Crash and Burn …5 Keys To A Seahawks Victory Over the NY Jets …
The Seahawks come in to this Sunday soaring high after repelling a barbarian invasion and giving those raiders of the North a Viking Funeral. On approach this week is a Jets team whose season has in many ways mirrored the devastation of the state from which they hail. Will they complete a successful bombing run of Century Link Field … or will they continue their season long crash and burn? Though the impulse is to overlook what looks to be a Spruce Goose of an adversary … the Jets are a team that are quite capable of strafing the runway, causing some havoc, and shooting up opponents on any given Sunday. Here are 5 Keys to a Seahawks Victory against the Jets this Sunday …Take the Student to School …
It was in January of 2009 that then USC head coach Pete Carroll announced publicly
that his quarterback Mark Sanchez was making a mistake in leaving school after his Junior Season for the NFL Draft. Well, four years in to Sanchez’s NFL career it’s hard to argue against the fact that Carroll was right. Sanchez has become a competent (though unspectacular) quarterback … and is currently in the middle of the most difficult year of his young career.
On the season, Mark Sanchez has completed 144 of 272 pass attempts (52.9% Comp) … for 1,736 Yards … 10 TD … 8 INT …and has a 6.38 Yards/Pass Comp average.
On the surface, those numbers don’t appear to be too bad. BUT, when you delve deeper in to them and start comparing his stats to those of other starting QB’s … the truth of just how bad those numbers are becomes quickly evident …
Sanchez’s 52.9% Pass Completion Rate is the lowest of any starting QB in the NFL.
Those numbers above calculate translate to a Quarterback Rating of only 72.8. The only starting quarterbacks who have been worse are: Kansas City’s Matt Cassell (68.9), Cleveland’s rookie starter Brandon Weeden (67.9), and Arizona’s John Skelton [65.8]. And the thing with Sanchez … is that he hasn’t really shown any true appreciable improvement since his rookie season …
2009 --- 63.0 Passer Rating
2010 --- 75.3 Passer Rating
2011 --- 78.2 Passer Rating
2012 --- 72.8 Passer Rating
For those who aren’t familiar with it, ESPN’s new statistic Total Quarterback Rating (QBR) is an advanced measurement that is designed to put numbers that quarterbacks generate in to perspective – factoring in the details of each throw they make, each overthrow, under-throw, yards gained after a catch, and game situation (i.e. if they make plays in the clutch or in “garbage time” when it doesn’t really matter anymore). The QBR scale goes from 0-100 … with a rating of 50 being about average … and top values on a season being between 75 and above. A 65 or 70 rating for a season would be considered Pro Bowl Level. So, given all that, here are Mark Sanchez’s Total QBR’s …
2009 – 31.6 Total QBR
2010 – 48.0 Total QBR
2011 – 33.6 Total QBR
2012 – 32.2 Total QBR (only John Skelton [21.3] and Brandon Weeden [19.9] have been worse)
[Russell Wilson has a 56.9 Total QBR despite his early season struggles and the 49er Game.]
Jets fans have certainly noticed Sanchez’s lack of performance, as there has been perpetual rumblings to bench him and to go with the game’s best running back from the quarterback position – Tim Tebow.
And while Russell Wilson has been a model of everything you want in a starting NFL quarterback (leadership, poise, humility, selflessness, eternally positive, even tempered, etc.) … the same can’t apparently be said of Mark Sanchez. According to NESN …
Eva Longoria is said to have ditched Sanchez because the Jets' losses had made him so grumpy that he was hard to be around, according to TMZ. "It's hard to maintain a relationship when one person is upset all the time," TMZ quotes a source as saying, noting that Sanchez was perpetually in "a crappy mood over the New York Jets' horrible season."
Now, would an extra year of tutoring at USC under Carroll’s staff have made all the difference? Would he have come in to the league and been better able to handle the pressure of leadership at that level and adversity he’s faced thus far? While that’s certainly debatable, one thing certainly isn’t – that outside of Rex Ryan and the Jets’ coaching staff … no one knows Mark Sanchez better than Pete Carroll. No one outside of those guys knows his tendencies as a quarterback … what he would do in game situations … knows his weaknesses … and could potentially get inside his head better than Pete Carroll.
