Greetings from Century Link Field, where the Seahawks host the St. Louis Rams tonight – with kickoff and televised coverage on ESPN and JoeTV (channel 10 in Seattle) set for 5:20 p.m.
With apologies to Hank Williams, Jr., are you ready for some football? “Monday Night Football” style, that is, and for the first time since 2007 for the Seahawks. The 5-7 Seahawks and 2-10 Rams have taken their share of distain for being paired in this primetime matchup, but the Seahawks have plenty to play for.
With a win, they’ll be one step closer to being .500 for the first time since they were 4-4 last season.
A victory also would allow them to match the second-best start to a second half (4-1) in franchise history. And, it also would improve their winning percentage (.667) on “Monday Night Football,” the best in the history of the primetime series.
Marshawn Lynch, meanwhile, is looking to continue his run into the record books. He’s on pace for his first 1,000-yard rushing season since 2008, while playing for the Bills; and the Seahawks’ first since Shaun Alexander in 2005, when he led the NFL in rushing and was the league MVP.
With a touchdown, Lynch will tie Alexander’s record from ’05 for most consecutive games with a score (nine).
There’s also that hope-of-hopes dangling out there for the Seahawks, because if they run the table against the Rams, Bears, 49ers and Cardinals they could make the playoffs at 9-7. But that’s getting way ahead of the task at hand.
For any of the above to mean anything, the Seahawks need to win this very-winnable game. And to do that, they’ll have to brace for a steady diet of Steven Jackson, the battering-Ram of a back who never has run for 100 yards against the Seahawks. He should get ample opportunity tonight because the Rams’ QB will be either sore-ankled Sam Bradford or making-his-first-NFL-start Tom Brandstater.
On offense, sore-shouldered Tarvaris Jackson is feeling better than he has at any time since straining the pectoral in his throwing shoulder in the Week 5 upset of the Giants. So the Seahawks should be able to exploit a Rams secondary that is, well, they’ve placed six cornerbacks on injured reserve. But every time Jackson drops back to pass, it will mean blocking Rams defensive end Chris Long, who has nine of his 12 sacks in the past six games. And they’ll be doing it with either left tackle Paul McQuistan, who’s subbing for Russell Okung; or right tackle Breno Giacomini, who’s subbing for James Carpenter.
This brings us back to Lynch, who seems to shine when the lights come on. He had season-highs in yards (148) and touchdowns (two) in the Thursday night victory over the Eagles here on Dec. 1, and we all remember what happened in the wild-card playoff win over the defending Super Bowl champion Saints last January.
So settle in of this clear but chilly evening and enjoy the football world joining us in Seattle.