Rams at Seahawks: Who has the edge?

RAMS (5-11) AT SEAHAWKS (8-8)

When: Sunday, 1:25 p.m.

Where: Lumen Field, Seattle

TV/Radio: FOX (Ch. 11)/710 AM; 93.1 FM; 1330 AM (Spanish); Sirius 121, 384

Line: Seahawks by 6

Notable injury designations: Rams: DL Aaron Donald (out; ankle), C Brian Allen (out; calf), S Nick Scott (out; shoulder), WR Ben Skowronek (out; calf). Seahawks: WR Tyler Lockett (questionable; shin), OG Damien Lewis (questionable; ankle), RB Travis Homer (doubtful; ankle), S Ryan Neal (questionable; knee)

What’s at stake? Revenge for Bobby Wagner and spoiling the Seahawks’ playoff hopes. Wagner referred to the Seahawks earlier this week as the team that gave up on him. With the Seahawks needing a win to keep their playoff hopes alive, Wagner can get some payback by leading the Rams to a win in Seattle for the regular-season finale. Wagner had a sensational performance during the first meeting versus the Seahawks, but the Rams lost because of a last-minute touchdown pass from quarterback Geno Smith to wide receiver DK Metcalf. The Rams started quarterback John Wolford last month against the Seahawks. On Sunday, they’ll have quarterback Baker Mayfield, who’s looking to end the season on a winning note to attract more attention before free agency.

Who’s better? The Seahawks. They’re in the mix for the seventh seed and final wild-card spot in the NFC. But after defeating the Rams on Dec. 4, the Seahawks lost to the Carolina Panthers, San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs. They ended their skid by defeating the New York Jets last week. The Seahawks have an impressive group of rookies with running back Kenneth Walker, cornerback Tariq Woolen and offensive tackle Charles Cross, but youth and a struggling run defense have hurt them in the past month. The Seahawks are allowing 150.5 rushing yards per game, third worst in the NFL. They have also allowed at least 100 rushing yards in 12 of their 16 games this season.

Matchup to watch: Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey versus Metcalf, who has 87 catches for 1,008 yards and six touchdowns this season. Ramsey allowed one of those touchdowns to Metcalf, which gave the Seahawks the go-ahead score for the victory in Week 13. Defensive coordinator Raheem Morris might have Ramsey shadow Metcalf, who had plenty of success against the Rams’ inexperienced cornerbacks during the first matchup.

Rams win if: … Running back Cam Akers records more than 100 rushing yards and the defense keeps the Seahawks’ rushing attack under 100 yards. The Seahawks leaned on Walker to defeat the Jets last week, with Walker recording 133 of the team’s 198 total rushing yards. Walker and Akers have a two-game streak with more than 100 rushing yards. Akers’ late-season surge started versus the Seahawks by rushing for 60 yards and two touchdowns. Akers has averaged more than five yards per carry in his past three games.

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Fantasy sleeper: Akers is now an obvious starter for fantasy football lineups for the leagues that extend into Week 18. If you’re in need of a sleeper, go with Rams wide receiver Van Jefferson, who’s clearly Mayfield’s favorite target besides tight end Tyler Higbee. Jefferson had three catches for 77 yards against the Chargers last week. Mayfield had a game-winning touchdown pass to Jefferson during his Rams debut in Week 14 versus the Las Vegas Raiders. Maybe Mayfield has another touchdown for Jefferson for potentially his final game with the Rams.

Prediction: The Rams really want to win for Wagner. They’ll find a way to get it done and expect another memorable performance from Wagner versus his former team of 10 years. The Rams will upset the Seahawks 23-20 to spoil their playoff hopes. Beat reporter’s record: 11-5 for the season; 6-9-1 against the spread.



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