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Rams face critical road test against Seattle

The Associated Press

Pete Carroll likes what he’s been seeing from his Seahawks, though not everything is in place yet.

They could pass a huge test in a rare October game with critical meaning in the standings when they host the Rams tonight.

Both teams are 3-1, though the feeling throughout the NFC West is that the Rams also haven’t put things together, as their defensive collapse against Tampa Bay displayed last Sunday. Los Angeles, of course, is the defending conference champion, but one with holes in its performances thus far.

So logic would seem to point toward Seattle.

“We’ve been trying to find us,” Carroll says. “We played a nice game this last Sunday (at Arizona), kind of in a balanced way. I think we are still growing. We have a young team that is led by experienced players. With some of the guys that we have, they haven’t been with us very long.

“I really feel like we are just continuing to kind of figure it out. Hopefully, we can win some games and keep rolling while we are figuring it out, so we can get our act together as we get to the second half of the season and really know who we are, what we are.”

Same can be said for LA.

“I think it’s just going to be good for us to look back on it’s something that we will learn from,” quarterback Jared Goff says of the 55-40 loss to the Buccaneers. “I think it’s something that kind of created a little bit more urgency with everyone and understanding that we do want to win every game. It is hard to do that, but at the same time, we need to play better regardless of win or loss. We need to execute better and be ourselves and do what we do. If we do that, we should be fine.”

The Seahawks, ranked sixth in the AP Pro32, are 1¢-point favorites over the No. 5 Rams. Pro Picks has had little luck with Thursday nights, so here’s lukewarm support of … Rams, 27-24

Elsewhere:

KNOCKOUT POOL: The Chargers handled Miami and kept us around, and now, with the Dolphins off, we put our faith in PHILADELPHIA.

No. 31 New York Jets (+13) at No. 11 Philadelphia: Jets are banking on Sam Darnold’s return from mononucleosis. We aren’t. Best bet: Eagles, 30-13

No. 15 Cleveland (+31/2) at No. 9 San Francisco, Monday night: Niners could prove how real they are with a win. Sorry. Upset special: Browns, 26-24

No. 14 Baltimore (–31/2) at No. 25 Pittsburgh: One of NFL’s best rivalries, though no Big Ben vs. Terrell Suggs anymore. Baltimore, 23-21

No. 7 Chicago (–4 1/2) vs. No. 24 Oakland at London: Both teams boosted their stock last Sunday before heading across the pond. Chicago, 16-10

No. 1 New England (–15) at No. 30 Washington: Patriots figure to get offense back on track against free-falling Redskins. Patriots, 31-9

No. 8 Green Bay (+31/2) at No. 4 Dallas: Cowboys ran into defensive buzzsaw and Packers were chopped up by offensive one last week. Cowboys, 26-16

No. 18 Indianapolis (+11) at No. 2 Kansas City: Colts are much better than last performance, will test Patrick Mahomes and Chiefs. Chiefs, 31-28

No. 10 Buffalo (+3) at No. 21 Tennessee: No Music City Miracle finish this time. Bills have little shot if Josh Allen can’t go. Titans, 16-15

No. 27 Denver (+61/2) at No. 16 Los Angeles Chargers: Chargers off to usual slow start, but not nearly as slow as Denver’s. Chargers, 20-10

No. 20 Jacksonville (+31/2) at No. 19 Carolina: A pair of teams suddenly on rise with backup QBs. Jaguars, 20-17

No. 14 Minnesota (–51/2) at No. 23 New York Giants: First real defensive challenge for Giants rookie QB Daniel Jones. Vikings, 25-21

No. 22 Tampa Bay (+3) at No. 3 New Orleans: We liked Saints with Brees and now are liking them with Bridgewater. Saints, 27-16

No. 26 Atlanta (+5) at No. 17 Houston: Hard to believe how far Falcons have fallen. Texans, 30-22

No. 28 Arizona (+31/2) at No. 29 Cincinnati: Who knows? Who cares? Bengals, 12-10

2019 record: Last Week: Against spread (7-8). Straight up (8-7); Season Totals: Against spread (34-28-1). Straight up: (39-23-1); Best Bet: 2-2 against spread, 3-1 straight up; Upset special: 2-2 against spread, 2-2 straight up

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