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The Opposing View: An Insider's Look At The Seahawks' Week 1 Opponent, The LA Rams

Five questions from; five answers from Rams senior writer Stuart Jackson.


The Seahawks open the 2023 season at Lumen Field on Sunday, an NFC West clash against the Los Angeles Rams. After a tough 2022 season that saw them finish with a 5-12 record, the Rams made significant changes to their roster and will come to Seattle with one of the league's youngest team, but also some veteran star power from the likes of quarterback Matthew Stafford and defensive lineman Aaron Donald. To learn more about this week's opponent, we reached out with to Rams senior writer Stuart Jackson with five questions about the Rams.

The Seahawks need only look back to their 2022 season to know that outside expectations don't determine a team's fate. With that in mind, how are Sean McVay and the Rams embracing the challenge of this season when a lot of folks are counting them out?

Jackson: Mainly by focusing on themselves and not the external narrative, or as McVay said back in the spring during one of the first team meetings of the offseason program, the importance of "being inside-out and not outside-in." There's plenty of internal drive and motivation for them to take on that challenge without the influence of external factors.

With Cooper Kupp sidelined by a hamstring injury, who needs to step up at receiver?

Jackson: McVay ruled out Kupp on Wednesday. It's hard to replace him with just one player, so it will take a collective effort between Van Jefferson, Ben Skowronek, Tutu Atwell, Demarcus Robinson and rookie Puka Nacua.

There are a lot of new faces on defense around Aaron Donald, how is that unit looking after an offseason of change?

Jackson: The return of defensive back John Johnson III toward the end of training camp for his second stint with the team gave the secondary a veteran presence, and the signing of Ahkello Witherspoon this summer also provided another experienced defensive back. Third-year inside linebacker Ernest Jones is mature beyond his years and his teammates voted him a captain for the first time this year. Outside linebacker had the most turnover when comparing this year's initial 53-man roster to last year and is the most inexperienced group. That said, it's a young but hungry group overall eager to prove itself.

What players could be an X-factor for the Rams this week?

Jackson: I'll go with the starting offensive line. Given the well-documented amount of injuries the Rams experienced at that position last year, a strong start from their best five will be important for setting the tone not only in Week 1, but the rest of the season as they try to better protect quarterback Matthew Stafford.

What matchup are you most looking forward to seeing play out on Sunday?

Jackson: I'm most looking forward to seeing who matches up with DK Metcalf. Even when Jalen Ramsey played "star" – the hybrid nickel defensive back position on the Rams' defense – he still matched up with Metcalf a few times in those games. Size-wise, the Rams don't have a defensive back similar to Ramsey on their roster, so I'm curious to see how they'll handle that matchup against a big-bodied receiver.

The Seahawks and Rams face off for the first game of the regular season on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023. Kickoff is set for 1:25 p.m. PT. Take a look back through history at the Seahawks' matchups against the Rams.

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