Seattle Seahawks Vs. Los Angeles Rams – 2023 Prove It Tour Starts At Home

Casey Mabbott, Oregon Sports News

A year ago, Seattle was supposed to be a tragic dumpster fire that was really tough to watch and even tougher to understand. It wasn’t true, as Seattle became one of the better stories and teams in the 2022 season. They had some trouble with elite teams, but they handled average teams and gave really good teams a good fight, winning a couple of those games. They ultimately posted a losing record against playoff teams, which will be one of their biggest motivators this season.

The Seahawks and QB Geno Smith have to prove last season was not a fluke and that they are even better this year. And they get to start their prove-it tour at home against a hated rival.

Geno matched or came close to breaking several Seattle season passing records, most of them held by former QB Russell Wilson. In a year that was supposed to be spent wondering who would be the heir to Wilson, Geno stole the show in week one by defeating Wilson head-to-head and never looking back. Geno goes into this season with the confidence that this is his team, the fans support him, and there’s nothing more a leader needs to do great things.

Seattle played the Rams twice last season, and both were victories for the Seahawks, but neither was against LA at full strength, and that will be the case this week as well. Both games were decided by less than a touchdown a season ago, so even if the Rams are wounded, that doesn’t mean they are out before the game starts.

The Rams waived longtime Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner after just one year, and he was only in LA after Seattle cut him to let him find a home with a team in contention for a title. Wagner chose the defending champions and paid for it as they stumbled to a losing season. Wagner came home to Seattle after the Rams cut him loose, and he is a welcome addition to a defense that struggled to find their identity last season.

The Rams didn’t just cut Wagner; they also traded all-pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey to Miami. This leaves Aaron Donald as one of the few remaining stars on defense, and the offense is set to have some issues as all-pro receiver Cooper Kupp will miss at least this game with a hamstring injury, and QB Matt Stafford will have to prove he is healthy after missing several games last year. Aside from Kupp, the Rams lack a proven playmaker, and their offensive line is patchwork, so it could be a long day at the office for Stafford if his blocking doesn’t hold up and his receivers have trouble making plays at key moments.

Sean McVay’s offense didn’t look great last year, and this year, they will be working with former Jets OC Mike LaFluer, who ran one of the most inconsistent offenses in the league last season. All signs point to trouble for the Rams in week one, but we’ll have to see if Seattle can capitalize.

This will be the first time Seattle’s new-look defense is on the field, and depending on how his hamstring feels, we may get to see number-five overall pick Devon Witherspoon playing cornerback.

We will see free agent Dre’Mont Jones playing somewhere on the defensive line and Wagner returning to his post as middle linebacker. Safety Jamal Adams has been ruled out for week one, so his long-awaited return to the field will be on hold for at least another week, but I’m not sure how crucial his being on the field is this week. This team has a very tough test in Detroit next week, so they must save their energy.

On offense, we may get to see new receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who injured his wrist in the preseason but practiced this week and could see action in a football game for the first time in nearly a year, his last game appearance coming against Iowa in October 2022. He may have to take some time getting used to getting hit again, so don’t be surprised if he drops a couple of passes; he’ll get back in the swing of things soon. Adjusting to the NFL game is tough enough for rookie receivers, even if you did play college football in the last several months. JSN is coming up on a year away from real game action; he may need a few weeks to get in game shape at the NFL level. Don’t give up on him if he struggles early or makes a mistake. He’ll be impressing everyone soon enough.

This is a tune-up game if Seattle plays to their strengths and makes the Rams look silly, and it could send them into their early road game next week with a lot of well-earned confidence. After Detroit, they only have two games before their bye week, so they need to make sure this game goes well. They can’t afford an early setback with such a massive chunk of the season left after their week off. They need to pile up as many early wins as possible so that if they drop one later on, they might not fall out of the division or playoff race.

Even if the Rams were at full strength, I would expect Seattle to win this game, but I won’t be surprised if the Seahawks are comfortably ahead by three or more scores this week. The Rams don’t have a very good team on paper, a head coach who doesn’t seem to enjoy being a coach anymore, and their leaders appear to be struggling to figure out if they can get back to the players they were when they won the Super Bowl in February of 2022.

Seattle has plenty to prove this year, and they need to make a statement this Sunday to start their season off right. A win by less than two scores and there won’t be boobirds, but there may be folks wondering if this team is as good as they can be. A win by multiple scores or more will have the talking heads wondering on air if this team can be something special.

I see no reason Seattle won’t cruise to victory this Sunday, 35-17.