Having been made to watch the battle between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Jacksonville Jaguars last Thursday, this week’s meeting poses far more Super Bowl challenging potential, as the LA Rams visit the Seattle Seahawks.
The Rams had started off the season in stunning style, combining the passing ability of Matt Stafford with the offensive genius of Sean McVay to immediate and impressive affect as they opened the season with three wins from three.
This past weekend however, they were stunned by another NFC West team, the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals delivered a relentless first half that put them out of sight of LA to leave them on 3-1 as Stafford failed to really get going for the first time all season.
Their hosts for Thursday dragged themselves from the bottom of one of the toughest divisions in football on Sunday, as the Seahawks played fantastically to beat the 49ers in a tough slog of a match-up.
The result means that the Seahawks can now go level on 3-2 should they win on Thursday, which adds fuel to an already brightly glowing spot on the NFL schedule.
With all the attention on the return of Dak Prescott, the explosion of Derek Carr and the scorching heat of Kyler Murray’s form, Russell Wilsons’ record is once again hiding what has been an intensely productive start to the season.
The former Wisconsin Badger has produced a 72.3% completion rate, 1044 yards and a 9:0 touchdown-interception ratio in his four performances so far, which may have been pushed down peoples order of attention due to their 2-2 record.
Wilson has been consistently brilliant, in a team that has allowed 11 sacks on him so far, although based off of previous years performances, maybe surprise is the last emotion we should be feeling.
His opponent under centre on Thursday knows more than anyone what it feels like to fly under the radar despite possessing extreme talent, Stafford performed almost regular miracles during his time in Detroit, only to never get the credit he truly deserved.
Now as part of this explosive offense in California, people are really starting to take notice of 305.5 YPG through the air and a QB rating of 119, numbers that any of the quarterbacks would be doing well to possess through four weeks.
Cupp vs Lockett
When you think of the NFL’s top receivers, the same few names usually pop to mind, but if you were to judge players based off their pure importance to their respected franchises, you would struggle to find two more important than Cooper Kupp and Tyler Lockett.
Cooper Kupp had already become a fantastic safety net in the Jared Goff era of Rams football, but the way that he has already settled so quickly with Stafford is something to behold.
Outside of a generally disappointing performance against the Cardinals from the whole Rams team, Kupp has had a majestic opening to the year with 431 yards receiving on 30 grabs, and a league leading, five touchdowns.
As well as the stats, Kupp turns up his absolute best on third-down, working ways to break free of tight man coverage with his short area quickness and route running ability, or by finding holes in zone coverage for his QB to make easy throws to.
Tyler Lockett on the other hand offers something slightly different yet equally as impressive to his Seahawks, having posted 28 touchdowns across the last three seasons.
Like Kupp, Lockett’s route running makes him a tricky prospect both in the slot and on the outside, and don’t let Lockett get over the top either, his balance and body control on contested catches in the end zone are as good as you’ll see in the NFL.
This game is the next instalment in one of the most incredible divisions in football history, four teams that all legitimately can and maybe will go to the playoffs.
The Rams are looking to recover from their off-day against the Cardinals, and with an offence and defence that has both the names and the coaching to be top level, they look a difficult prospect to beat.
For the Seahawks, one of the major factors will be whether DK Metcalf can get the best of Jalen Ramsey. The highly-paid cornerback will likely follow the Ole Miss alum all over the field, and if Metcalf does a good enough distracting Ramsey, Lockett and co may just get the chance to feast.
If you couldn’t tell already, I think it will be close.
Los Angeles 24, Seattle 23