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St. Louis Rams vs. Seattle Seahawks: Breaking Down Seattle's Game Plan

Marlon Maloney@@marlonmaloneyCorrespondent IDecember 24, 2014

ST. LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 19:  Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks runs with the ball against the St. Louis Rams in the fourth quarter at the Edward Jones Dome on October 19,  2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Rams defeated the Seahawks 28-26.  (Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images)
Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images

Though all but one playoff team is decided on, there is still plenty at stake for NFC teams. While the Seattle Seahawks (11-4) currently sit atop the conference after their dominant victory over the Arizona Cardinals last week, the No. 1 seed is far from locked up.

A Seattle win over the St. Louis Rams (6-9) would give the team home-field advantage through the playoffs, but another slip-up against its divisional foes would be like opening Pandora's box. The Seattle Times breaks down all the playoff scenarios quite well.

The Rams' season is over, but they have played teams hard with the exception of last week. After shutting out back-to-back opponents and allowing just 12 points the following week, St. Louis gave up a whopping 37 points to the New York Giants in Week 16.

The Rams will be looking to finish the season on a high note, especially following their rare defensive lapse. St. Louis beat the Seahawks in Week 7 28-26, utilizing special teams trickery and a strong rushing attack.

Assuming the Seahawks are better prepared to handle any special teams surprises the Rams might have had planned, the flow of this game should change drastically.

Rams and Seahawks NFL Ranks
St. Louis RamsCategorySeattle Seahawks
319.3 (25th)Total Offense377.2 (9th)
21.2 (19th)Scoring Offense24.9 (11th)
213.1 (24th)Passing Offense201.9 (29th)
7.2 (16th)Yards Per Attempt7.6 (t-8th)
106.2 (19th)Rushing Offense175.3 (1st)
4.2 (14th)Yards Per Attempt5.4 (1st)
36.1 (26th)3rd-Down Percentage42.1 (11th)
351.5 (18th)Total Defense268.6 (1st)
22.3 (14th)Scoring Defense16.5 (1st)
242.6 (19th)Passing Defense184.5 (1st)
7.5 (21st)Yards Per Attempt6.3 (4th)
108.9 (14th)Rushing Defense84.1 (3rd)
4.2 (16th)Yards Per Attempt3.5 (2nd)
37.9 (13th)3rd-Down Percentage37.9 (14th)
Source: NFL.com

On Defense 

The Seahawks had a strong game plan the first go-round for these teams, limiting the Rams to 275 yards of offense. However, the emergence of Tre Mason began in that game, with him rushing for 85 yards on 18 carries. 

Running the ball should be the Rams' best method of ball movement against an increasingly stingy Seattle defense. St. Louis has not been overpowering on the ground, but it is an area in which it can win some battles. 

Austin Davis will not be behind center in this one, as second-stringer Shaun Hill is back in the lineup and is a more dangerous passing threat. Though Davis threw for two touchdowns and had just three incompletions in the first game, his play regressed the more games he played.

There's less concern of the quarterback running with the ball, but Hill is more consistently accurate and has thrown two touchdowns in three of his last four games. With the Seahawks having racked up 20 sacks in the last five games, they'll be key to knocking the more stationary Hill out of rhythm and forcing some incompletions.

The linebackers will need to step up in coverage to stop the Rams from completing dump-off passes and screen plays for big gains to bail themselves out of bad down-and-distance situations. 

L.G. Patterson/Associated Press

On Offense

Russell Wilson posted a dominant performance during these teams' first meeting, throwing for more than 300 yards and rushing for more than 100. The Rams would not allow Marshawn Lynch any room to run in the game, limiting him to just over 50 yards rushing.

The strong run-stopping effort in the game appears to mostly have been an anomaly, as teams have regularly rushed for more than 100 yards against the Rams this season. I'd expect to see a very similar game plan to the one we just saw last week against the Arizona Cardinals being employed: lots of short passes and rollouts for deeper throws combined with a commitment to the running game.

St. Louis will likely have a spy on Russell Wilson to stop him from taking off so often, but teams have typically failed to contain him for a complete game.

The first meeting was the first game following the trade of Percy Harvin, and the Seahawks offense has become much more crisp since then. Still, stopping Robert Quinn and the St. Louis defensive line will be a major test.

St. Louis entered the game with only one sack and left it with four. By utilizing short dropbacks and rollouts, the offensive line should be able to do a better job of blocking, but you never can be sure what performance you'll get from this offensive line. 

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