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Originally published Sunday, December 14, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Seahawks vs. Rams preview

1Will this be the Seahawks' week? Well, this is a great chance to end the six-game losing streak. Seattle has a good history of winning...

Key questions

1Will this be the Seahawks' week? Well, this is a great chance to end the six-game losing streak. Seattle has a good history of winning in St. Louis, a team they've already defeated once this year (by 24 points). The Seahawks can take some confidence from the play of their backups in last week's close loss. Both teams are 2-11. Both have struggled, but the Seahawks still have an edge and don't commit as many turnovers, so this looks like it could be their week to finally get a win for themselves and coach Mike Holmgren. A win assures Seattle of not equaling its worst season record in history, 2-14 in 1992. With games against one playoff contender and one playoff team remaining after this, this could be the Seahawks' best shot at one more win in 2008.

2Can the Seahawks' offensive line play as well as it did last week? A game under the belt for guys like Ray Willis, Mansfield Wrotto and Steve Vallos together will only help their confidence. Willis will have to handle star left defensive end Leonard Little, who was limited in practice this week with a hamstring injury but is still a sack specialist. On the other side, Sean Locklear has a tough assignment in right end Chris Long, a rookie with promise. And Locklear has a lot of respect for DT La'Roi Glover. The Rams do give up 154.2 rushing yards per game, so it stands to reason that Seattle will be able to run the ball. Handling the pass rush for quarterback Seneca Wallace will be the bigger key.

3What has Mike Holmgren learned about himself this season? Plenty, by what he says. "I've never experienced anything like this since my very first job in high school. I've had to be more aware this season of the players watching me and how I react," Holmgren said. "I've tried not to be a phony all the time with the players, but I think they've kind of watched to see if I just faint or something, you know, and you can't do that." Holmgren has had to show his players that he's going to battle to the end with them and push himself in ways he hasn't before.

Notable

Seahawks: QB Matt Hasselbeck, who won't play unless quarterbacks Seneca Wallace and Charlie Frye are hurt, has six straight wins against the Rams. ... WR Deion Branch had five catches for 92 yards and a TD in his last game vs. the Rams, Nov. 25 of last year at the Edward Jones Dome. ... TE John Carlson can set Seahawks season records for catches and yards by a tight end with his next catch and 30 more yards. He's at 46 for 525 heading into the game. ... CB Marcus Trufant has an interception in two of the past three games against the Rams.

Rams: QB Marc Bulger has 24 TD passes in 16 home starts against division opponents. ... When RB Steven Jackson has 22 or more carries, the Rams are 16-6. ... S O.J. Atogwe has four interceptions, four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery in the past 10 games. ... DE Chris Long is tied for the NFL lead in sacks for rookies with four. ... LB Will Witherspoon has five sacks in the past four Seattle-St. Louis games.

Injury report

Seahawks: LT Walter Jones (knee) is out. LB Leroy Hill (neck/shoulder), QB Matt Hasselbeck (back), DT Red Bryant (ankle) and S C.J. Wallace (hamstring) are questionable. WR Koren Robinson (knee), CB Josh Wilson (concussion) and RG Mansfield Wrotto (ankle) are probable.

Rams: CB Jason Craft (back) and LB Gary Stills (knee) are questionable. CB Fakhir Brown (ankle), K Josh Brown (groin), G Richie Incognito (ankle) and DE Leonard Little (hamstring) are probable.

Last gameSeahawks: The Seahawks lost a heartbreaker, 24-21, to the New England Patriots when their defense gave up a touchdown drive late in the game, and just as it looked like the offense was going to drive for at least a tie, QB Seneca Wallace was sacked and fumbled the ball away. Seattle led 21-13 as the fourth quarter began but gave up too many key third-down conversions. Wallace had perhaps the best game of his career, completing 20 of 28 passes for 212 yards and three touchdowns. Branch caught two of those. Branch also had a 63-yard gain, and the Seahawks' 339 yards of offense was their best output in several weeks, but they fell to 2-11 with their sixth straight loss.

Rams: St. Louis lost at Arizona 34-10 for the Rams' seventh straight loss. That clinched the NFC West title for the Cardinals as the Rams dropped to 2-11. QB Marc Bulger threw a TD pass to RB Steven Jackson and former Seahawks K Josh Brown drilled a 51-yard field goal, but the Rams gave up 30 or more points for the seventh time this season.

José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or jromero@seattletimes.com

Who has the advantage?
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