Seattle (4-2) at Oakland (3-4)

By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO, STATS Writer Friday, Oct 29, 2010 Kickoff: 4:15 pm EDT Sun Oct 31, 2010

The Seattle Seahawks are sitting atop the NFC West in one of the biggest surprises this season. The Oakland Raiders are providing stunning performances of their own.

Only one will see its momentum continue in Week 8.

The Seahawks will try to create some breathing room atop the division by beating the Raiders in Oakland for the first time in nearly 13 years Sunday.

Seattle (4-2) was expected to be in transition after hiring Pete Carroll following a pair of difficult seasons, including a 5-11 finish a year ago.

Instead, the Seahawks are off to their best start since 2006 and are alone atop the West after beating Arizona 22-10 last week to take a one-game lead over the Cardinals.

Carroll, however, feels there’s still room for improvement after the offense mustered one touchdown and needed five field goals from Olindo Mare(notes) as drives stalled in the red zone. Seattle is tied for 24th in red-zone efficiency, scoring 40 percent of the time.

“We learned a lot and take a lot out of it, but we’ve got to go to work, get stuff ironed out and fixed to help us and keep us going,” Carroll said.

While the Seahawks are surprisingly leading the division, the Raiders (3-4) are looking to win consecutive games for the first time since the end of the 2008 season.

They’ll be trying to build on a tremendous showing after setting a franchise record for points in last week’s 59-14 win at Denver. The stunning performance included eight touchdowns and 508 yards a week after Oakland totaled 179 yards and failed to get in the end zone during a 17-9 loss in San Francisco.

Consistency is an issue for coach Tom Cable.

“If you show it to us and you show me what you’re capable of and you’ve been able to do it more than once, it’s expected,” he said. “It’s called raising the bar. And when you raise the bar you’ve got to be accountable to that.”

Jason Campbell(notes) is hoping to prove his reliability to Cable after he completed 12 of 20 passes for 204 yards with two touchdowns and a 127.9 passer rating against the Broncos in his second game replacing the injured Bruce Gradkowski(notes) (shoulder).

Campbell didn’t come close to being that productive against the 49ers, completing 8 of 21 attempts for 83 yards with two interceptions for a 10.7 rating - the worst for a Raider in 35 years.

Campbell will make his third straight start, and Cable said Friday there’s a chance Gradkowski could be healthy enough to be the backup.

Oakland will be facing a Seattle defense that held Arizona to 227 yards while creating five turnovers - one fewer than its total from the previous four games.

Despite the overall success against the Cardinals, the unit allowed a season-high 113 rushing yards partly due to the absence of defensive tackle Brandon Mebane(notes) (calf).

Stopping the run could be a problem again with Mebane’s status uncertain against the Raiders, who compiled 328 yards on the ground last week with Darren McFadden(notes) accounting for 165 and three scores on 16 carries.

Seattle is trying to end a five-game losing streak in Oakland dating to December 1997, and continued success on the ground may help.

The Seahawks have totaled 255 rushing yards over the last two games - both wins - after topping 100 yards once in the previous four. Marshawn Lynch(notes) got the bulk of the carries against the Broncos, gaining 89 yards on 24 rushes in his second game since being acquired from Buffalo.

Protecting Matt Hasselbeck(notes), who was sacked five times last week, could also be an issue with rookie left tackle Russell Okung’s(notes) status in question due to a left high ankle sprain.

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