups in the NFL. Back in 2013 and 2014, I was able to go down to St. Louis and watch the two teams battle it out back to back years. The Rams were absolutely terrible these two years (led by Jeff Fisher), and yet the Rams still were able to play the Seahawks extremely tough. In 2013, the game came down the final play at the one-yard line, with Seattle being forced to make a goal line stand to win the game. In 2014, the Rams actually were the victors, winning 28-26. This goes to show that no matter how bad anyone thinks the Seahawks are going to be this upcoming year, the matchup between the two will still likely come down to the wire and be a great game to watch. Personally, I do not think 2018 is going to be a bad year for the Seahawks, as we must trust the Schneider/Carroll process as we have before. The Seahawks should, by almost default, win nine or ten games. If Seattle can make some field goals, the team should be able to have an opportunity to make the playoffs.
Therefore, the rivalry between the Seahawks and Rams could very likely drift into the playoffs. It would be incredible to have the chance to watch these two teams compete against each other three times in one year.
For the first matchup between the Seahawks and Rams in 2018, I feel the need to make a prediction. Since the official schedule has yet to be released, I am unable to determine where the first matchup will be. If the pattern continues, the first matchup will likely reside in Los Angeles. Regardless, no matter where the first matchup is played, I can almost guarantee a fairly low scored game. I say this initially because I know that the Seahawks are going to inevitably struggle against the Rams scary defense, especially since they just acquired Ndamukong Suh to play alongside Aaron Donald. The Rams defensive line has always been Seattle’s kryptonite the past few years, so this addition of Suh is only going to make matters worse. In order to keep the game close, the Seahawks defense will be required to play lights out. Since this is a major rivalry and Seattle just got a beat down in their last meeting with the Rams, I have every reason to believe that the Seattle defense will be back for revenge. Because of this, I believe Seattle will have a strong showing defensively in the Seahawks/Rams first matchup in 2018. The game will likely be a game of field goals, much like the game back in 2016 when the Rams won 9-3 in Los Angeles. Since Seattle removed Blair Walsh (thank the Lord), the Seahawks should be able to keep up with Ram’s kicker Greg Zuerlein. In the end, and of course from a biased perspective, I think Seattle will come out on top 13-9 in the first matchup with the Rams in 2018. Seattle has all the motivation in the world to put on a strong showing against the Rams to retaliate against the beat down the Seahawks received from the Rams back in December. The Seahawks should also be able to rejuvenate its offensive line this offseason, as well as acquire a field goal kicker that can actually make a kick or two here and there.
No matter what, it is safe to say that the Seahawks and Rams rivalry is going to be extremely entertaining to watch in 2018. Let’s hope and wish for both teams to remain healthy and avoid devastating injuries, just to ensure that we can see the best out of the two strong forces in the NFC West. And, just maybe, we will see a huge matchup against the two forces in January when the teams are in top-level form.