Raiders vs Seahawks Game Preview
Old division rivals square off as Marshawn Lynch leads the Raiders in his first trip back to the CenturyLink Field to take on his old team, the Seahawks.
The Seahawks are moving on from their famed “Legion of Boom” defence and are their worst version since Pete Carroll became the coach. The Raiders welcome back old coach Jon Gruden as he attempts to unlock the full potential of a young and talented team.
The Raiders regressed so badly in 2017 they had to bring back Gruden, who hadn’t coached an NFL team for over a decade. Gruden once helped create the early 2000’s Raiders, which lost to his Buccaneers team in Super Bowl XXXVII.
This new Raiders team has talent across the roster. From Derek Carr as the franchise quarterback to stars on both offence and defence. With a better offensive coordinator in Greg Olson, Oakland is ready to return to prominence.
As Oakland looks to rise again, the Seahawks could be on their way down. Seattle disbanded their elite secondary. Richard Sherman was cut, Kam Chancellor retired, and Earl Watson is asking to be traded.
Seattle will still be coached by Carroll and Russell Wilson is still an elite quarterback who can make magic happen on most occasions. But the roster is barren and they didn’t do much in the offseason outside of reaching for running backs. It’s going to be a long season.
The two appear to be trending towards opposite directions but the Seahawks still have more continuity in terms of coaching. Oakland also has depth issues and their second unit won’t be any better than the Seahawks’. Carroll will find a way to get the job done as Oakland still adjusts.
Raiders vs Seahawks Head-to-Head Records
These two teams go all the way back to 1977 as part of the old AFC West. The Raiders, fresh off a Super Bowl victory would embarrass the fledgeling Seahawks who are just in their second year. Their 37-point victory would be the largest in the entire series as of 2018.
Seattle would pay them back and win the next four while Oakland would win the next five. It became a game of streaks until the ’80s where each team would take turns beating the other including a 1-1 split during consecutive playoffs meetings in 1984. The biggest disparity came during the early ’90s.
The Raiders, then playing in Los Angeles, would win eight consecutive versus Seattle. That winning streak is what would push them ahead all-time at 29-25 overall. From there, the two would again take turns defeating each other. Compared to other NFL rivalries, this one is pretty even.
Seattle is currently rebuilding while Oakland appears headed for a Super Bowl run. They are scheduled to meet later in 2018. They have alternated wins and losses since 2000. With Oakland winning their last game in 2014, Seattle might just continue the trend.
Oakland Raiders Recent History
The Raiders have been one of the NFL’s most colourful franchises. Starting out in Oakland as part of the AFL, Oakland would become an AFC power for almost 20 years. From 1967 to 1985, they would win three Super Bowls and 11 division championships including nine in ten years from 1967 to 1976.
They were coached by the iconic John Madden and owned by Al Davis beginning 1972. Davis would relocate the franchise to Los Angeles in 1982 despite the team being in the middle of a dynasty. Though they won a Super Bowl and were a perennial playoff team, they couldn’t sell and were forced back to Oakland in 1995.
This second Raiders team was a disaster. They had three-season run in the early 2000’s but became the NFL’s worst franchise from 2003 to 2016 going through draft picks and coaches like dirty underwear. They have only started beginning to undo all that damage.
Seattle Seahawks Recent History
Seattle has the dubious distinction as the only NFL franchise to switch conferences twice. They were a part of the AFC for 25 seasons and were the forgotten team of the AFC West. They would win two division titles but would mostly be a middling team doing little to earn any distinction.
Moving back to the NFC in 2002 would be a turning point for the franchise. Under coaches Mike Holmgren and Pete Carroll, the Seahawks would be an NFC West superpower winning eight division championships and a Super Bowl in three appearances.
The Seahawks were in their best stretch from 2012 to 2016. They won at least 10 games and made it to the divisional round at least. But all good things must come to an end and Seattle is now in the midst of retrogressing into the mediocre franchise they once were. But maybe not for long.
Oakland Raiders Outlook
The Raiders may have a great team on paper but the shadow of their ghastly past still looms over them. Gruden is a wild card and many of their star players are coming off injuries. Carr and Cooper could be the best quarterback-receiver tandem if they can stay healthy.
Marshawn Lynch is still producing at 32 and it’s thanks to the offensive line, which will be getting Donald Penn back. On defence, the Raiders are thin up front. They drafted three players, most notably PJ Hall and Maurice Hurst who could fit in right away. Khalil Mack (DE) is another budding superstar.
Oakland also added plenty of veterans like Martavis Bryant and Jordy Nelson to boost their receivers and Rashaan Melvin (CB) and Marcus Gilchrist (S) to upgrade the defensive backfield. The new coaches are also a boost. This team will have little excuses if they can’t make a deep playoff run.
Seattle Seahawks Outlook
On offence, it’s Wilson and a whole lot of nothing. And on defence, it’s the linebackers and not much else. The Seahawks gutted the roster letting of pretty much everyone on defence. Their defensive line is as thin as their offensive line and they hardly addressed either unit in the draft.
Wilson will be running around even more in 2018 as he also doesn’t have too many options at receiver or tight end. Tyler Lockett has been a disappointment and Brandon Marshall doesn’t have much left. As for their running backs, Seattle reached for Rashaad Penny, who is solid but not a home run by any stretch.
The secondary was once the Seahawks’ backbone but outside Shaq Griffin, everyone else is questionable. Carroll is one hell of a coach so the Seahawks will be competitive. But they lack quality players and are destined to a third or last place finish for the next few seasons.
The Seahawks are much worse than the Raiders on paper but they at least have more continuity. Oakland also added many players to the roster and with a brand new coaching staff, they may still just be adapting. The CLink is also still one of the toughest places to play.
The first team will be closer than expected. Wilson is the best player on both sides although he will constantly be attacked by Oakland’s antsy defence. On the other end, Lynch will punish a soft Seahawks’ line. He might even score a touchdown early in the game.
Austin Davis and Alex McGough will finish the game for Seattle. Neither quarterback has enough in-game experience to make a difference but Oakland’s Connor Cook and EJ Manuel don’t inspire much confidence either.
Oakland has better depth, especially on defence where they have veterans and quality draft picks on the but they may be too raw to make a difference as Seattle edges this one out.