The Seahawks will play the Oakland Raiders in London Oct. 14 (week 6) as part of their 2018 road schedule, the league announced Thursday. Seattle was one of six franchises that have yet to pull international duty, but will remedy that against their former AFC West rivals at a new stadium (seats 61,559, still under construction) that will serve as home for the Premier League’s Tottenham Hotspur.
Seahawks vs. Raiders will be one of three regular-season contests in London in 2018. The other two are Philadelphia vs. Jacksonville and Los Angeles Chargers vs. Tennessee. Both will be played at Wembley Stadium Oct. 21 and Oct. 28, although the order of games has not yet been determined.
“We continue to be very excited by the growth of the NFL in the UK,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said Monday following the announcement. “The fans have demonstrated outstanding support and passion for the NFL over the past 11 seasons and we look forward to some great games in London this year.
“A key feature of our success is playing in iconic, world-renowned venues like Wembley and Twickenham, and we look forward to playing in what will be another incredible setting for NFL football at Tottenham’s new stadium.”
Said London mayor Sadiq Khan, “I’m delighted Tottenham Hotspur’s fantastic new stadium is joining the line-up of world-class sports arenas in our great city. Once again, London has shown why it is the sporting capital of the world and open to the very best sports events.”
The NFL began its series of regular-season games in London in 2007, when the New York Giants beat the Miami Dolphins at Wembley en route to winning the Super Bowl. The home of English football has now hosted 18 NFL games, with almost 1.5 million fans attending them.
While the Seahawks now know the date and site of one game, they do not know the dates or times of the other 15 regular-season games. The full schedule won’t be announced until April, just ahead of the NFL draft.
The NFL has typically has teams arrive in London around Thursday before the Sunday game, then go on a bye week following the game in England. If the NFL follows form, Seattle will have a bye in week 7. The Seahawks are hoping a trip to Charlotte to play the Panthers can be scheduled for week 5, so they can shorten the flight to London by going directly from North Carolina.
The Seahawks and Raiders, who this week hired Jon Gruden as coach for 10 years and $100 million, have faced each other 52 times in the regular season and twice in the postseason with Oakland holding the overall edge 29-25 (28-24 regular season, 1-1 postseason). The clubs last met in 2014, a 30-24 Seattle win at CenturyLink Field.
In that contest, RB Marshawn Lynch scored two touchdowns and LB Bruce Irvin tallied on a 35-yard interception return. Both players are now with the Raiders, with Lynch entering the second year of a two-year deal set to pay him $4 million in 2018. If Gruden decides he wants Lynch to play a second season with Oakland (he ran for 891 yards and seven TDs in 2017), the London game will be his first against the Seahawks, for whom he played from 2010-15.
Seattle’s first-round pick in the 2012 draft (16th overall), Irvin signed with the Raiders as an unrestricted free agent prior to the 2016 season. He has made 32 consecutive starts for Oakland since. The London game will also be his first against Seattle.