Seahawks face Rams on Saturday
The Seahawks' fourth-quarter mojo continued in their final regular-season game, a 26-23 win Sunday, Jan. 3, over the 49ers in a game played in Glendale, Arizona.
Now, we'll see how momentum serves Seattle in the postseason.
The Seahawks (12-4) open the playoffs on Saturday, Jan. 9, with a game against the Los Angeles Rams (10-6). The game between the NFC West rivals is scheduled for a 1:40 p.m. kickoff at Lumen Field in Seattle and will air on FOX.
The Seahawks and Rams split their two games this season. In a 23-16 Rams' win at Los Angeles, Russell Wilson was consistently under pressure. He threw two interceptions, lost a fumble and was sacked six times. In Seattle's 20-9 win Dec. 27 at Lumen Field, the Seahawks played turnover-free football.
This playoff matchup, coming only two weeks after the teams last met, figures to be another defensive struggle.
The mystery entering the game will be if Rams' quarterback Jared Goff plays. Goff had thumb surgery after the Dec. 27 game at Seattle and did not play in L.A.'s 18-7 win over Arizona to close the regular season. John Wolford, a rookie out of Wake Forest, was 22 of 38 for 231 yards, but the Rams' only touchdown came on an 84-yard interception return by former Oregon Duck Troy Hill.
Regardless of who plays QB for L.A., Seattle must handle one of the best defenses in football. Defensive lineman Aaron Donald (13.5 sacks) demands attention and helps players such as linebacker Leonard Floyd (9.5 sacks, five of them against Seattle) impact the game.
Seattle had a chance to climb to the No. 1 seed in the NFC on Sunday with a win and losses by Green Bay and New Orleans, but the Packers and Saints both won. The Packers are the NFC's top seed and get the wild-card weekend off. The Saints are the No. 2 seed and host Chicago on Sunday (1:40 p.m., CBS). The other NFC wild-card game has Tampa Bay visiting the Washington Football Team on Saturday (5:15 p.m., NBC).
If Seattle beats the Rams, it will either visit New Orleans or host the next highest remaining seed below it in the divisional playoff round.
Defense ruled the day again on Sunday against the 49ers. San Francisco took a 16-6 lead early in the fourth quarter. But Russell Wilson hit Tyler Lockett for two fourth-quarter touchdowns, including a diving catch by Lockett in the back of the end zone on a fourth-and-4.
Defensive back Jamal Adams suffered a shoulder injury on a pass rush against the 49ers. It is not the same shoulder that cost him five games earlier this season. Coach Pete Carroll said Sunday that the initial word was that Adams should be available for Saturday's playoff game.
• The Rams have a Northwest flavor on their roster. In addition to Hill, Justin Hollins and tight end Johnny Mundt are former Ducks. Linebacker Samson Ebukam is a David Douglas High grad. Former Oregon State punter Johnny Hekker remains one of the best in the NFL in his ninth season.
• AFC playoffs — Kansas City is the No. 1 seed and has a bye this week. The schedule: Indianapolis at Buffalo, 10:05 a.m. Saturday (CBS); Baltimore at Tennessee, 10:05 a.m. Sunday (ESPN/ABC); and Cleveland at Pittsburgh, 5:15 p.m. Sunday (NBC).
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