Week 5 of the NFL season kicks off with a high-profile divisional showdown on Thursday Night Football. After a handful of mediocre TNF matchups to begin the season, this week’s showdown between the Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks should be a doozy. Both teams are in the thick of the best division in football and have their sights set on tracking down a playoff spot. There are literally no weeks off for the NFC West Division, making Thursday’s game very important for both squads. The NFL betting odds have labeled the road team as a short favorite ahead of this matchup.
Opening Lines: Rams -1; O/U 53
Current Lines: Rams -2.5; O/U 54.5
Location: Lumen Field — Seattle, WA
Start Time: 8:20 p.m. EDT
TV: FOX, NFL Network, Amazon Prime
Last Meeting: January 9, 2021 — The Rams defeated the Seahawks 30-20 in an NFC Wild Card playoff game in Seattle.
It was only a week ago that the Rams were the toast of the NFL betting world. After taking it to the defending Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, L.A. was sitting at 3-0 and had made their claim as a legitimate championship contender. Then the Rams got run out of the building by the NFC West rival Arizona Cardinals last week. A few costly mistakes early put Los Angeles behind the eight-ball. After that, they were never able to recover. Admittedly, it was rather concerning to see Kyler Murray and the Cardinals take it to the star-studded Rams defense. While the Rams did record three sacks as a team, they also allowed a season-high 37 points and 465 yards of offense. Per Football Outsiders, Los Angeles quietly is only ranked 20th in adjusted defensive efficiency through four weeks of play.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford did not play badly in the Week 4 loss, throwing for 280 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He was also intercepted once. After a one-game absence due to injury, Darrell Henderson returned to lead the Rams’ backfield with 89 yards rushing. It was also interesting to see Van Jefferson lead all receivers with 90 yards and a score on six receptions. It was certainly a quieter week for Cooper Kupp than what we saw in the first three games.
The Seahawks managed to rebound from a two-game losing skid last week by dispatching another NFC West rival in the San Francisco 49ers. Several NFL betting analysts have argued this week that the result of that Week 4 tilt was less about what the Seahawks did than what the 49ers failed to do. It certainly helped that Seattle was able to go up against rookie quarterback Trey Lance after 49ers starter Jimmy Garoppolo exited with an injury. Even so, they allowed Lance to throw a pair of TD passes, including a bomb to Deebo Samuel on a horrendous busted coverage by the secondary. The Seahawks will have to be more disciplined defensively against the high-powered Rams offense in this Thursday night matchup.
.@DangeRussWilson hit 'em with the razzle dazzle 💫🙌
WE LOVE TO SEE IT
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) October 3, 2021
While the Seahawks scored four touchdowns in the Week 4 victory, it was still a rather lackluster effort offensively. Russell Wilson only had 149 yards passing for the game to go along with three total TDs. DK Metcalf received one of those scores as part of a 65-yard receiving day to lead the team. Meanwhile, Chris Carson was a major disappointment running the football. In fact, backup Alex Collins proved to be much more efficient and was the back to find the end zone. The Seahawks’ offensive line got manhandled in a big way by the 49ers’ defensive front. Wilson was under constant duress, especially early on, and was sacked three times. While Wilson was able to pull off some incredible escape artist maneuvers last week, the offensive line will need to be a whole lot better this Thursday if Seattle hopes to spring an upset.
- The Rams are 2-2 ATS and 4-0 to the over this season.
- The Seahawks are 2-2 ATS and 1-3 to the over this season.
- Each of the Rams’ last six games has gone over the total.
- Seahawks are just 2-4 ATS in their last six games.
- Rams are 4-1 ATS in their last five head-to-head matchups against the Seahawks.
Neither the Rams nor the Seahawks played a great game last week. It just so happened that Seattle managed to escape with a win despite being dominated in the box score. Look for both sides to show up for a fight this Thursday night, especially considering the massive implications of this Week 5 game within the NFC West Division.
I am actually leaning towards a contrarian play for a game pick and taking under the total of 54.5. This line has edged up a point and a half from the opening number. Based on what we saw last week, it makes sense. The Rams’ D has been rather disappointing thus far, especially in last week’s home loss. Meanwhile, the Seahawks’ defense is not exactly great either. Coming into this matchup, the Rams rank 18th in scoring defense, allowing 24.8 points per game. The Seahawks are a tad worse at 19th, allowing 25.0 per contest. However, this is a short week for both offenses to prepare for what is always a tightly contested divisional affair.
History certainly supports a play to the under on 54.5 total points. The last four head-to-head matchups between the two sides have stayed under the number. Of the four, only last year’s playoff game exceeded 40 total points scored. Look for both defenses to play with plenty of passion on Thursday night.
Pick: Under 54.5
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