Thank you Rams owner Stan Kroenke! I was struggling to think of a creative story angle for what looks like a pretty lame Thursday night matchup this week between NFC West rivals Los Angeles and Seattle. I doubt this one is very stylistically pretty and the Seahawks are massive favorites.
But Kroenke made the big NFL news of Monday by firing Coach Jeff Fisher, something that was at least a season too late. Here I thought we were actually going to make it through a rare season where no coach was fired. Look, I don't wish anyone to lose their job, but Fisher was basically stealing his owner's money. And, frankly, it's like he was asking for this. Fisher has been feuding publicly with Rams legend Eric Dickerson, who said he would never again go to a Rams game in person while Fisher was the coach. A couple of games ago, Fisher couldn't even find the challenge flag in his big puffy winter coat.
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Kroenke is one of the richest men in the United States, so he can do what he wants. But why on earth did he give multi-million dollar extensions through 2018 to Fisher and GM Les Snead? That happened before the season started but didn't leak out until earlier this month. I'm not sure if Snead keeps his job after the season, either, although I don't see why he would.
I'm guessing some of the sportsbooks listed at Doc's like Bovada will offer a prop on the next Rams coach and I'll probably touch on that on my Friday NFL news update story. I've already heard Jim Harbaugh's name mentioned. That would be just the sort of buzz and credibility this franchise needs in Hollywood, and Harbaugh would immediately become the biggest sports personality in that town now that Kobe Bryant is retired. But I see no way he leaves his alma mater Michigan after just two years and on the verge of creating a superpower. I suppose if Kroenke throws $15 million a year at Harbaugh maybe he takes the call. Frankly, his brother John is more likely. He can opt out of his contract with the Ravens and it might be time for him to leave if Baltimore misses the playoffs again. You will surely head Jon Gruden's name too.
The Rams did Fisher a huge favor in a way as he has lost 165 games, tying Dan Reeves for the most by a coach in NFL history. Unless Fisher buys his own team somehow, he's not going to be an NFL head coach again so at least he's not the sole record-holder. Fisher had 45 losses since joining the Rams in 2012; only Jacksonville's Gus Bradley with 47 had more, and Bradley will be joining Fisher in looking for work after the regular season. The interim Rams coach is special teams coordinator John Fassel.
Rams at Seahawks Betting Story Lines
Los Angeles (4-9) dropped its fourth straight game Sunday, and it sure looks like the players quit in a 42-14 home defeat to Atlanta. The Falcons didn't have an injured Julio Jones yet still jumped out to a 42-0 lead after three quarters. They could have won 60-0 if they wanted. Jared Goff simply doesn't look like an NFL quarterback yet as he threw two more picks and the Rams turned it over five times. The Rams have to hire an offensive head coach to work with Goff.
Todd Gurley, held under 100 yards for the 20th time in the past 21 games (hope he wasn't your fantasy football first-round pick), said the Rams "looked like a middle school offense." Indeed, I'd take offense to that if I was a middle school as the Rams have five TDs at home this year. Atlanta had six on Sunday. Los Angeles is last in the NFL in first downs, yards and points per game. It's a shame because the defense has some major talent, but that side has totally mailed it in by allowing 116 points in the past three games. Did I mention the Rams owe their 2017 first-round pick to Tennessee? And third-rounder?
I actually expected Green Bay to beat visiting Seattle (8-4-1) on Sunday, but certainly not a 38-10 smackdown. It was easily the Seahawks' worst all-around game under Pete Carroll. In fact, they hadn't lost any game, regular season or playoffs, by more than 10 points since Russell Wilson entered the NFL. That's pretty amazing. It was Seattle's biggest margin of defeat since losing to the Giants 41-7 on Nov. 7, 2010. Wilson had his worst game, too, throwing a career-high five interceptions. I think the offense will be just fine, but that defense doesn't look the same without Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas, who broke his leg in Week 13. Aaron Rodgers had a passer rating of 150.3, the highest mark of any quarterback against Seattle since Carroll became the coach in 2010.
The Seahawks dropped down to the NFC's No. 3 seed with that loss. They aren't catching No. 1 Dallas (11-2), but I think Detroit (9-4) will lose at least once more with Matthew Stafford suffering a finger injury on Sunday. Seattle should win out as it also hosts Arizona on Christmas Eve and closes at San Francisco. The Lions might lose out as they visit the Giants this Sunday, go to Dallas and close at home vs. Green Bay.
Rams at Seahawks Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes , Seattle is a 16.5-point favorite (+105) with a total of 38. I believe that's the highest opening spread and lowest total of the season at the site. On the moneyline, the Seahawks are -1000 and Rams +650. On the alternate lines, Seattle is -16 (+100), -15.5 (-105) and -15 (-110).
Los Angeles is 4-8-1 against the spread (3-4 on road) and 5-8 "over/under" (3-4 on road). Seattle is 7-6 ATS (4-2 at home) and 7-6 O/U (4-2 at home). The Rams are 2-7 ATS in their past nine vs. teams with a winning record. They are 1-5-1 ATS in their past seven after a loss. The Seahawks have covered six in a row on Thursday. They are 19-7 ATS in their past 26 following a loss. The under is 7-0 in L.A.'s past seven vs. the NFC West. It's 9-3 in Seattle's past 12 against teams with a losing record. The home team is 6-1 ATS in the past seven meetings. The under is 4-0 in the past four in Seattle.
Rams at Seahawks Betting Prediction
For reasons I can't really explain, the Rams have often given the Seahawks fits the past few years and in fact have won the past three meetings. In Week 2 in the NFL's first regular-season game back in L.A., the Rams won 9-3 -- one of two victories for them this year without a touchdown. Wilson was still pretty banged up back then and didn't do much. Case Keenum was L.A.'s quarterback. I see no shot for the Rams to win this game, but I'll take 16.5 points whenever offered in an NFL game. Go under that small total as I see something like 24-10.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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