The Seattle Seahawks are running out of time to turn their season around, but they have a good opportunity to get back in the win column against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
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Seattle is 4-3 this year and, at the midpoint in the season, they have as many losses as they did all of last year.
Oakland will enter the contest winless at 0-7 and they have lost 13-consecutive regular season games.
On paper, it would seem the Seahawks should roll over the Raiders, but assuming anything in the NFL is a huge mistake.
Last year, Seattle found themselves down 21-0 at the half to a winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers team and had to orchestrate the largest comeback in franchise history to win that game at CenturyLink Field.
The Seahawks don’t want to go through that again, and while I think they will win on Sunday, I don’t think it will be a blowout by any means.
Here are some other predictions regarding Sunday’s game:
1. Marshawn Lynch rushes for 90 yards and a touchdown.
I seem really high on Lynch every single week and every single week the offense finds a way to keep Lynch from posting big time numbers.
Luckily, the Raiders have one of the worst rushing defenses in the league, allowing more than 130 yards per game on the ground.
Plus, Oakland has a decent secondary which may lead to Russell Wilson throwing the ball a little less. That would be good news for Lynch who needs to get into rhythm like he did last year. A big game from him would lead to a big win.
2. Doug Baldwin leads all receivers with six receptions, 95 yards.
Wilson will be throwing the ball less than usual on Sunday, but that should make for a more accurate game.
Baldwin has taken over as the go-to target for the Seahawks and the result should be a big game to compliment Lynch’s run game.
I only expect Wilson to throw the ball 20-25 times on Sunday, but the majority of those passes will be to Baldwin as the Raiders don’t have a solid No. 1 corner to cover him as well as other defenses have this season.
3. Richard Sherman will have an interception.
Sherman hasn’t picked off a pass this year, and he has only defended two passes, but that’s because few quarterbacks have dared challenge him.
Raiders’ rookie QB Derek Carr said this week that he wants to challenge Sherman, the same way he did this preseason when he threw three first half touchdowns against a number of Seahawks starters on defense.
But Sherman is the more experienced player here and while Carr has been impressive, he is more prone to make a mistake on Sunday.
If that mistake is anywhere near Sherman, it’s going to be a turnover.
4. Brock Coyle will tally seven tackles.
Getting his first start in the NFL, in place of the injured Malcolm Smith, Coyle will have a chance to show his place in the middle of the Seahawks defense.
He lead the team in tackles this preseason and should have some opportunities against the Raiders as well.
Oakland has the worst rushing attack in the NFL, averaging fewer than 70 yards per game on the ground, but that doesn’t mean they won’t still try to run the ball to compliment Carr’s passing attack.
The result will be a head-on collision with Coyle who has shown that little gets by him.
Expect a big game from Coyle in his debut.
5. Seahawks will win, 24-13.
The Seattle offense has been in a little bit of a funk lately and the Raiders aren’t as bad as their record indicates.
I still expect a Seattle victory, but it will probably be a much closer game than it would have been if these teams would have met last year.
The Seahawks should finish the weekend at 5-3 with their season back on track. This would be a big win and keep their playoff hopes alive.