Originally written November 09, 2012 on NorthWest Sports Beat:
Jets, Seahawks Matchup Closer then Records Would Suggest You’ve heard all about the Jets, they are consistently the lead story on Sports Center every night and have one of the most infamous backup quarterbacks in NFL history and perhaps one of the most outspoken head coaches in sports. Things have not gone their way this year. They have lost their best defensive player Derrelle Revis as well as arguably their best offensive player Santionio Holmes to injury early in the season. At 3-5 most people are making this into the easiest team the Seattle Seahawks have played all season. Not so fast Seahawk fans, you are looking at two teams that have a lot of similarities which could make for very close game. After the first nine game of the season we wouldn’t expect anything less. At 5-4 the Seahawks control their own playoff destiny with seven games remaining it all starts with on Sunday against the Jets at Century Link Field. Here’s what I’ll be looking for. Continued Success at Home The Seahawks are 4-0 at home for the first time since 2005 when the Seahawks went to the Superbowl. The Jets on the other hand have only had one victory on the road this year. The Seahawks are 4-0 in Seattle for the first time since 2005 The Seahawks have shown signs of improvement on the road but it is obvious that they are a far superior team at home. Look for the Seahawks to come out of the tunnel ready to go in front of the 12th man this weekend. Moving the Ball on the Ground The Jets and the Seahawks statistically are close together in many areas. However the one area that the Seahawks may be able to exploit the Jets is on the ground. Coming into week 10 the Jets have the 29th ranked rushing defense and will go up against a hungry Marshawn Lynch who is only 119 yards away from going over 1,000 yards for the season. The Seahawks come into the game with the seventh ranked rushing offense and you can bet that a heavy dose of beast mode is in the game plan against the Jets. The running game will be key to the Seahawks overall offensive success on Sunday especially when it comes to opening up the passing game for Russell Wilson. Even with the loss of Revis the Jets still have a solid secondary who will be very hard to move the ball against without a sustained rushing attack. Finding the End Zone in the Red Zone Offense One thing that the Seahawks struggled with early in the season was scoring touchdowns inside of their opponents’ 20 yard line. Too often they were settling for field goals leaving valuable points on the field. So far the Seahawks are scoring touchdowns 44.44% of the time they are in the red zone which currently puts them 25th in the NFL. We have been seeing steps in the right direction the past three games where they have been at 60%. Last week against the Vikings the Seahawks scored three crucial red zone touchdowns leading to a 30-20 victory. On the other side of the football the Seahawks have been one of the best defenses in limiting the damage opposing team offenses make in the red zone. The Seahawk defense has limited the opposition to scoring touchdowns only 42.31% of the time they get inside the 20 yard line, which ranks them eight in the NFL. The Jets on the other hand find themselves in the bottom half of the rankings in both red zone offense and defense where they sit 20th and 27th respectively. Defensive Challenges Last week the Seahawks defense struggled to control Adrian Peterson, all though it should be noted that for the most part he was kept in check in the second half. The Jets don’t have a high powered running back like Peterson but still have the 14th best rushing attack in the NFL and are more than capable. It is critical that the Seahawks defense keeps the Jets running backs in check. It is critical that the Seahawks defense keeps the Jets running backs in check. The jets have three listed on the depth chart, all of whom have seen playing time this season and have had some success. Something else to look out for is Tim Tebow who may get some playing time at running back this week. It still remains to be seen whether this is just decoy comment by Rex Ryan or if he actually intends to do this but regardless it is still something to be on the lookout for. The Seahawks secondary will be matched up against a wide receiver group who without Holmes are relatively unknown. However they shouldn’t this group who has shown that they can have success through the air shouldn’t be over looked. It will be business as usual for the “legion of boom” who will once again be asked to make life hard for a young quarterback. Its also important to mention that Pete Carroll, who coached Mark Sanchez at USC, might know more about Sanchez then most people do in the NFL. The Seahawks defense have the capabilities to shutdown the Jets rushing and passing which is why I wouldn’t be surprised to see some unique Tebow packages. Rex Ryan Vs. Rookie Quarterbacks Say what you will about the Jets head coach but he is one of the best defensive minds in the game today. Ryan loves to make life difficult on quarterbacks, especially young rookie quarterbacks. Wilson is expected to be under heavy pressure throughout the game. This will be an interesting test not only for Wilson but for the young offensive line. Wilson has been progressing every week and his elusiveness and athleticism make him a handful for any defense. CLICK HERE CHECK OUT THE SEAHAWKS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE AT NWSB!
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