The NFL’s Week 14 finale is an NFC West basement matchup as the St. Louis Rams (2-10) head North to take on the Seattle Seahawks (5-7) in CenturyLink Stadium.
The Rams have been decimated by injuries this season and are coming into tonight’s matchup on a three-game losing streak. Starting QB Sam Bradford is questionable with an ankle injury and backup A.J. Feely is out with a finger injury, which could leave Tom Brandstater, who has not thrown an NFL pass, as the starter after being elevated from the practice squad.
The offense could not slip much lower, already ranked 28th in passing with 185.4 yards per game. With both starting tackles out and the line allowing 43 sacks already, watch for the Rams to rely on the running game, especially with Brandstater under center. RB Steven Jackson is 15th in the NFL with 75.6 yards per game and 4.6 yards per carry, but has dropped well below those averages in the last three games.
Making the situation worse, fullback Brit Miller is out for the game, leaving no dedicated backs as lead blockers. Seattle’s defense is giving up 103.5 yards per game on the ground.
Defensively, the Rams should be able to get some pressure on Seahawks QB Tavaris Jackson especially with both Seahawks starting tackles out. Rams DE Chris Long is sixth in the league with 12 sacks, with four sacks in the last three games, and the Seahawks have given up 39 sacks this season.
The Seahawks have also been ravaged by injuries with 13 players on injured reserve, including three offensive linemen and both starting corners. QB Jackson has settled into the offense but his numbers have been uninspiring to date, with an average of 205 yards per game and a QB rating of 76.1. Look for a heavy dose of RB Marshawn Lynch to help keep the pressure off of Jackson going up against the worst run defense in the league, which is giving up 157.8 yards per game.
One of the keys to the Seahawks overcoming so many injuries has been the emergence of their secondary, led by corners Brandon Bowner of the CFL and rookie Richard Sherman. Combined with safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor, this group has made eight interceptions in the past four games.
FOX Business has evaluated the win/loss and stock market statistics over the past 20 seasons of Monday night NFL games and come up with a Monday Night Markets (MNM) score for each team based on their record and the prior week’s market activity. Let’s take a look at what the markets have to say.
The major indexes were up last week, with the Dow Industrials climbing 1.37% while the S&P 500 gained 0.88% -- and both indexes are now on a two week winning streak. The markets were buoyed by optimism on Europe’s latest plans to fix its sovereign debt crisis and weekly jobless claims dropping below 400,000.
Over the past 20 years, the Rams have played 18 Monday night games and based on our calculations have a Monday night rank of .545 when the Dow closes the prior week up, and .545 when the S&P 500 is up -- giving them a MNM rank for this week of .545.
During the same 20-year period, the Seahawks have played nine Monday night games and have a rank of .500 when the Dow is up and .500 when the S&P 500 is up giving them an MNM rank this week of .500.
Monday Night Markets picks the Saint Louis Rams on the road.
FBN STAFF PICKS - WEEK 14
Chris Cotter (10-4)
Not quite the Kingdome when it comes to a home-field advantage, but CenturyLink Field will provide enough of an advantage for the Seahawks. Seattle wins.
Sandra Smith (11-3)
Seattle always plays better in front of its vaunted “12th Man”—the team’s fans who are noted as being among the NFL’s most knowledgeable and certainly loudest homefield supporters. And on Monday night the noise will be deafening for an injury-depleted, visiting Rams club that may be starting a third-string quarterback. The Hawks will soar to victory behind rollicking running back Marshawn Lynch and a surprisingly stout defense
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