The Oakland Raiders are among the league’s most popular teams — they aren’t known as Raider Nation for no reason — and Seahawks fans surely remember those games against Oakland/Los Angeles from the days back when both teams were AFC West rivals.
But that was long ago. Here’s five things you need to know about the Seahawks’ opponent for Sunday morning’s game in London.
This is not Oakland’s first international trip
The Oakland Raiders said ’ello! to London back in 2014 and were defeated by the Miami Dolphins, 38-14.
The Raiders have played in a total of three international contests (tied for second most among NFL teams). The other two games were in Mexico City. In 2016, Oakland upended the Houston Texans, 27-20, and just last year, the New England Patriots defeated the Raiders 33-8 behind a three-touchdown performance from Tom Brady.
Red zone woes
Last week against the Los Angeles Chargers, the Raiders were faced with a problem a lot of Seahawks fans would understand: Run or throw near the goal line?
The Raiders were at the 1-yard line, and instead of handing the ball to Marshawns Lynch, they opted to have quarterback Derek Carr throw into the end zone. The result was an interception by Chargers linebacker Melvin Ingram that helped seal the Raiders’ loss.
Those problems illustrate a season-long issue for Oakland. The team ranks in the bottom third of the league in red zone efficiency at 47.3 percent.
Just imagine what that scenario playing out Sunday. And should Lynch not get the ball? Oh my.
Chucky vs. The Hawks
Jon Gruden, the former Monday Night Football commentator and pitchman for Corona beer — he was the operator of the “Gruden Hotline” commercial — is back on the sideline after being away from the NFL for 10 years.
The Raiders have stumbled to a 1-4 record in 2018 but there’s a little success in his coaching past against the Seahawks. Gruden, while coaching the Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has gone 6-6 against Seattle.
The last time Gruden saw the Seattle squad was in his final season as the Bucs head coach, a 20-10 victory by Tampa Bay in 2008.
Gruden hates to fly long distance
Gruden is an intense guy, not sure if anybody has ever pointed that out. That intensity could be tested as Gruden and his team will make the overseas trip and endure a 14-hour plane ride on Thursday, something that Gruden isn’t looking forward to.
Sunday’s “Family Reunion”
Once the clock hits zero on Sunday in London, expect both sides to give out hugs and take plenty of pictures as a total of 10 players and coaches will have played for both the Seahawks and Raiders. Of course you know about Marshawn Lynch, Bruce Irvin and Sebastian Jankowski but expect guys like former Seahawks OC Tom Cable to share a hug or two with some of his former guys.