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3 Seahawks to watch in Week 7 game vs Ravens

Bobby Wagner and the Seahawks' defense will try to contain Ravens QB Lamar Jackson. (Getty)

The Seahawks return to CenturyLink Field after a road win over the Cleveland Browns, but they’ll face an even tougher test from another AFC North team.

Moore: Seahawks’ D too vulnerable to stop Ravens’ high-powered offense

Here are three players to watch in the Seahawks’ game against the Ravens Sunday:

Bobby Wagner

It’s not just Ravens running back Mark Ingram that Seattle will need to contain in the running game. In fact, while Ingram leads the team in touchdowns, he isn’t actually Baltimore’s leading rusher – that would be quarterback Lamar Jackson, who is averaging 76 rushing yards per game this year.

The 1-2 punch of Ingram and Jackson (along with tight end Mark Andrews, who is Jackson’s favorite target) has landed the Ravens atop the league in total offense with a whopping 450 yards per game. No surprise here, but the Ravens also lead the league in rushing offense with an average of 205 yards per game on the ground, which makes them the only team in the league surpassing an average of 200 rushing yards.

Seattle’s defense, particularly Bobby Wagner and the rest of the front seven, will need to contain Jackson. That’s easier said than done.

“It’s one thing when we’re talking about a designed run play,” 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake Heaps said earlier this week. “But the other side of it is when they pass, you could have it perfectly covered and everything’s right, and Lamar Jackson, just like Russell Wilson does at times, will tuck the ball and get a first down. And it’s the most frustrating thing for a defense, and he has that ability to do that. That’s the part where it can be really tough.

“What’s so difficult about the Ravens is that we compare them initially to these academy schools – that typically are not very good at passing the football and may be able to get a few throws down the field or some big plays – well, this Ravens offense isn’t elite at passing the football, but they are more than capable and they’ve got more than enough weapons to make you pay. The run definitely sets up the pass for these guys. If you let them establish the run and get comfortable with that, it’s going to be a long day.”

Jarran Reed

The Seahawks have struggled to consistently rush the passer this year. It’s something head coach Pete Carroll himself has mentioned as an area of focus and improvement, particularly coming off of a win over the Browns where, despite forcing four turnovers,  Seattle’s defense had neither a sack nor a hit of Cleveland QB Baker Mayfield.

Could Jarran Reed be the boost they need? The fourth-year defensive tackle will make his first start Sunday since serving a six-week suspension. Reed could make an immediate impact with his play Sunday, or Sunday could be about what Reed’s presence does for the rest of Seattle’s defensive line.

One beneficiary could be Jadeveon Clowney, who has seen more double teams this year than any other edge rusher. Another could be fellow defensive tackle Poona Ford, whom Carroll said has turned from his own strength of stopping the run to aid with the pass rush.

Whoever fills in for Will Dissly

File this one under TBD.

Second-year tight end Will Dissly suffered a season-ending Achilles injury last week against the Browns (though the team has since received some relatively good news about that). Dissly entered that game as Wilson’s third-most targeted receiver, the team’s leading scorer and the league leader in receiving touchdowns by a tight end. But who fills in for him now that he’s gone?

A top candidate is veteran tight end Luke Willson. Now in his second stint with Seattle, Willson already has a relationship with quarterback Russell Wilson. Even in his most productive seasons, though, Willson wasn’t targeted as much as Dissly has been – granted, that might have been because he was playing behind Jimmy Graham.

While they won’t be able to help as much with blocking, veteran receivers Jaron Brown and David Moore could see more targets as a result of Dissly’s absence. Or Wilson’s second-most targeted player, rookie DK Metcalf, could see an increased workload.

The loss of Dissly won’t be easy to overcome. Despite playing only four games last year, he was on the verge of a breakout season. But if Seattle wants to remain near the top of the league in total offense, they’ll need to find a solution – and fast.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Stacy Rost on Twitter.

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