When: Sunday, 1:05 p.m., CenturyLink Field
Records: Seahawks 2-6 and tied for second in the NFC West; Ravens 6-2 and tied for first in the AFC North
TV: CBS (channel 7 in Seattle), with Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf
Radio: 710 ESPN and 97.3 FM, with Steve Raible, Warren Moon and Jen Mueller
Rest of the West: 49ers (7-1) vs. Giants; Cardinals (2-6) at Eagles; Rams (1-7) at Browns
Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch vs. Ravens LB Ray Lewis: “Beast Mode” meets the Baltimore Beast, and if ever there was a matchup to describe “collision course,” this is it. Lynch ran for a season-high 135 yards against the Cowboys last week and had 98 in the upset victory over the Giants in Week 5, and his most impressive runs continue to be those where he gains a yard or two on players where he should have lost a yard or three. Lewis leads the Ravens with 60 tackles, and his most impressive plays remain those where he knocks the ball carrier down rather than tackles him. He’s also got two sacks, an interception and has forced two fumbles. So if ever there was a matchup to describe “something’s got to give,” this is it.
One to watch
The Seahawks run defense vs. Ravens running back Ray Rice: It’s bounce-back time for the Seahawks’ D, after yielding their first 100-yard rushing performance to the Cowboys’ DeMarco Murray (22 for 139) as well as season highs in rushing yards (163) and per-carry average (5.6) last week. Murray hurt the Seahawks with some cutback moves, and the Seahawks hurt themselves with some poor fits and too many missed tackles. Rice has put up numbers as a runner (532 yards, 4.0-yard average, six touchdowns) and receiver (39 catches, 10.9-yard average, two touchdowns). But the Seahawks need to make him be the runner he was against the Steelers last week (43 yards, 2.4-yard average) and not the runner he was against the Steelers in the season opener (107 yards, 5.6-yard average).
Fun to watch
Seahawks FS Earl Thomas and SS Kam Chancellor vs. Ravens QB Joe Flacco: This kids’ stuff matchup includes the Seahawks’ second-year safety tandem limiting the big-play capability of the Ravens’ fourth-year passer. Flacco will take his deep shots, as rookie wide receiver Torrey Smith has a 74-yard TD reception; and wide receiver, and the Seahawks’ old nemesis, Anquan Boldin has 56- and 37-yard receptions. Flacco’s passer rating is 76.9 and he’s completing 54.7 percent of his passes, but as Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley points out, “It’s because a lot of his passes, he takes shots; it’s not hit a spot receiver or a 5-yard pass, it’s to take shots.” Chancellor and especially Thomas need to be there to deflect them.
One tough task
Flacco vs. the 12th MAN: This will be Flacco’s first game at the noise factory that CenturyLink Field can become when the Seahawks’ fans get it revved up. Asked this week what he knows about playing in Seattle, Flacco said, “That it’s loud. That’s what I’ve heard, so we’ve got to be ready for that … I’ve heard it’s one of the loudest places ever.” As Flacco looks for his third consecutive 300-yard passing performance, the 12th MAN needs to make sure that Flacco ain’t heard nothing yet.
The Seahawks and Ravens are allowing an average of 3.4 yards per rushing play, second-best in the league. … The Ravens have allowed 13 first-quarter points in eight games, while the Seahawks have scored 36 first-half points. … Boldin leads the Ravens with 41 receptions for a 15.3-yard average. In 10 games against the Seahawks while playing for the Cardinals, he averaged 91.6 receiving yards. He also has 14 catches in his past two games, and needs 16 receiving yards to reach 9,000 for his career. … The Ravens have won their past five games against NFC opponents, including victories over the Rams and Cardinals this season. … The Ravens’ No. 2-ranked defense is allowing an average of 16.3 points, also second in the NFL to the 49ers (14.8). … The Ravens lead the AFC with 26 sacks. … Seahawks QB Tarvaris Jackson has passed for 300-plus yards in his past two games at CenturyLink Field – 323 against the Bengals and 319 against the Falcons. … Lynch is looking to score a touchdown in his fifth consecutive game. … Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin leads the Seahawks with 28 receptions, which is third among all rookies in the NFL. He has 10 catches for 157 yards in his past two home games. … Sidney Rice has 18 catches for 290 yards in his past three home games. … MLB David Hawthorne leads the Seahawks in tackles (54).