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Five matchups to watch: Seahawks vs. Rams
A look at the Seahawks’ Week 17 game against the St. Louis Rams at CenturyLink Field on Sunday, including five matchups that could impact the outcome:
When: Sunday, 1:25 p.m., CenturyLink Field
Records: Seahawks 12-3 after Sunday’s 17-10 to the Arizona Cardinals at CenturyLink Field; Rams 7-8 after Sunday’s 23-13 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in St. Louis
Playoff implications: The Seahawks will clinch the NFC West title, a first-round bye in the playoffs and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a victory, or go into the playoffs as a wild-card team if they lose to the Rams and the 49ers defeat the Cardinals in Arizona; the Rams were eliminated from the playoffs after their Dec. 8 loss to the Cardinals in Arizona
TV: FOX (Q/13), with Chris Myers, Tim Ryan and Jennifer Hale
Radio: 710 ESPN and 97.3 KIRO FM, with Steve Raible, Warren Moon and Jen Mueller
Rest of the West: 49ers (11-4) at Cardinals (10-5)
One to watch
Seahawks LT Russell Okung vs. Rams DE Robert Quinn: Quinn leads the NFL with 18 sacks and six forced fumbles on those sacks. He got to Wilson three times in the Week 8 game in St. Louis, but Okung didn’t play in that game because of a toe injury. Neither did right tackle Breno Giacomini, as Chris Long also collected three sacks from the other end position. Can one or two players make a difference? They're going to have to, especially Okung. Quinn is on a roll, as he’s coming off another three-sack performance against the Bucs last week. Wilson needs time to go through his progressions, and his tackles need to provide it against Quinn, Long and a pass rush that has produced 49 sacks.
Fun to watch
One tough task
Rams QB Kellen Clemens vs. the Seahawks’ No. 1-ranked defense: Clemens stepped in as the starter for the Week 8 game against the Seahawks in St. Louis, after Sam Bradford was lost for the season. The Rams have compensated by trying to run the ball more than they pass it. That has been the case in five of Clemens’ starts, when the Rams are 4-1. In the four games where they threw more than ran, the Rams are 0-4. You get the picture. The way to beat the Rams is to stop Zac Stacy, who had 134 yards in the Week 8 loss to the Seahawks; and force Clemens to make plays to win it. That won’t be easy against a Seahawks defense that leads the league in average yards (281.3) and passing yards (173.8) allowed, turnovers (37) and opposing QB passer rating (63.3). Mix in the din generated by the 12th Man at CenturyLink Field and it could be a long afternoon for Clemens.
The Seahawks lead the series 18-11, including a 16-6 victory in the 2010 regular-season finale that gave the Seahawks the division title and wins in 15 of the past 17 meetings. … The Seahawks have not scored more than 20 points against the Jeff Fisher-coached Rams, losing 19-13 in St. Louis and winning 20-13 in Seattle last season and winning 14-9 in Week 8 this season in St. Louis. … The Seahawks are five for 26 on third-down situations in their past two games. … The Rams’ Johnny Hekker leads the NFL in net punting average (43.8 yards). … Stacy needs 42 yards to become the third Rams rookie to rush for 1,000 in a season, joining Eric Dickerson (1,808 in 1983) and Jerome Bettis (1,429 in 1993). … MLB Bobby Wagner (107) and Thomas (98) lead the Seahawks in tackles.