The Seahawks host the Rams in a Week-18 game that is a must win for their playoff hopes. To help you get ready for this week's regular-season finale, we reached out to therams.com staff writer Stu Jackson with five questions about this week's opponent:
This is not where the Rams, or just about anyone else thought they'd be heading into Week 18. Are the Rams embracing the spoiler role against a division opponent, treating it as just another game to try to build for the future, or as a chance to finish on a high note etc.?
Jackson: It's pretty much all of the above. They're continuing to evaluate several of the young players on their roster, and with this being the final game of their 2022 season, it's the last chance to do so before heading into the offseason. Ending the season with a win would make for a positive transition into the offseason as well.
I know Bobby Wagner has already faced his former team once this season—and he played a hell of a game—but how is he approaching a return to Lumen Field?
Jackson: Wagner said "it's a lot of emotions" leading into Sunday's return to Seattle, but he's taking an approach similar to what he took when the Seahawks played the Rams in Los Angeles earlier this month, in terms of controlling his emotions during the week. Wagner did say being in a position to spoil the Seahawks playoff hopes "is always a good position, something worth playing for," so that spoiler role is one he seems to be embracing. Along those lines, fellow linebacker and teammate Ernest Jones said he wanted to win this game for Wagner.
At the same time, Wagner also said Seattle "became his second home" and was where he grew up, in terms of being on his own and making his own decisions, and the love from there is what he appreciates the most.
The Rams have a new quarterback since these teams met in Week 13, what has Baker Mayfield brough to the team and the offense in his short time there?
Jackson: His personality – specifically his swagger and energy – has been something that has resonated with teammates. His command and ability to see the field have also been important when it comes to the execution of the offense since he arrived.
Aside from the more obvious big names, what player or players could be an X-factor in this game?
Jackson: Defensive lineman-turned-outside linebacker Michael Hoecht has helped re-energize the Rams' pass rush and has a chance to make an impact. Defensive back Cobie Durant's performance against the Broncos showed his playmaking capabilities and is also someone to watch for. On offense, wide receiver Van Jefferson has been a reliable target for Mayfield and on the other end of explosive plays in the passing game.
What matchups or matchups are you most looking forward to seeing play out on Sunday?
Jackson: The Rams' run defense vs. Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker III. Walker exited the first game between the two teams with an ankle injury, so now that he's healthy, I'm looking forward to that battle between Walker, one of the NFL's most productive and explosive rushers this season, and a Rams run defense that has held its own for most of the season.
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.