Steps to Victory: Seahawks open season at home against division rival Rams

SEATTLE — Each week, KIRO 7 Sports Director Chris Francis previews the Seahawks matchup with his Steps to Victory. These are featured on the weekly Scouting Report which airs every Saturday at 7:30 p.m. In Week 1, the Seahawks host their division rival, the Los Angeles Rams.

Step number one: GRAB THE EARLY LEAD. The Seahawks are notoriously slow starters. As coach likes to say, “it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish” or, “You can’t win the game in the first quarter.” But you do not want to give a team that had just 5 wins last year any hope of winning the season opener in enemy territory. Geno and company should have their foot on the gas from the start and I expect it to be 20-7 at the half.

To do that they’ll need step two, which is RUN D DOMINATE. OK, maybe not dominate, but how about better than 30th in the NFL, where Seattle finished in 2022? Last year they gave up 150 yards a game to opponents and it nearly sunk their season. They cannot let Rams running back Cam Akers – one of the few weapons the Rams have on offense – get any traction. Make Matthew Stafford throw into a Seahawks pass defense ranked 13th in the league last year.

Step three: make them do it without wide receiver Cooper Kupp. NO KUPP, NO PROBLEM. The former Eastern Washington University star is the focal point of the Rams offense, and as he goes, they go. He is out with a hamstring for the foreseeable future, so the focus for the Seahawks young corners and safety Quandre Diggs will be corralling Rams receivers Ben Skowronek and Van Jefferson, along with tight end Tyler Higbee.

And there you have it. If the Seahawks can stick to these steps, handling their Southern California rivals shouldn’t be a problem.