The NFL is sending a couple of west coast teams across the pond as the Seattle Seahawks face the Oakland Raiders in Week 6. Kickoff is set for 1:00 EST on Sunday, October 14, at Wembley Stadium in London. The game will be available in certain markets on Fox.
The Week 6 NFL odds tell us that the Seahawks are 3-point favorites for this neutral site contest. That line has moved up slightly after Seattle began the week favored by 2.5 points. The over/under for the game is set at 48 points.
Jon Gruden and the Raiders head to London desperate for a win. Oakland started the season 0-3 before stealing a win against the Browns a couple weeks ago. However, they got back on the losing side of things last week, dropping a 26-10 division game to the Chargers to fall to 1-4 on the season.
Oakland will have a bye week after their trip to London and then enjoy a manageable schedule in late October and November. However, a few winnable games in November isn’t going to matter much if the Raiders head into their bye week at 1-5. A loss this week could be enough to officially flush Oakland’s season down the drain.
Of course, the Seahawks also head to London approaching must-win territory. Seattle missed a golden opportunity to score a huge win against the Rams last week. However, they let a 31-24 4th quarter lead slip away, ultimately losing a 33-31 heartbreaker at home.
That loss dropped the Seahawks to 2-3 on the season and a full three games back of the Rams for the top spot in the NFC West. At this point, staying in contention for a wild-card spot may be the best-case scenario for the Seahawks. Of course, even that would be difficult if they drop to 2-4, so they need this game just as much as the Raiders do.
Neither of these teams is all that reliable right now, so it gives me some pause to swallow the points and lean toward Seattle. However, the Seahawks are at least moving in the right direction after two wins and a close loss whereas the Raiders took two steps backward following their only win of the year. With Seattle trending upward ever so slightly, I think they’ll be able to win and cover against the Raiders.
Offensively, Seattle is finally starting to come around. After all, they’ve scored at least 20 points in four of their five games. Most importantly, they’ve done a better job of protecting Russell Wilson. After getting sacked 12 times in the first two weeks, Wilson has only been sacked six times over the last three weeks. That’s still a few too many sacks, but it’s more manageable than what the Seattle offense was allowing ing early in the season. As a result, we saw an offense last week that was much more efficient.
The key for the Seahawks remains their ability to run the ball. Mike Davis has entered the fold the past couple of weeks, and along with Chris Carson, given the Seattle offense a suitable running back tandem. Seattle being able to run the ball plays to Wilson’s strengths as a quarterback. The Seahawks are averaging 158 yards per game rushing over the last three weeks, which has coincided with Wilson throwing five touchdowns and no interceptions over that span.
This week, the Seahawks will face an Oakland defense that’s giving up 127 yards per game and close to five yards per carry on the ground. The Raiders haven’t been able to stop the run or put much pressure on opposing quarterbacks this season. If that trend continues, I expect the Seahawks to continue building off the success they had on offense last week against the Rams. Even with a lackluster performance from their wide receivers this season, Wilson should have a good game against a defense giving up nearly 30 points per game.
As usual, that will put a lot of pressure on Derek Carr to keep the Raiders in the game with his arm. For what it’s worth, the Seattle defense has been vulnerable against the run this season. When Marshawn Lynch rushes for 60 or more yards, the Raiders have either won or kept the game within one possession, so running the ball has been vital for Oakland this year.
If the Raiders can get Lynch going this week, Carr will have a chance to move the ball against a Seattle defense that gave up over 300 yards through the air to Jared Goff last week. That being said, the Seahawks are middle of the pack defensively and more than capable of slowing down one-dimensional offenses. Unless Lynch can break 100 yards on the ground, I think the Seattle defense can keep Carr and the Raiders contained.
Ultimately, unless the Raiders can fix their defensive issues against the run or their inability to put pressure on the quarterback, a shootout is the best-case scenario for them. In a shootout, Seattle’s defense should be able to provide enough resistance to create some separation. That makes me feel good about the Seahawks being able to cover a field goal in London.