St. Louis Rams (7-8) at Seattle Seahawks (6-9)
— The NFC West has gone prime-time, bay-bee! A division that could send a sub-.500 team to the playoffs for the first time will be featured Sunday night when the Rams (7-8) travel to Seattle (6-9) in a game that will crown the division champion. NBC announced the move earlier this week when it was learned the ‘Hawks and Rams would, for all intents and purposes, be in a classic “win-and-you’re-in” game that always seems to do wonders for TV ratings…Even if the teams themselves aren’t that great.
— Rams CB Jerome Murphy broke a bone in a finger Sunday against the 49ers, but he continued to play with the injury and is expected to play this week against Seattle. Murphy is a big component of the Rams secondary and his loss would be a major blow to the team. Expect him to play even if he only has nine available fingers, as coach Steve Spagnuolo joked about on Tuesday.
— DE Chris Long, who played Sunday with a bruised thigh, got through the game and shouldn’t be affected in practice this week. Long is second on the team in sacks with nine (fellow DE James Hall leads with 10) and should be in the grill of whichever QB Seattle starts this weekend. Speaking of Seattle QBs…
— The big news out of Seattle this week is the health of starting QB Matt Hasselbeck. Hasselbeck underwent an MRI on Monday after suffering a strained hip in Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay. Hasselbeck scored on a one-yard scamper, but limped into the endzone and looked to be in major discomfort. If Hasselbeck can’t go against the Rams, starting duties fall to Charlie Whitehurst, who has been anything but impressive this year (albeit in limited duty). Whitehurst has completed 55.6 percent of his passes, thrown for 315 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions this season, including starting one game at Qwest Field against the New York Giants. He has a poor 54.7 passer rating.
— LT Russell Okung tweaked his left ankle against Tampa Bay, but returned to the contest without missing a play. According to head coach Pete Carroll, he’s not 100 percent, but is not expected to miss more time.
— WR Brandon Stokley suffered a head injury in the second half of the Tampa Bay game. Coach Pete Carroll said he’s recovering and not expected to practice on Wednesday. This is another key injury situation for Seattle as Stokely has been the team’s most consistent receiver down the regular season stretch.