By Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Sunday, Dec. 14 2008
When the Rams run the ball

Two lost fumbles notwithstanding, Steven Jackson ran very hard last week
against Arizona. If not 100 percent recovered from his nagging thigh injury,
he's close to it. But can the beleaguered offensive line rise to the occasion
and open some holes? With the exception of a 32-yard run in the second quarter,
Jackson had next to no running room. A missed line call by center Brett Romberg
resulted in Cardinals middle linebacker Gerald Hayes coming in free on the play
that resulted in Jackson's second lost fumble the one that was returned for a
touchdown. Guard Richie Incognito, the Rams' best run blocker, will be playing
on a tender ankle.

EVEN

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When the Seahawks run the ball

Seattle has never been known as a running team under Mike Holmgren, even in the
heyday of Shaun Alexander. They are ranked a pedestrian 20th in rushing offense
this season. But you wouldn't know it from the last time they played St. Louis.
The Seahawks rushed for 245 yards in the Sept. 21 meeting in Seattle, still the
season high against the Rams. Julius Jones ran for 140 yards that day, but
didn't even play last week although healthy. The Seahawks might dust him off
for the Rams, who are coming off their best outing of the year on run defense,
allowing season lows in yards (63) and yards per carry (2.9) against Arizona.

EDGE: Seahawks

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When the Rams pass the ball

Seattle ranks dead last in passing defense, allowing 264.8 yards per game, and
has allowed a league-high 48 pass plays of 20 yards or more. Although still
effective, the Seahawks' pass rush isn't as good as in past seasons, and their
best pass rusher Patrick Kerney is out for the season with a shoulder
injury. The Seahawks don't create many turnovers, and their six interceptions
is third-lowest in the league. Those are all ingredients favoring the Rams, but
Marcus Trufant remains one of the game's top cover corners, and the Rams always
have trouble blocking linebacker Julian Peterson, who has 10 sacks in his past
13 games against St. Louis.

EDGE: Rams

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When the Seahawks pass the ball

Quarterback Seneca Wallace played the best game of his career last week against
New England, completing 20 of 28 passes for 212 yards and three TDs. Although
he lost a costly fumble on a safety blitz up the middle, Wallace is an elusive
scrambler, gaining 47 yards on three runs against the Patriots. In a season
that has featured tons of injuries to Seattle wide receivers, rookie tight end
John Carlson has emerged as the team's top pass catcher. He's coming off a
career-high eight catches against the Pats. Not only are his season totals of
45 catches for 525 yards team highs, both figures are tops for NFC rookie tight
ends.

EVEN