Here are five keys to the game for the Raiders:
Run the ball:
Josh Jacobs has four 100-yard rushing games this season. The Raiders are 3-1 in those contests. For the Raiders to win games this year, the offense needs to click. It simply works better when Jacobs is going in the ground game. With rain and cold weather in the forecast in Seattle for Sunday, the Raiders will need to establish the running game to win this game. So, feeding Jacobs is key.
The Raiders have committed just seven turnovers in 10 games. It’s the best rate in the NFL. Some of it has to do with luck, but Las Vegas has done a good job in this area. After a three-interception game by quarterback Derek Carr in Week 1, the Raiders have committed just four turnovers in the past nine games. That’s a great rate. Playing against a good team on the road in potentially bad weather, this is an area will the Raiders must continue to have success.
Get to Geno:
The Raiders had three sacks against Denver last week. Las Vegas has six sacks in two games against the Broncos and seven sacks in their other eight games. Denver has been allowing quarterback Russell Wilson to hit at a high rate. So, the Raiders need to show they can get to a quarterback other than Wilson. Making Geno Smith, who is having a solid season, uncomfortable is paramount for Patrick Graham’s defense.
Play up to the competition:
The Seahawks are 6-4. Thus, this will be the first time since Week 5, at Kansas City, that the Raiders are playing a team with a winning record. The Raiders have played five straight games against teams with losing records and they have been favorites in seven of the first 10 games. Yet, they are just 3-7 overall and 2-3 in this stretch against the league’s bottom dwellers. The Raiders need to prove they can beat teams other than the Broncos and Houston Texans, who are a combined 4-15-1. The Seahawks aren’t great, but they’re capable and the Raiders are going to have to bring it. The schedule is toughening up some the rest of the way for the Raiders. Their final seven opponents are a combined 37-33. The Raiders first 10 opponents are a combined 42-48-2.
Watch the penalties:
The Raiders need to work on their penalty issues. They were flagged nine times for 98 yards at Denver. They are committing an averaging 6.9 penalties a game, which is the fifth worst rate in the league. To beat a good team on the road, Josh McDaniels’ team has to play cleaner. They likely won’t be receiving the same gifts the Broncos delivered last week. One thing that may play into the Raiders’ favor in this area is that the Seahawks are averaging 7.2 penalties a game, which is the third worst rate in the NFL.