Los Angeles Rams vs. Seattle Seahawks Preview (9/10/23): Prediction, Betting Odds, Depth Chart, Best Bets
Say goodbye to your Sundays – NFL Week 1 is officially here. Among many great matchups this week is an NFC West battle between the Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams, both of whom have seen the highs and lows of football over the last two seasons.
Both the Rams and the Hawks should be entering this game with a chip on their shoulder. Geno Smith will look to prove his Comeback Player of The Year status is more than just a one-year miracle while the Rams try to repair a damaged reputation. Here is everything you need to know about this game from predictions, odds, picks, injuries, and depth charts.
Los Angeles Rams vs. Seattle Seahawks Preview & Prediction
Rams vs. Seahawks Best Bet: Seahawks -4.5
There is a lot to unpack about both of these teams and a fair amount of pressure riding on both of them despite their drastically different seasons last year.
The Rams became a laughing stock of sorts in the league last year after only winning five games following a Super Bowl-winning season the year before. Things weren’t working, and they seemed to be faced with a key injury every week. No position group was hit harder than their offensive line, which completely fell apart; the unit gave up 59 sacks across 10 different linemen on the year. Outside of that, Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp were sidelined for virtually half the season but even when healthy, they weren’t producing the same results. To top it off – despite using almost 50% of their cap space to bolster their defense, they ranked in the bottom half of the league in 12 key defensive categories.
The good news for them is that it’s a new year, key players are healthy, and the offseason brought some big additions that should help to fill in some weak spots. Most notably is the addition of their second-round pick Steve Avila, who should help to strengthen a weak interior offensive line. The Rams also picked up five defensive linemen in the draft this year, so hopefully at least one of them can step up and complement Aaron Donald.
Matthew Stafford is ready to roll, but he is without his favorite target in Week 1 as Cooper Kupp is still working through a hamstring injury sustained in early August. His absence will likely be a big factor in this game, especially against a strong Seattle secondary. Cam Akers may see a fair amount of time in the backfield this week as a result and Seattle’s run defense is easily exploitable which bodes well for him.
The Hawks did a lot to impress last year, having one of the most surprising seasons of any team in the league. Geno Smith led the team to the playoffs with 30 touchdown passes and a league-high 99 deep ball passer rating and 69.8% completion rate. Rookies Kenneth Walker and Tariq Woolen exceeded expectations in their respective positions as well. If not for Seattle’s run defense – which was arguably the worst in the league – last year’s Hawks team would have been one of the most well-rounded teams of the 2023 season. The Hawks offseason did see Bobby Wagner return home, so the front seven got a boost there and a few solid draft picks should provide more depth to this thinning group. The Rams don’t have a particularly potent run game to really test whether or not Seattle has improved hugely here, but this will be something to watch this season.
Seattle had a successful draft, picking up top prospects Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Devon Witherspoon, both of which will complement already-strong position groups. Smith-Njigba joins DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, solidifying a wide receiving trio while Witherspoon joins Woolen, Quandre Diggs, and (eventually) Jamal Adams in the secondary.
Kenneth Walker took off halfway through the season last year and is positioned to fall comfortably into the RB1 role and exploit a questionable Rams defensive line this week. Second-round pick Zach Charbonnet is a solid RB2 option as well.
The spread on this game has moved throughout the week and the Seahawks are now a 4.5 to 5.5-point favorite. With Cooper Kupp out, it seems likely that Seattle can win by at least one touchdown in this game. Seattle has covered in three straight season openers and has started the year 1-0 for four years straight, which is the second-longest active streak in the NFL currently. Take the Seahawks to cover the spread here at home.
Los Angeles Rams vs. Seattle Seahawks Betting Odds
Odds have shifted a bit since the opening lines of this game and you can now find Seattle as 4.5 to 5-point home favorites in this game. Scores between these two squads last year came within three and four points of each other with the Hawks winning both games but failing to cover the spreads. Most sportsbooks have the over/under somewhere between 45 and 46 points.
Los Angeles Rams vs. Seattle Seahawks Key Matchups
Check out the key matchups and mismatches for the Rams vs. Seahawks game below.
The Seahawks OL vs. the Rams Defensive Front
The success of Seattle’s offensive line this season will hinge largely on the development (or lack thereof) of second-year tackles Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas. Their production sloped off in the back half of the season last year but they still have a lot of potential. The interior linemen on the other hand are not super reliable and pending Aaron Donald and company’s game plan, Geno Smith could be under a lot of pressure in this game.
That being said, Donald desperately needed help last year and didn’t get much. With the addition of five linemen in this year’s draft, most notably Kobie Turner and Byron Young, he may have more help up front to capitalize on a weak Seattle offensive line. Cross and Lucas have a good matchup here.
Matthew Stafford vs. Seahawks Secondary
Stafford is a solid pocket passer but the deep ball is not his friend. In throws over 20 yards last year, he had a 28% completion rate. Coupled with not having his wingman Cooper Kupp and having to rely on Van Jefferson or Tutu Atwell in downfield situations, this could be a perfect storm when matched with this Seattle secondary.
While Seattle will be without Jamal Adams for this game, there is still plenty of talent left between Tariq Woolen, Quandre Diggs, Devon Witherspoon, and Cobe Bryant. If the front seven can apply pressure early and often to a depleted offensive line and force Stafford to throw the ball, Seattle wins the battle down the stretch.