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The Seattle Seahawks are heading to London for the first time. One of the things they hope to import from the United States is continued positivity from a two-point home loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
Seattle gets a chance to discover if there actually is any carryover effect when they face the Oakland Raiders and former running back Marshawn Lynch on Sunday at Wembley Stadium.
"I think it's going to be an exciting event," Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said. "Nobody has home field, so we just go ahead and go for it, kind of like a bowl game and we'll go make the most of it."
Intending to maintain the weekly schedule as normal as possible, Carroll said the Seahawks chose to leave for London on Wednesday rather than earlier in the week to help initiate game-planning before making the 11-hour flight. Of all the legitimate concerns undertaking this lengthy trip, he wants to establish a healthy sleeping schedule right away to help players and coaches adjust well before game day.
"There is some science to it," Carroll said. "We'll try to sleep on the way over and then keeping them up the day that we get there so that they can get a regular night's sleep, a real healthy night's sleep without going to sleep during the day - that's one of the big issues. Then we have days to turn it around."
The Seahawks will be the visiting team a week after a 33-31 loss to the Rams in Week 5. Seattle has yet to play a game decided by more than nine points and Carroll anticipates another close affair
"They've been ahead and had chances to play well in every game. Their games, they've struggled to get the finish," Carroll stated respectfully. "They've got a lot of fire power, they've got a lot of offense. It's a star-studded offensive group that they have there."
One of those familiar names is Lynch, who had a season-high 130 yards in a wild 45-42 overtime win over Cleveland two weeks ago but was held to a season-low 31 in last week's 26-10 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers that for Lynch featured a flashback to Seattle's loss in Super Bowl XLIX against the New England Patriots.
Down 20-3, the Raiders had a first-and-goal on the 1-yard line. They lined up with three tight ends on the line and Lynch in the backfield.
Quarterback Derek Carr faked to Lynch and then threw the ball directly at defensive end Melvin Ingram III. It was Carr's third end-zone interception of the season, and eighth overall, ingloriously tying him for the league lead.
It was similar to when Lynch ran to the left flat as a decoy in the Super Bowl and Russell Wilson was intercepted by Malcolm Butler instead of handing off to Lynch.
Lynch avoided chatting with the media, but he did offer a remark for an ESPN reporter on the way out of the locker room.
"I done seen it happen to me on the game's biggest stage," Lynch said. "Now it's happened in a regular-season game. It's alright, though."
What was not all right was when Lynch parted ways with the Seahawks. He was displaced as the starter, announced his retirement via twitter in Feb. 2016 and in April 2017, he signed with the Raiders.
Last season he gained 891 yards rushing with seven touchdowns. He goes into Sunday ninth in the league with 331 yards rushing.
"I think he looks really, very much the same," Carroll said this week. "I really like the way he is playing. I mean last year and this year. He looks in the same style, in the same mode, aggressive and explosive. He's averaging over four yards a carry. I think he's doing pretty good."
Carr, however is not doing very well. The Raiders have racked up the sixth-most offensive yards in the league, but are 29th in points (149) and their nine turnovers are among the highest in the league.
Five of Carr's eight interceptions have occurred on first downs.
"Interceptions are bad on any down - first down, second down, third down," head coach Jon Gruden said "He's too good a player to throw any and I believe that. I think we can correct these interceptions and we are going to correct these interceptions."
The Raiders are making their second trip to London and fourth trip for an international game. They took a 28-14 loss to Miami in London in 2014 before splitting a pair of games in Mexico City against Houston and New England.
Sunday is the fifth meeting between the former AFC West rivals since Seattle relocated to the NFC in 2002. The teams have split four meetings since then with Seattle recording a 30-24 win in the most recent matchup in 2014.
Updated October 11, 2018