Week 9 preview and prediction: Seahawks at Ravens

The Seattle Seahawks will head to the Charm City of Baltimore to face the 6-2 Ravens in a showdown between two division leaders. Sunday will mark the biggest test the Seahawks have had this season, and it certainly won’t be a walk in the park for them.

This is the first meeting between these teams since 2019, when the Ravens stole a 30-16 win at Lumen Field. Seattle fell victim to quarterback Lamar Jackson in his spectacular MVP season, as he rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown. Jackson and the Baltimore offense wore down a suspect Seahawks defense, leading two lengthy scoring drives in the second half to ice the game. One went 11 plays for 62 yards and a touchdown, the other was 13 plays for 96 yards for a field goal.

So far in 2023, Jackson is quietly putting together another great year. He has completed 70% of his passes for 1,767 yards, nine touchdowns against only three interceptions, and has rushed for 380 yards and five scores on the ground. Unsurprisingly, Jackson has the Ravens offense as one of the best rushing teams in football again, as they have rushed for at least 100 yards in 24-straight games – the longest active streak in football.

The Seahawks defense is vastly improved this year, especially against the run, and looks to be the best incarnation of this unit we’ve seen in years. But against the Cleveland Browns, some cracks in the armor were exposed. Cleveland rushed 40 times as a team for 155 yards and a touchdown.

In fairness to Seattle, the Browns run the ball as good as anyone, and it’s the only way their offense works due to the passing limitations of their quarterback. Unfortunately, such limitations do not exist for Jackson and the Ravens. The acquisition of Leonard Williams at the trade deadline should help the Seahawks slow down the ground attack.

But where I think the difference in this game will come down to is which offense will be able to make enough plays against the good defense. Sadly, I think right now there is a decisive edge here in favor of Baltimore.

Prediction: Ravens over Seahawks 24-17 

Ever since they’ve returned from their bye, the Seahawks offense has hardly looked like the well-oiled machine they were against Detroit or Carolina. Seattle’s offense has looked shaky and inconsistent at best, and downright discombobulated at worst. The Seahawks cruised to 17 first quarter points against the Browns, but did score again until 0:38 seconds left in the game.

True, Geno Smith and Co. did show up when it mattered most. But they arguably wouldn’t have even been in the situation for heroics if Cleveland hadn’t decided to attempt an ill-fated pass on third down and kept running the ball. Rest assured, Baltimore will not make a similar mistake if they’re in the same situation.

When the Seahawks offense is firing on all cylinders, they can seemingly score at will. However, this is not happening as of late, and they’ve sure drawn an unfavorable matchup to try to get back on track.

Keeping Lamar Jackson off the field is paramount, as he is excellent at keeping opposing offenses off himself. There will be limited opportunities for the Seahawks offense, and each possession will matter more than normal.  Regrettably, extending drives is not something Seattle is excelling at as of late. Third downs have become a considerable issue.

If the Seahawks are unable to stay on the field, keep the time of possession battle close, or turn drives into points, it will be a long and frustrating afternoon for them in Baltimore.

More Seahawks Wire stories

Seahawks to wear all white jerseys for Week 9

Power rankings: Titans take huge jump, Seahawks up 4

Seahawks trade for Giants DL Leonard Williams

Tyler Locket ‘absolutely not’ planning to play as long as Jason Peters

Story originally appeared on Seahawks Wire