Free NFL Pick: St. Louis at Seattle 01-02-2011

January 2, 2011

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St. Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks

Sunday January 2nd, 2011 8:20 PM EST

Line: St. Louis -3

Overview:

This is the only matchup that is truly a survive and advance game. The NFC West is so weak, that a team with a 7-9 record could still go to the playoffs if Seattle comes out on top. The Rams have won three of their last five games. Will they be able to go on the road to Qwest field with a rookie quarterback and come away with a victory to send them to the playoffs?

This is being considered a play in game. These two teams will battle it out for the opportunity to get smashed in the first round of the playoffs on National television. Even so, the division has to produce a playoff team. This is the featured game on Sunday Night. Who would have thought looking at the schedule that the fate of the entire division would hang on the last game of the season?

Keys to the Game:

  • The 49ers shut down Steven Jackson last week, limiting him to 48 yards on 24 carries. The Rams might not necessarily deserve a spot in the playoffs, but Jackson certainly does. He has been the one constant in the organization during the rebuilding process. Look for him to have a big game as the Rams try to claw their way to a division championship. The playoffs are right at his fingertips and it is likely that he will have an impressive performance to finish off the regular season.
  • The Rams need to know where Chris Clemons is at all times. He is a double digit sack artist, who has tallied three of his 10.5 sacks in his last four games. The last thing the Rams want is to start piling up mistakes at Qwest field. It’s going to be loud and though Sam Bradford has had a phenomenal rookie campaign, he is still a rookie. Handling the crowd noise, which will be especially loud given the circumstances, is going to be a difficult task in itself.

Key Matchup:

Matt Hasselbeck or Charlie Whitehurst Vs. Sam Bradford

  • Hasslebeck is a game time decision at this point. He has had a terrible season and will look to salvage this season by playing hurt on Sunday. If he cannot go, Charlie Whitehurst will be given the nod. Whitehurst is erratic and prone to mistakes. Seattle is hoping for a speedy recvoery, but they are not sure how he is going to hold hp.
  • Sam Bradford is having a great season. If he could take the Rams to the playoffs, his rookie campaign will go down as one of the greatest team transformations a rookie quarterback has ever been a part of. He single handedly brought the Rams back into relevancy. You want to still be playing in mid January in this league. Bradford needs to remain level headed on the road and lead his team to victory, as he has already done seven times this season.

Wrap Up:

This will be an exciting game, just because of what is at stake. The Seahawks have too many quarterback questions headed in to be taken seriously. I like the Rams in this one to win by six or so. The Seahawks aren’t going to go quietly, but I see the Rams making more mistakes than the Seahawks.

Free NFL Pick: St. Louis -3


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