If the Seahawks are able to generate consistent pressure on Sanchez, you would think would fold like a K-Mart deck chair. After all, that has been the pattern that they have displayed thus far this year …Jets Totals in Wins …
2 Sacks Allowed … 10 QB Hits Allowed on Sanchez
Mark Sanchez has a 56.66% Completion Rate and has thrown for 6 TD’s with only 3 interceptions in the 3 games they’ve won.Jets Totals in Losses …
16 Sacks Allowed … 21 QB Hits Allowed on Sanchez
Mark Sanchez has a 51.09% Completion Rate and has thrown for 4 TD’s with 5 interceptions in the 5 games they’ve lost.
To the Seahawks, those numbers are like KFC -- Finger Licking Good, as they come in to this game with 25 Sacks (Tied for 3rd MOST in the NFL).
The Seahawks have allowed an average of just 206.8 Passing Yards/game (7th BEST in the NFL) – testament to a secondary whose defensive backs are diabolical to receivers that dare face them.
In addition, over their last 3 games, the Jets also have committed an average of 7.0 penalties/game. On the road this year, the Jets have committed an average of 8.0 penalties/game (among the 10 worst teams in the league).
So this game appears to be set up for the master to show the student how the game is played. Though they won this past Sunday, the Hawks were also embarrassed as well, giving up 243 yards rushing, as Adrian Peterson amassed 182 yards and scored twice as easily as a swimmer knifes through the water. If the Seahawks play with that chip on their shoulder and take it to their Jets on Sunday … you can expect Tebow-mania will go in to high gear come Monday morning. Greene Acres is the Place to Be …
Another area of concern for this team come Sunday will be shutting down the running game.
Shonn Greene, the Jets starting running back, comes in to this game with 139 Rushes … for 509 Yards … a 3.7 Yards/Rush Average … and 5 TD.
When you take a look at games in which the Jets have won and games in which they’ve lost …there is a huge disparity in the numbers …Jets Wins …
The Jets have averaged 154.33 Rushing Yards/Game … and had 4 TD
Shonn Green had an average of 98.33 yards/game and has had all 4 TD.Jets Losses …
The Jets have averaged just 83.0 Rushing Yards/Game … and had only 1 TD
Shonn Green had an average of 42.8 Yards/Game … and has had only 1 TD.
So in the games that they’ve won, the Jets have rushed the ball extremely well and vice versa. BUT, what’s particularly noteworthy too is WHO they have put up those kinds of numbers against. The fact is – the Jets are 1-4 against Top 10 Rush Defenses this year …Week 2 – At Pittsburgh Steelers 10-27 (LOSS)
Steelers Rushing Defense … 88.6 Yards/Game (tied for 7th in the NFL)
Jets had 90 Yards Rushing … Shonn Greene – 11 Carries for 23 Yards … 0 TDWeek 3 – At Miami Dolphins 23-20 (WIN)
Dolphins Rushing Defense … 83.9 Yards/Game (3rd in the NFL)
Jets had 93 Yards Rushing … Shonn Greene – 19 Carries for 40 Yards … 0 TDWeek 4 – Home against San Francisco 49ers 0-34 (LOSS)
49ers Rushing Defense … 87.4 Yards/Game (5th in the NFL)
Jets had 45 Rushing Yards … Shonn Greene – 11 Carries for 34 Yards … 0 TDWeek 5 – Home against Houston Texans 17-23 (LOSS)
Texans Rushing Defense … 82.4 Yards/Game (2nd in the NFL)
Jets had 69 Rushing Yards … Shonn Greene – 8 Carries for 26 Yards … 0 TDWeek 8 – Home against Miami Dolphins 9-30 (LOSS)
Dolphins Rushing Defense … 83.9 Yards/Game (3rd in the NFL)
Jets had 105 Yards Rushing … Shonn Green 15 Carries for 77 Yards … 0 TD
So if the Seahawks defense is even close to whom we believe they are (a Top 10 Defense) … it is quite reasonable to expect similar results. If Brandon Mebane, Red Bryant, and the rest of the Seahawks defensive line shows up to play on Sunday, you’d certainly like to think so. Stopping the run … making this team one dimensional … and putting all the onus upon Mark Sanchez to beat you sounds like a winning formula for the Seahawks. Oh, if it were only that simple that the game could be played on paper though …Avoid Inflight Mistakes …
