A prime-time home game against an undermanned Indianapolis Colts team was just what the Seattle Seahawks needed to get to 2-2 at the quarter point of the season -- and to get back into the top 10 of ESPN's NFL Power Rankings.
After their 46-18 win over the Colts, the Seahawks went from 12th to sixth in the Power Rankings for Week 5. That's the highest ranking among the 13 teams that are 2-2, and it's ahead of five teams that have a better record at 3-1.
The Seahawks' dominant second half on Sunday night -- during which they outscored the Colts 36-3 and held them to only 32 yards -- was no doubt fresh on the minds of the more than 80 ESPN writers, editors and TV personalities who vote in the rankings.
Next up for Seattle is a road game against a 3-1 Los Angeles Rams team that looks for real under first-year head coach Sean McVay and second-year quarterback Jared Goff. The Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas has the Seahawks as 1.5-point underdogs. The two teams have split their last 10 games, with Seattle's last road win coming in a Monday night game in St. Louis in 2013.
Here are three initial thoughts on the matchup:
Another tough challenge up front. Let's start with where several of the recent meetings between these teams have been decided -- up front. Specifically, Seattle's perennially-challenged offensive line against a defensive line that has given it fits. According to Pro Football Reference, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has been sacked 39 times in 10 career games against the Rams, compared with 31 times in 11 games against the San Francisco 49ers and 29 times in 10 games against the Arizona Cardinals. Left tackle Rees Odhiambo's status for this week is uncertain due to what coach Pete Carroll called a bruised sternum, so the Seahawks may have to start either Matt Tobin or Isaiah Battle on Sunday. The Rams have been winning games with their offense much more so than their defense this season, but it'll still be a tough matchup for Seattle up front.
A better Rams offense. The Seahawks' offense has been the primary issue in recent losses to the Rams. Special teams was also a big factor in one of them. But Seattle has not had much trouble defensively. Last year, for instance, the Seahawks held the Rams without a touchdown in a 9-3 Los Angeles victory in Week 2. But this is not the same Rams offense the Seahawks have faced -- and for the most part handled very well -- over the last few seasons. In his excellent breakdown of the Rams' offensive turnaround, ESPN's Alden Gonzalez notes that the 224 points they scored last season marked the lowest total by any NFL team since 2012. The Rams lead the league with 142 points through four games.
Secondary concerns. Gonzalez notes that improvements at wide receiver is one reason for that offensive turnaround. The Rams traded for Sammy Watkins, signed Robert Woods and drafted Cooper Kupp out of Eastern Washington in the third round, among other moves to upgrade their receiver corps. That will make for an interesting matchup Sunday against a Seahawks secondary that could be without starting cornerback Jeremy Lane. Carroll sounded concerned about Lane's status for this week due to a groin strain that knocked him out a few plays into the Colts game. If Lane can't play, rookie Shaquill Griffin would start on the right side and Justin Coleman would handle the slot as the third cornerback. Neiko Thorpe's status is also uncertain due to an ankle injury that has kept him out the last two games. Carroll said Thorpe has a chance to return this week but didn't sound like he's counting on it.