Rams Linebacker Isaiah Kacyvenski said it his week: the Seahawks don't respect the Rams. He should know. Until four weeks ago, he was a Seahawk. This isn't surprising really. I said before the first meeting in October that the Seahawks don't consider the Rams a threat and won't until they prove they can beat them. The Rams should have won that October game. They let a 21-7 lead slip away after playing a great first half.
The NFC West race, for all intents and purposes, will be over if the Seahawks win Sunday. They would have a two game lead with seven games to play. But, because the Seahawks would have swept the season series, the lead would really be three games. The Rams would have to make up three games to catch Seattle. The Seahawks remaining schedule isn't that tough and quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and running back Shawn Alexander will be back soon.
The more I examine Steven Jackson's numbers, the more impressed I am. After eight games, he's rushed for 691 yards and he's caught 41 passes for 412 yards. His season total projections are almost identical to what Marshall Faulk averaged in the Rams' record setting years of 1999 through 2001. Jackson is on pace for 1,382 yards. Faulk averaged 1,374 in that three year span. Jackson is on pace to catch 82 passes for 824 yards. Faulk averaged 84 receptions for 881 yards. The numbers are almost identical with one exception--the yards per carry average. Faulk averaged an astounding 5.4 yards in that time frame. Jackson's number--4.1--is far more modest. Yes, Faulk was more "explosive" than Jackson. But, so was the offense around him. The Rams' passing game was so dangerous that teams couldn't afford to load 8 defenders in the box. They were forced to play loose cover two-type schemes to prevent Kurt Warner from hitting the big play downfield. And, the Rams built significant leads on most teams and then pounded away with Faulk in the second half.
I'm not suggesting that Steven is Marshall's equal. Faulk was the most dangerous player in the league back then. He was a defensive coordinator's match-up nightmare. But, Steven is playing good football--better than many will acknowledge. And, his rapidly expanding role in the passing game will start to open things up for Marc Bulger and his other receivers. My guess is the Seahawks made significant note of how many times Bulger checked down to Steven against the Chiefs(13 receptions) and will have to account for that possibility again.