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Oakland Raiders vs. Seattle Seahawks: Breaking Down Seattle's Game Plan

Marlon Maloney@@marlonmaloneyCorrespondent IOctober 29, 2014

Aug 29, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) runs with the ball while being chased by Oakland Raiders free safety Usama Young (26) during the 1st half at CenturyLink Field. Seattle defeated Oakland 22-6. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Seahawks had a not-so-inspiring 13-9 win over the Carolina Panthers over the weekend for the third time in as many years. Seattle's offense erred on three trips to the red zone and toiled to score just one touchdown in the game. 

That Seattle's offense made a defense that had allowed 37-plus points in four of its last five games is a bad sign for an offense that appears to be regressing. The Seahawks defense took a step forward, as it finally was able to generate a pass rush and capitalized twice on a copious amount of turnover opportunities. 

The Seahawks will play host to the 0-7 Oakland Raiders this week. The opening lines for the game started with Seattle being 15.5-point favorites, according to Odds Shark. The line has since fluctuated to making the Raiders anywhere from 15 to 16.5-point underdogs.

While Seattle's Week 8 win over the Panthers was close to dire, the team cannot be happy with their performance in the game or the last three weeks. Week 9's game against the Oakland Raiders could prove to be a glimpse of how out of sync the Seahawks have become or serve as a major confidence booster.

Seattle remained in third in the NFC West, pulling even with the San Francisco 49ers at 4-3. The Seahawks still sit two games behind the Arizona Cardinals, who visit Seattle during Week 12 for the first of the team's two annual games against one another.

Raiders and Panthers NFL Ranks
Oakland RaidersCategorySeattle Seahawks
297.6 (31st)Total Offense350.3 (18th)
15.0 (31st)Scoring Offense24.6 (13th)
228.0 (t-21st)Passing Offense201.9 (30th)
6.1 (31st)Yards Per Attempt7.2 (19th)
69.6 (32nd)Rushing Offense148.4 (2nd)
3.7 (28th)Yards Per Attempt5.3 (1st)
37.0 (24th)3rd Down Percentage39.5 (21st)
365.0 (17th)Total Defense316.1 (5th)
25.9 (24th)Scoring Defense21.4 (10th)
234.9 (13th)Passing Defense226.6 (10th)
8.2 (28th)Yards Per Attempt7.2 (13th)
130.1 (26th)Rushing Defense89.6 (6th)
3.8 (8th)Yards Per attempt3.3 (2nd)
48.5 (32nd)3rd Down Percentage44.1 (22nd)
NFL.com
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On Defense

The Seahawks front four was finally able to generate a pass rush consistently, despite having to wait until the final minute of the game to get two of their three sacks last week. The goal will be to pressure the Raiders rookie starting quarterback into making some mistakes against an improving Seattle secondary.

The defense hurried Panthers quarterback Cam Newton 15 times in the game, with only one of them coming from a linebacker or a member of the secondary. Oakland has allowed just eight sacks this season, with the majority of the offensive line proving adept in pass-blocking. 

Right guard Austin Howard has been the one gaping hole in Oakland offensive line so far this year. Everyone else in the unit has a positive rating from Pro Football Focus. When the Raiders bring people in to help out on obvious passing plays, they have failed as well. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who has since lost hi starting role, and TE Mychal Rivera have both struggled with pass protection.

The Raiders offensive line should prove to be a major test on Seattle's pass rush, testing to see if Week 8's performance was truly a step in the right direction or not. Derek Carr has been solid under pressure, but, like most quarterbacks, more bad things will happen then good if he's under duress.

Of Carr's six interceptions this season, four have come while he was being pressured. He has completed about 47.3 percent of his passes, which is about middle of the pack (14th). Russell Wilson has completed 48.1 percent of his throws when forced from the pocket.

Oakland has the league's worst rushing attack, and Carr isn't exactly fleet of foot. Seattle opted to focus on keeping Cam Newton contained last week, allowing Jonathan Stewart to make some nice gains. Stewart didn't end up taking over the game, making it a good gamble for the Seahawks.

With Carr at quarterback, I expect Seattle to be able to better focus on getting after Carr. The secondary will need to make sure to keep WR Andre Holmes in front of them. Kelvin Benjamin's 51-yard reception late in Seattle's win last week could have easily been the deciding factor in a loss.

Holmes already has 14 receptions of 10-plus yards after being inserted into the starting lineup in Week 4.

Aug 28, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) throws a pass under pressure from Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Jordan Hill (97) at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

 

On Offense

Russell Wilson has been hit-or-miss over the last four weeks. The Seahawks quarterback played extremely well in games against the Washington Redskins and St. Louis Rams, but he turned in some subpar play in games against the Dallas Cowboys and Carolina Panthers.

Marshawn Lynch is eighth in the league in rushing yards with 482 yards, but he hasn't been given the opportunity to take over a game in some time. The perennial Pro Bowler has just one 100-yard game, which came during Week 1 against the Green Bay Packers.

This week's matchup with Oakland should provide a great opportunity to keep Lynch involved throughout the game. He had a poor outing in the passing game, dropping three passes, but he's been a great escape valve for Wilson for most of the year.

While Doug Baldwin has stepped into his new role as the team's No. 1 receiver, Jermaine Kearse has not been able to play a bigger part in the offense. Despite an increased role and fewer options surrounding him, Kearse has been limited to five catches for 65 yards over the last two weeks. With no Percy Harvin and a bevy of injuries at tight end, the Seahawks rookie receivers have contributed more over the last two weeks.

The Seahawks have been flirting with turning the ball over several times, and they are lucky last week's two-turnover game was the first in a while from the offense. Russell Wilson will need to gain back the rhythm that helped hold this unit together for much of last year.

I expect a slowed-down, run-heavy approach this week with several mid-range to deep strikes from Wilson to keep the Raiders defense honest.

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