With Stafford returning, Rams seek to complete season sweep of Seahawks

SEATTLE (6-3) at LOS ANGELES RAMS (3-6)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. EST, CBS

BETTING LINE: Seahawks by 1 according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

AGAINST THE SPREAD: Seahawks 4-5; Rams 3-4-2.

SERIES RECORD: Seahawks lead 27-23.

LAST MEETING: Rams beat Seahawks 30-13 on Sept. 10 in Seattle.

LAST WEEK: Seahawks beat Commanders 29-26; Rams had bye, lost to Packers 20-3 on Nov. 5.

SEAHAWKS OFFENSE: OVERALL (18), RUSH (24), PASS (13), SCORING (14).

SEAHAWKS DEFENSE: OVERALL (25), RUSH (20), PASS (22), SCORING (20).

RAMS OFFENSE: OVERALL (14), RUSH (17), PASS (14), SCORING (T-22).

RAMS DEFENSE: OVERALL (T-20), RUSH (22), PASS (14), SCORING (22).

TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Seahawks plus-3 (T-9); Rams minus-2 (T-16).

SEAHAWKS PLAYER TO WATCH: WR DK Metcalf. The first meeting with the Rams this season was a frustrating outing for everyone involved with the Seahawks. Metcalf’s frustration boiled over in a noticeable way when he took a cheap shot on Rams cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, drawing a penalty. Metcalf had a season-high seven catches for 98 yards last week, including two key catches in the final minute to set up Seattle’s game-winning field goal.

RAMS PLAYER TO WATCH: QB Matthew Stafford will return after spraining a ligament in his right thumb at Dallas on Oct. 29. Playing without their starter, Los Angeles had 119 yards passing in a loss in Green Bay. Stafford dominated the Seahawks in the season opener, going 24 of 38 for 334 yards.

KEY MATCHUP: Rams WR Cooper Kupp vs. Seahawks CB Devon Witherspoon. Both players missed the teams’ first game while sidelined by hamstring injuries, so this will be the first time the All-Pro receiver and outstanding rookie defender face off. Kupp got off to a fast start, totaling 15 catches for 266 yards and one touchdown in his first two games, but has eight grabs for 98 yards plus a 2-point conversion in his past three. Witherspoon has 12 passes defended, two sacks, a forced fumble and an interception he returned 97 yards for a touchdown through his first eight games. The positional versatility of both players should result in an intriguing chess match as Seahawks try to find ways to keep Witherspoon on Kupp while the Rams attempt to free him up.

KEY INJURIES: Seattle received a boost with right tackle Abrham Lucas returning to practice this week after being out since the opener with a knee issue. It’s unlikely Lucas will be activated but he could return sometime in the next few games. … The Seahawks expect to be mostly healthy for this week. … The Rams expect to get RT Rob Havenstein (calf) back after missing the past two games. … DT Bobby Brown III has resumed practicing and could be activated to return from injured reserve, giving Los Angeles more depth down the middle of its defense.

SERIES NOTES: The Seahawks won 27-23 at SoFi Stadium last season to snap a four-game road losing streak against the Rams. … Rams coach Sean McVay is 9-5 against Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, including a 30-20 win in an NFC wild-card game on Jan. 9, 2021.

STATS AND STUFF: The Seahawks are beginning a stretch of three games in 11 days, including hosting the 49ers on Thanksgiving night and traveling to Dallas to play the Cowboys on Nov. 30. … The Seahawks are 2-5 versus the Rams since they moved back to Los Angeles in 2016. … QB Geno Smith threw for a career-high 369 yards last week versus the Commanders. Smith was 15 of 20 in the second half and 9 of 11 passing on the Seahawks final two drives. … WR Tyler Lockett needs three catches and 27 yards receiving to pass Brian Blades and move into second place on the franchise list in both categories. Lockett would trail only Hall of Famer Steve Largent in both. … Edge rusher Boye Mafe has had a sack in a franchise-record seven straight games. If Mafe can extend the streak to eight, he’d be the first player since Jevon Kearse to have a streak of eight straight games with a sack in one of their first two seasons in the league. … LB Bobby Wagner needs five tackles to reach 100 for the 12th consecutive season. He would be the third player in league history to reach that mark, joining London Fletcher and Derrick Brooks. … K Jason Myers was the NFC special teams player of the week after going 5-for-5 on field goals last week against Washington. Myers has made 17 of his past 18 field-goal attempts and has made a field goal in 24 consecutive games. … Rams WR Puka Nacua kicked off his remarkable rookie campaign by making 10 receptions for 119 yards in Week 1 against the Seahawks. He has added three more 100-yard games since then, and his 827 yards receiving ranks sixth in the NFL. … The three points scored by the Rams against the Packers represented the lowest regular-season total in McVay’s seven seasons as a head coach. Los Angeles was also held to three points in its Super Bowl 53 loss to New England. … DL Aaron Donald has at least a half sack in four straight games against Seattle. He has 15 1/2 sacks and 24 tackles for loss in 17 regular-season games versus the Seahawks. … Kupp, a Washington state native, hasn’t played against Seattle since Week 15 of the 2021 season when he had nine receptions for 136 yards and two touchdowns. Kupp has eight games with two scoring catches against the Seahawks. … The Rams have seen diminishing returns on the ground in each of the three games since Kyren Williams (ankle) and Ronnie Rivers (knee) were hurt in a Week 6 win against the Arizona Cardinals. The run game produced 135 yards on 4.4 yards per attempt against the Steelers in the first game without the two, down to 92 yards on 3.8 yards per attempt versus the Cowboys before bottoming out at 68 yards on 2.6 yards per attempt against the Packers.

FANTASY TIP: The Rams tend to have a good handle on the Seahawks’ passing game in recent years, so Lockett and Metcalf might not be automatic starts this week. Lockett is averaging five receptions and 64.8 yards in his past six games in the series, including two grabs for 10 yards in the opener. Metcalf has one 100-yard game in nine regular-season meetings.

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