RAVENS PASSING GAME: Quarterback Lamar Jackson has tailed off from his hot start as a passer. In Sunday’s 23-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, he completed 21 of 33 for 236 yards but ended the day frustrated with the Ravens’ inability to finish drives in the end zone. Jackson’s top deep threat, Marquise Brown, missed the Bengals game with an ankle injury and did not practice on Wednesday. Ravens coach John Harbaugh said the rookie is day to day. In Brown’s absence, Jackson struggled to find downfield targets, with no wide receiver catching more than three passes or gaining more than 18 yards on a single play. Tight end Mark Andrews resumed his place as the team’s most productive receiver with six catches on eight targets for 99 yards against the Bengals, but he also fumbled on an ill-advised attempt to hurdle several defenders. The Ravens rank 14th in the NFL in passing and 11th in yards per attempt after six weeks.
SEAHAWKS PASSING GAME: Quarterback Russell Wilson has put himself at the front of the MVP race with 14 touchdown passes, zero interceptions and a 124.7 passer rating through six games. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said he’s never seen Wilson play better, which is saying something considering the eight-year veteran was already a Hall of Fame candidate. Wide receiver Tyler Lockett leads the team with 35 catches for 454 yards, and Wilson has also forged a fruitful connection with rookie speed burner D.K. Metcalf, who’s averaging 21 yards per catch. Chris Carson is a solid receiving threat out of the backfield with 19 catches on 21 targets and two touchdowns. But Seattle’s passing offense, which ranks eighth in the league overall and third in yards per attempt, suffered a blow when tight end Will Dissly (23 catches for 262 yards and a team-high four touchdowns) went down with a season-ending Achilles injury.
RAVENS RUNNING GAME: The Ravens piled up 269 rushing yards and averaged 6.3 yards per attempt against a porous Bengals run defense. They lead the league with averages of 205 rushing yards per game and 5.5 yards per attempt. With Cincinnati plugging the middle, the Ravens relied heavily on designed runs for Jackson, who gained a career-high 152 yards on 19 carries. Both Jackson and lead running back Mark Ingram II, who made the most of limited room against the Bengals, are on pace to exceed 1,000 yards for the season. Gus Edwards has been a powerful tertiary threat with 199 yards and a 4.5-yard per-carry average through six games. With their running success, the Ravens controlled the ball for almost two-thirds of the game clock in their victory over Cincinnati.
SEAHAWKS RUNNING GAME: Carson has been a productive if unspectacular runner, averaging 84 yards per game and 4.3 yards per carry. Wilson isn’t running as often or as productively as he did five years ago but remains a significant threat on the ground with 151 yards and three touchdowns through six games. The Seahawks rank ninth in the NFL in rushing but just 17th in yards per carry.
RAVENS RUSH DEFENSE: After rough outings in Weeks 3 and 4, the Ravens have returned to their run-stuffing ways, holding their last two opponents to a combined 110 yards. They held Bengals running back Joe Mixon to a paltry 10 yards on eight carries. Middle linebacker Josh Bynes has helped with his dependable play against the run. But the team’s strength remains on the front, where Michael Pierce, Brandon Williams and Chris Wormley have effectively plugged the middle. The Ravens rank fourth in the league in rushing defense, and opponents have mostly avoided testing them, with just 110 attempts through six games.
SEAHAWKS RUSH DEFENSE: The Seahawks rank 11th in the NFL in run defense but have allowed opponents to average 4.7 yards per carry, eighth worst in the league. Linebacker Bobby Wagner leads the Seahawks in tackles and grades as one of the best run defenders at his position, according to Pro Football Focus. His inside partner, K.J. Wright, ranks second on the team in tackles but missed practice Wednesday because of a knee injury. Seattle’s interior linemen, Quinton Jefferson, Poona Ford and Al Woods, have all played well against the run.
RAVENS PASS DEFENSE: The Ravens held Bengals quarterback to a 61.4 passer rating despite playing with a patchwork secondary. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey was particularly impressive against Cincinnati’s top receiver, Tyler Boyd, holding him to 10 yards on three catches. The Ravens could look substantially different in Seattle after trading for cornerback Marcus Peters on Tuesday. Peters has been one of the leading playmakers at his position in recent years and has received excellent coverage grades from Pro Football Focus this season. Meanwhile, the Seattle trip will carry extra weight for safety Earl Thomas III, who built a potential Hall of Fame resume over nine seasons with the Seahawks. Both Thomas and recently installed starter Chuck Clark played well in Cincinnati. The Ravens sacked Dalton twice but are still searching for a productive pass-rush formula. They’ll be tested by Wilson, who’s as good against blitzes as any quarterback in the league.
SEAHAWKS PASS DEFENSE: This has been a weakness as Seattle ranks 23rd in the league in pass defense and has allowed opponents to average 7.9 yards per attempt. Shaquill Griffin grades as one of the NFL’s top cover cornerbacks, according to Pro Football Focus, but his partner, Tre Flowers, has not held up his end of the bargain. The Seahawks’ linebackers have also been vulnerable in coverage. Despite trading for edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney in the offseason, Seattle has struggled to reach opposing quarterbacks, ranking 28th in the league in sacks per pass play.
RAVENS SPECIAL TEAMS: Justin Tucker has won AFC Special Teams Player of the Week each of the last two weeks and has made all 13 of his field-goal attempts this season. Sam Koch has put nine of his 15 punts inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. The Ravens suffered a rare lapse in coverage Sunday, allowing the Bengals to return their opening kickoff for a touchdown. They still hold a significant net advantage on punts, averaging 12.3 yards per return while surrendering just 5.5 yards per return.
SEAHAWKS SPECIAL TEAMS: Kicker Jason Myers has made five of seven field-goal attempts and 18 of 19 extra-point attempts. Michael Dickson has been a below-average punter with a net average of 39.4 yards and just 11 of his 28 punts ending up inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. The Seahawks have also handled returns poorly, with significant net yardage disadvantages on both punts and kickoffs.
RAVENS INTANGIBLES: The Ravens are 2-1 on the road this season and stayed competitive in their toughest away date against the Kansas City Chiefs. They certainly won’t look past this game given Thomas’ Seattle homecoming and their desire to finish strong headed into their bye week. But they’re still sorting through a significant personnel shuffle on defense, with Peters the latest new addition.
SEAHAWKS INTANGIBLES: The Seahawks have won three straight and are tied for the second best record in the NFL at 5-1. Like the Ravens, they’ve dominated at home over the last decade. Carroll has become an institution atop the organization. Wilson gives the Seahawks confidence they can pull out any game, even though their defense bears little resemblance to the “Legion of Boom” crew from a few years ago.
PREDICTION: The Ravens always seem to get up for talented opponents on the road. As usual, their greatest advantage will be their high-volume, high-efficiency running attack. Their under-construction defense will struggle to contain Russell Wilson, and Seattle’s home field advantage can’t be ignored. But the Ravens will control the clock and edge out a key upset going into their bye week. Ravens 30, Seahawks 27.