Good morning. I’m getting ready to head out to Oakland Coliseum, but wanted to post my five keys to the game for the Seahawks against the Raiders. If the Seahawks get a victory today, they would be 5-2 for the first time since the team’s Super Bowl season in 2005.
Unleash the Beast: RB Marshawn Lynch won’t say it, but he’s certainly motivated to play well in his return to Oakland, his hometown. And Seattle needs to get the run game going today against one of the worst run defense in the league.
Throw it deep: Once they do get the run game going, there will be opportunities for Seattle to take some shots down the field because the Raiders like to play press coverage. So I think Seattle’s should test them with Deon Butler or Golden Tate and try and stretch the field. But of course I would avoid Nnamdi Asomugha, that’s just a turnover waiting to happen.
Contain McFadden: Running back Darren McFadden is Oakland’s most explosive playmaker, so the Seahawks, ranked second overall in run defense, need to continue to take care of that aspect of the game and make sure they swarm to the ball and wrap up because McFadden is very fast and very elusive.
Pressure the quarterback: The Seahawks have done a good job of getting after the quarterback so far with 19 sacks, good enough for seventh overall in the league. So look for the sub packages where they get Lawyer Milloy, Jordan Babineaux and Roy Lewis in blitz situations. I think Jason Campbell can be pressured into making some mistakes.
Get Leon going: It’s been a couple games since Leon Washington has made some explosive plays, so Seattle needs to figure out a way for him to impact the game, either through special teams or on offense.
My story today focuses on Raiders corner Nnamdi Asomugha, one of the best in the business, and how the Seahawks plan to attack him.
Doug Farrar of Yahoo Sports’ Shutdown Corner wonders if Asomugha is still the best.
Greg Johns of Seattlepi.com offers five things to watch for in today’s game.
Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks are a legitimate contender in the feeble NFC.
Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe talks with Hawks general manager John Schneider about his team’s turnaround. Bedard covered the Packers for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel while Schneider was there.
John Boyle of the Everett Herald says that the Seahawks got it right in drafting rookie safety Earl Thomas.
Dan Pompei in his Sunday Blitz column for the National Football Post says Thomas is in the running for defensive rookie of the year.
Vittorio Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that Oakland quarterback Jason Campbell gets another chance to prove the critics wrong against Seattle.