OAKLAND, Calif. -- Seeing an Oakland Raiders fan sitting beside a Seattle Seahawks fan during my flight to Oakland -- there were no injuries, only some obligatory smack talk -- brought back memories from old AFC West battles between the teams.
Seattle's game at Oakland in Week 8 is the team's first road game against the Raiders since the 2002 opener, the Seahawks first game back in the AFC West. Oakland won that game, 31-17, during a Super Bowl season featuring MVP quarterback Rich Gannon throwing to Tim Brown and Jerry Rice. The Raiders finished that game with a 423-186 yardage advantage as Seattle committed 13 penalties and converted only once in 11 third-down chances.
Matt Hasselbeck is the only Seahawks player left from that 2002 game. Then as now, the Seahawks were playing without their starting left tackle. Floyd Womack started at left tackle in that game while Walter Jones held out for a new contract. This time, Tyler Polumbus starts at left tackle for Seattle while Russell Okung recovers from an ankle injury.
The Raiders are favored Sunday. If you haven't graced us with your prediction for this and other NFC West games, please do so right here.