When: Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET (Fox)
Spread: Seahawks by 10.5
Records: Rams (7-7-1; NFC West 4-0-1); Seahawks (10-5; NFC West 2-3)
Past results: Two most recent meetings – Sept. 30, 2012: Rams 19, Seahawks 13; Dec. 12, 2011: Seahawks 30, Rams 13. Series record: Seahawks lead 17-12.
What matters: With a win, the Rams will go undefeated in the division and finish with a winning record for the first time since 2003. St. Louis has won three straight road games for the first time since, you guessed it, 2003. This is by far the biggest road challenge yet. To preserve the good feeling generated by coach Jeff Fisher’s first year, the Rams need to at least be competitive against a Seahawks team that has outscored its last three opponents 150-30. St. Louis will be facing a much different Russell Wilson. In the 19-13 Rams win three months ago, Wilson was intercepted three times. Since then the elusive rookie has thrown 21 TD passes against six INTs.
Who matters: Points will be precious against the NFL’s top defense: Seattle allows 15.5 points per game. So QB Sam Bradford must continue his recent efficient play in the red zone. “Obviously, that’s an area where we struggled earlier in the year,” Bradford said.
In the last three games, the Rams have scored TDs on seven of eight red-zone trips.
“We’re making throws and making catches,” coach Jeff Fisher said. “We’re also -- as we talked about when we were struggling -- you have to also use the run game. ‘Jack’ (RB Steven Jackson) scores from (five) yards out (against Tampa Bay) and he’s had a couple good runs in there. So, we’ve got the ability... if you’re running it and throwing it, and you also have the ability to use the play-pass which we’ve done. You saw the good run-action fake that we executed that (WR Austin Pettis) caught. His touchdown pass was, everybody comes and is respecting the run, the ball goes over the top.”
Key matchups: Seattle won’t have CB Brandon Browner due to suspension, but CB Richard Sherman says he’ll play after winning his appeal. Backup CBs Marcus Trufant and Walter Thurmond are dealing with injuries. For the Rams to move the ball, WRs Danny Amendola , Chris Givens and Brandon Gibson must beat man coverage and get quick separation. Bradford cannot afford to hold the ball long against this defense, which feeds off the home crowd.
Injuries of note: None.
Inside stuff: MLB James Laurinaitis, who made his seventh career INT last week, is the only NFL player who’s played every defensive snap this season. … Rookie CBs Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson had 17 passes thrown in their coverage areas last week. Only seven were completed, for 75 yards with two INTs and a pass breakup. … On 27 passing plays last week, the Rams gave up just four QB hits, one hurry and no sacks.
Stats you should know: The Rams are tied for third with 46 sacks. DEs Robert Quinn (9.5 sacks) and Chris Long (8.5) lead the way. The Rams rank second in the league in sack rate on blitzes, though they blitz just 13th-most. … Jenkins’ four defensive TDs -- three by INT, one by fumble -- are the most ever by an NFL rookie. … Despite their recent surge, the Rams rank 21st in red-zone touchdown efficiency, having scored a TD on 51.4 percent of trips inside the 20.
Record watch: RB Jackson needs 10 yards to post his eighth straight 1,000-yard rushing season. Only five other backs have accomplished that feat. … Bradford has thrown for 3,450 yards and needs 63 more to set a career high for a single season.
Looking ahead: The Rams get two first-round picks in the April draft. Their pick is currently No. 17, and they also get Washington’s from the Robert Griffin III deal. That pick is currently No. 20. With those picks, St. Louis should grab at least one offensive lineman.
Prediction: Seahawks 27, Rams 20
Get more Rams updates and analysis from Larry Hartstein on Twitter @CBSRams.