The Los Angeles Rams will conclude the 2022 campaign with a road showdown against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. While the Rams have long been eliminated from playoff contention, the Seahawks have an opportunity to advance to the playoffs with a win over their NFC West rivals.
Besides a win, the Seahawks will need the Detroit Lions to either beat or tie the Green Bay Packers to secure a playoff spot. So even though the Rams aren’t going to have an opportunity to repeat as champions, they’ll be motivated to throw a wrench into the Seahawks’ plans of playing in the postseason.
Ahead of the regular-season finale versus the Seahawks, here are five players from the Rams to watch in Sunday’s contest.
Baker Mayfield will make his fifth appearance and his fourth straight start for the Rams on Sunday. Given the circumstances, Mayfield has been solid, completing 67 percent of his passes for 703 yards, four touchdowns, and an interception since joining the Rams.
With Mayfield set to hit free agency this upcoming offseason, this is his final chance to showcase what he can bring to a team in 2023. Sean McVay has raved about working with Mayfield since he arrived in Los Angeles, and if the former No. 1 pick has a strong outing in Week 18, he could earn himself another chance to start elsewhere next season.
At the trade deadline, it felt inevitable that Cam Akers would be on a new team before the end of the season. Fast forward to now and the third-year back has been one of the bright spots of the offense to finish the season.
While Akers has only 682 yards and seven touchdowns on 167 carries this season, he’s registered 408 yards and six touchdowns on 83 carries in his last five games alone. The Rams could undoubtedly look to add to the running back room this offseason, and Akers still unquestionably has some things to work on, but another productive showing against the No. 24 ranked rush DVOA defense on Sunday could be a step in the right direction for the 2023 season.
Bobby Wagner took all the talk about him being washed up personally this season as he put together an All-Pro-worthy campaign with the Rams. The 32-year-old linebacker has logged a team-high 133 tackles while recording a career-high six sacks with two interceptions.
When Wagner faced his former team for the first time in Week 13, he tallied seven combined tackles, two sacks, and an interception. Wagner has stated that it’d be great to knock his former team out of playoff contention on Sunday and there’s no doubt that he wants to finish the season on a positive note.
The Rams fell short of beating the Seahawks in Week 13 as Geno Smith connected with D.K. Metcalf with time ticking down while he was covered by Jalen Ramsey. Ramsey has gotten a ton of criticism this season amid a forgettable year for the Rams, but he’s still one of the premier cornerbacks in the NFL.
The Rams and Ramsey struggled to contain Metcalf and Tyler Lockett in the last meeting as those two combined for 17 receptions, 255 yards, and two touchdowns. The All-Pro cornerback has likely kept the last matchup in the back of his mind and is motivated to make sure that Metcalf and Lockett aren’t generating plays with ease in Week 18.
The pass-rushing department, specifically the edge rushers, have had an inconsistent year in 2022. Following the departure of Von Miller, Leonard Floyd became the experienced veteran in the pass-rusher room.
After a slow start where he had zero sacks in the first six games, Floyd has had a solid finish to the season with eight sacks and eight tackles for loss in his last 10 games. The veteran edge rusher is 1.5 sacks away from last season’s total and he’s in jeopardy of having the fewest sacks he’s had in a season since 2019, so he’ll be motivated to finish the season strong.