Congratulations if you had the Seattle Seahawks and the St. Louis Rams as the only head to head showdown for a division title when the league released the schedule pitting all division opponents in week 17. Bonus points if you had them both with a losing record entering the showdown game.
History is on the line tonight, as no team has ever reached the playoffs in a non-strike year with a losing record (In 1982, 8 of the 14 conference teams made the playoffs because of the shortened season). However, 38 other teams have made the playoffs while getting outscored for the season. The previous low in point differential was the 2004 St. Louis Rams at -73, but if Seattle makes it, they would be below that unless they win in a blowout by more than 34 points.
Seattle has home field advantage, while the Rams have been in relatively better form of late. The Seahawks have only won two games in the last nine, and those were over Arizona and at home against Carolina. The Rams have won 3 of their last 5, and have been reasonably competitive all year with the exception of the 44-6 loss at Detroit. Neither team has a particularly dynamic offense and both rank near the bottom of the league in yards per play both rushing and passing. The difference is the Rams pass defense, which is the one above average phase in this game.
I’ll take the Rams to win on the road tonight, and finally end the Seahawks’ run (waddle? crawl?) to the playoffs. Nothing would surprise me, though.
[photo via Getty]