Seahawks prepare to clash with Beast Mode and the Raiders in London
Seattle (2-3) has a very small margin of error in its quest to return to the playoffs after a one year absence and losing to a team such as the Oakland Raiders (1-4) would torpedo that cause.
While winning Sunday in London certainly would not be an indicator that the Seahawks are postseason bound, losing would be disastrous with much tougher games looming on the schedule.
Also, does anyone on Seattle's roster really want to lose the franchise’s first meeting with former polarizing star running back Marshawn Lynch? Probably not.
How Lynch approaches this game will be fascinating. Will he go all out to to defeat his former team, or will he downplay the encounter?
How and where to watch
Time: 10 a.m., Sunday.
Where: Wembley Stadium, London, England.
TV: FOX 12, Portland.
Radio: Portland, KFXX, 1080 AM and Portland, KGON, 92.3 FM
Rookie defensive end Rasheem Green (ankle) and linebacker K.J. Wright (knee) are out. TE Nick Vannett (back) and DE Dion Jordan (knee) are questionable. Wright has yet to play this season.
The Raiders have nobody listed as being out. Guard Kelechi Osemele (knee) and defensive end Frostee Rucker (neck) are questionable.
When the Seahawks have the ball
Seattle’s running game has been rock solid the past three weeks with Chris Carson and Mike Davis leading the way and that should continue on Sunday. Not one lineman is listed on the injury report for the first time this season.
Oakland’s run defense has been woeful, allowing 127.2 yards per game, 28th in the NFL.
“With a really good corps of guys running the football, we have a chance to make some noise here,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.
Couple that with Oakland’s weak pass rush (six sacks), Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson’s efficiency and that the Raiders have allowed 29.8 points per game (30th) and you have the makings of a potentially big game for Seattle’s offense.
When the Raiders have the ball
Oakland’s offense has been productive from a yardage standpoint but lacks efficiency. The Raiders rank sixth in total offense (411.2 yards per game) but just 22nd in points per game (21.4).
Oakland throws the ball a ton but hasn't received consistent positive production out of quarterback Derek Carr. The yardage has been there, but he is on pace to throw more than 20 interceptions.
Seattle has intercepted nine passes already this season and last week picked off Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff twice.
Part of the problem for Oakland has been the play of the offensive line.
“We’ve had three different right tackles, we’ve had two rookies start on the edge for us, we’ve had two different left guards, a lot of receivers have come and gone, we’ve struggled on defense,” Oakland coach Jon Gruden told reporters. “(Carr) kept us in games. I think he’s doing an excellent job.”
By the numbers
Minus 2.5: The Seahawks are favored by 2 1/2 points over the Raiders.
+6: That is Seattle’s turnover differential and it compares quite favorably to Oakland’s minus 4. Seattle has intercepted nine passes compared to three for the Raiders.
556: That’s how many more yards Carr has passed for (1,641) than Wilson (1,086). However, Wilson has 10 touchdown passes with three interceptions while Carr’s numbers are seven and eight.
1,799: That’s how many points Seattle kicker Sebastian Janikowski scored during his 17-year career with the Raiders.
28-24: Seattle leads the all-time series 28-24. The Raiders won eight consecutive meetings from 1990 through 1993 back when both teams were in the AFC West Division.
All signs point toward a Seattle victory. The only major reason for pause is how the Seahawks narrowly escaped Arizona with a 20-17 win over the Cardinals (1-4) a couple of weeks ago. Oakland is at least slightly better than Arizona.
The Raiders, when Carr is hot, can rip off yards and put points on the board as they did during their only win, 45-42 over Cleveland in overtime. However, four times this season the Raiders have scored 20 or fewer points and they hit their season low last week during a 26-10 loss to the Chargers.
What should prevent Carr from even having a big day is Seattle’s run game, which should for the third consecutive game surpass 150 yards, allowing Seattle to control the clock and the game.
Final score: Seahawks 27, Raiders 20.