The Los Angeles Rams will attempt to extend their season another week when they visit the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday afternoon in the wild-card round. After splitting the season series 1-1, this acts as a rubber match between the top two teams in the NFC West.
The Rams enter as underdogs on the road and they still don’t know who their starting quarterback will be. But Seattle hasn’t exactly been a world-beater in the second half of the season, sputtering before winning four straight to close out the year.
Hera are seven stats and facts to know for Sunday’s postseason matchup at Lumen Field.
Second playoff meeting between Rams and Seahawks
The Rams and Seahawks have squared off 45 times in the regular season, with Seattle holding a 25-20 edge. But in the playoffs, the Rams are 1-0 against Seattle. That lone meeting came in 2004 when the Rams beat the Seahawks 27-20 in the wild-card round, completing a three-game sweep of Seattle that year. This is also Sean McVay’s first time facing an NFC West team in the playoffs, so that will be something new for the young head coach.
Leonard Floyd has five sacks vs. Seahawks this season
Floyd must have been thrilled to learn the Rams would face the Seahawks in the first round of the playoffs. In two games against Seattle this season, Floyd has five sacks – nearly half his total of 10.5 on the year. What’s even harder to believe is that his five sacks against Seattle are more than he had in any of his previous three seasons. And it’s not as if Russell Wilson is the easiest quarterback to sack, either.
Seahawks haven't allowed more than 23 points or 300 yards passing since Week 9
In the beginning of the season, the Seahawks pass defense was on pace to be one of the worst in NFL history. But they’ve since turned things around and become a quality defense capable of slowing down opponents. Since Week 9, the Seahawks haven't allowed more than 23 points or a 300-yard passer. It helps that they’ve faced the likes of Sam Darnold, Carson Wentz, Colt McCoy and Dwayne Haskins in that stretch, but they also shut down the Rams and slowed the Cardinals, too.
Russell Wilson had twice as many TDs as Jared Goff on only 6 more attempts
Wilson was an MVP candidate for the first half of the season, but he slowed down in the second half as the Seahawks became more run-heavy. But he still put together a remarkable season, throwing 40 touchdown passes with 13 interceptions and 4,212 yards. He attempted 558 passes and completed 384, which is just six more pass attempts than Goff had in 15 games. Yet Wilson threw 20 more touchdown passes and had the same number of interceptions with 260 more yards.
Rams defense led NFL in scoring, yards
Put simply, there was no better defense this season than the Rams’. After stonewalling the Cardinals and allowing just seven points on 214 total yards, the Rams jumped to first in scoring defense and first in yards allowed. It’s the fourth time they’ve led the NFL in total yards allowed. They also ranked second in sacks, first in passing yards, third in third-down defense and third in rushing yards allowed per game.
Sean McVay is 5-3 vs. Seahawks
This will be McVay’s ninth game against the Seahawks, a team he’s had success against in the last four years. He’s 5-3 against Seattle, including 2-1 in the last three. He lost his first game against the Seahawks back in 2017, but the Rams’ loss to Seattle in Week 16 this season was the first time L.A. has lost by more than six points to its division rival. Scoring typically isn't an issue for the Rams against the Seahawks, either. In all but two games, they scored at least 23 points, including four straight games with at least 30 points scored.
Seahawks struggle on third down, just as Rams do in red zone
Both teams have their share of weaknesses. Seattle’s comes on third down, where it ranks 20th offensively and 27th on defense. The Rams’ biggest issues are in the red zone, ranking 19th in touchdown percentage offensively and 12th on defense. These are always two areas that can decide the outcome of a game. If the Rams can't turn red zone trips into touchdowns, they’ll fall behind on the scoreboard, just as they did against the Seahawks and Jets in Weeks 15 and 16. And by the same token, if Seattle can't convert on third down, its defense could become gassed if forced onto the field often.