4 players to watch in Rams vs. Seahawks

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The Los Angeles Rams have a quick turnaround following their first loss of the season to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 4. The Rams will travel to take on the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday Night Football in what is expected to be somewhat of a shootout with most sportsbooks having the over/under set at 54.5 points at the time this is being written.

It was far from a picture-perfect performance from the Rams in Week 4 versus the Cardinals. After cruising through the first three weeks of the season, Los Angeles was stonewalled by Arizona, 37-20. The Cardinals were able to slow down the offense of the Rams, and Los Angeles had no answers for Kyler Murray and co.

Even though players typically despise having to play on Thursday night, it does allow the Rams to put their recent loss behind them by securing a victory on the road against another NFC West rival. The Seahawks are looking to avoid a 2-3 start to the season after taking down the San Francisco 49ers in Week 4.

In what should be a must-watch game in Week 5, let’s take a look at four players that everyone should keep tabs on during the anticipated matchup between the Rams and the Seahawks.

Darrell Henderson Jr.

Running the ball hasn’t been a difficult endeavor for teams that have squared off with the Seahawks this season. Come to think of it, Seattle’s defense hasn’t been able to stop much of anything in the first four weeks.

We know the Rams have a high-flying aerial attack with Matthew Stafford at the helm that should have no trouble airing it out on Thursday night. On the other hand, Darrell Henderson Jr. is poised to have a stellar performance out of the backfield against Seattle’s dismal run defense.

The defense of the Seahawks has surrendered 113+ rushing yards in each of the first four weeks, including three straight games of allowing 140+ rushing yards. Henderson has quietly had a fantastic start to the season, producing the ninth-most effective yards by a running back (via Football Outsiders), and that’s with him even missing a game. The third-year back out of Memphis is on track to have a noteworthy outing in Week 5 against the Seahawks.

David Long Jr.

It was a disappointing performance from just about everybody in Los Angeles’ lopsided loss to Arizona in Week 4. But one player who was singled out due to having a rough showing in coverage was David Long Jr.

Long, who is currently starting at nickel in place of the departed Troy Hill, surrendered five catches for 89 yards and a touchdown in Week 4. The former third-round pick out of Michigan spent most of his time covering veteran A.J. Green, but he was unable to have much success in slowing down the former Pro Bowler.

Raheem Morris didn’t hold back in his criticism of Long following the loss to the Cardinals. Morris made it clear that Robert Rochell could see more playing time in place of Long if he continues to falter. Provided that, Long will need to be at his best when the Rams kick off versus the Seahawks on Thursday night.

Robert Woods

Yes, I’ve listed Robert Woods as a player to watch for three consecutive weeks, sue me. Woods has gotten off to a relatively quiet start this season, hauling in 15 passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns. One of those touchdowns came in garbage time last week when the Rams were down 37-13 in the fourth quarter to the Cardinals.

Sean McVay has heard the outcry from fans that are wondering why Woods hasn’t been as involved in the offense as we are accustomed to seeing. McVay shared that he has to do a better job of getting Woods engaged in the game plan, and that begins in Week 5 versus the Seahawks.

Once again, the Rams shouldn’t have many troubles putting the ball in the air against the 27th ranked pass defense in terms of DVOA. While Cooper Kupp, Van Jefferson, and DeSean Jackson could all see action in the passing game, I’m officially labeling THIS as a Woods game.

Aaron Donald

If there’s one team that Aaron Donald loves terrorizing more than others, it’s the Seahawks. Donald has accumulated 87.5 sacks in his legendary career, with 13 of them coming against Seattle. His 13 sacks versus the Seahawks is the most he has against one team in the NFL.

Through the first four weeks, Donald has posted 17 combined tackles, three tackles for loss, two sacks, and a forced fumble. Just because he isn’t recording sacks in every game doesn’t mean he isn’t being his usual disruptive self this season.

On the other side of the field, Wilson has been sacked 11 times in the first four weeks. Wilson is fully aware of how dominant Donald can be and how he can single-handedly wreck a game from the interior. Even if Donald isn’t getting home to the quarterback, I expect others to benefit from Donald commanding so much attention from Seattle’s offensive line.

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