The fun is over. Week nine marks the time of the season things will get very serious for the Oakland Raiders as they pay the defending champs a visit.
Subplot: Weathering the storm
Just beating the Seattle Seahawks alone is a very difficult endeavor. Beating them on their home field is something else entirely. In two years the Hawks have lost one game at CenturyLink Field. Part of that success stems from the outlay of the architecture, maximizing crowd noise to periodic earthquake levels. The other is just the fact that Seattle is a good team. If the Oakland Raiders want any chance to win there, they will have to do what so many other teams haven’t, which is weather the storm of both.
A complete game from Pat Sims and Antonio Smith
Russell Wilson is no slouch as an NFL quarterback, but everybody knows the Seahawks offense doesn’t churn without Marshawn Lynch. His ability to consistently run the football for positive gains is why Seattle won the championship last year. To stop him, the Raiders will need a big game from the interior of their defensive line, nose tackle Pat Sims and new wing man Antonio Smith. How they plug up the middle will tell a huge part of the story in any Oakland victory or defeat.
Let Darren McFadden and MJD pound the ball
Another way that helps teams play well against the Seattle Seahawks is being able to run the ball. It wasn’t easy against that Legion of Boom defense, but teams that at least stuck to it throughout games all had chances to win. Indianapolis, San Francisco and Arizona all rushed at least 25 times in their victories. That means the Oakland Raiders will have to feed the ball to Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew regardless if they’re seeing progress or not. The worst thing the team can do is force Matt Schaub to pass repeatedly against that star-laden secondary in that building.