It’s almost cliché to say that in the NFL you have to avoid mistakes in order to win. And believe it or not in the case of the Jets, that’s true as well. As I looked through the numbers and the Jets past matchups this week … I was amazed at their seeming ability to find teams’ weaknesses and to exploit them. To illustrate what I mean, let me shuffle the numbers again and highlight some things for you …Week 1 – Home against Buffalo Bills 48-28 (WIN)
Bills Passing Defense … has allowed an average of 248.4 Yards/Game (24th in the NFL)
Mark Sanchez was 19/27 for 266 Yards … had 3 TD … 1 INT
Bills Rushing Defense … has allowed an average of 169.5 Yards/Game (31st in the NFL)
Jets had 118 Yards Rushing … Shonn Greene had 27 Rushes for 94 Yards and a 1 TD Week 3 – At Miami Dolphins 23-20 (WIN)
Dolphins Passing Defense … has allowed an average of 298.2 Yards/Game (29th in the NFL)
Mark Sanchez was 21/45 for 306 Yards … had 1 TD … 2 INT Week 6 – Home against Indianapolis Colts 35-9 (WIN)
Colts Rushing Offense … has gained an average of 105.9 Yards/Game (19th in the NFL)
Jets allowed the Colts to Rush for just 41 Yards on 17 Carries
Colts Rushing Defense … has allowed an average of 130.8 Yards/Game (25th in the NFL)
Jets had 252 Yards Rushing … Shonn Greene had 32 Rushes for 161 Yards and 3 TDWeek 7 – At New England Patriots 26-29 OT (LOSS)
Patriots Passing Defense … has allowed an average of 281.1 Yards/Game (28th in the NFL)
Mark Sanchez was 28/41 for 328 Yards … had 1 TD … 1 INT Week 8 – Home against Miami Dolphins 9-30 (LOSS)
Dolphins Passing Defense … has allowed an average of 298.2 Yards/Game (29th in the NFL)
Mark Sanchez was 28/54 for 283 Yards … had 1 TD … 1 INT
As you can see from the above statistics, if teams have identifiable weaknesses, the Jets have been able to find those. While it’s true that no one knows Mark Sanchez quite like Pete Carroll … one ALSO has to consider that perhaps few in the game know Pete Carroll better than his former student. From a Jets point of view, they are coming off a bye week, so have had 2 weeks to break down game tape … to analyze potential weaknesses in Seattle’s defense … and to prepare for them. Frankly, that should be a bit of a concern because over the past 4 weeks, this is a defense that has allowed …
Tom Brady to complete 36 of 58 passes (62% Comp. Rate) for 395 yards and 2 TD.
Frank Gore to bust loose for 131 yards on 16 carries.
Matthew Stafford to complete 34 of 49 passes (69% Comp. Rate) for 352 yards and 3 TD.
Adrian Peterson to rumble for 182 yards on 17 carries and 2 TD.
It’s still highly questionable whether or not linebacker K.J. Wright will play in this game … and since Wright’s back-up Mike Morgan didn’t exactly set the world on fire with his performance on Sunday, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that chink in the armor could get exposed. Strong Safety Kam Chancellor (Quadriceps) and Defensive End Red Bryant (foot) didn’t practice on Thursday either. If they’re out for this game as well … then people in Seattle may unexpectedly find themselves popping Xanex.
That’s because despite the fact that the Jets are 3-5, this is a team that may not be quite as bad as their record might indicate. This week’s ESPN’s Power Rankings illustrate that point pretty clearly … Week 1 – Buffalo Bills 48-28 (WIN)
ESPN Power Ranking – Bills are the #28 Team in the league according to ESPN.Week 2 – At Pittsburgh Steelers 10-27 (LOSS)
ESPN Power Ranking – Steelers are the #10 Team in the league according to ESPNWeek 3 – At Miami Dolphins 23-20 (WIN)
ESPN Power Ranking – Dolphins are the #15 Team in the league according to ESPNWeek 4 – Home against San Francisco 49ers 0-34 (LOSS)
ESPN Power Ranking – 49ers are the #4 Team in the league according to ESPNWeek 5 – Home against Houston Texans 17-23 (LOSS)
ESPN Power Ranking – Texans are the #2 Team in the league according to ESPNWeek 6 – Home against Indianapolis Colts 35-9 (WIN)
ESPN Power Ranking – Colts are the #11 Team in the league according to ESPNWeek 7 – At New England Patriots 26-29 OT (LOSS)
ESPN Power Ranking – Patriots are the #9 Team in the league according to ESPNWeek 8 – Home against Miami Dolphins 9-30 (LOSS)
ESPN Power Ranking – Dolphins are the #15 Team in the league according to ESPN
So the Jets have played 4 of the Top Ranked teams in the league and (based upon this week’s evaluations) and it could easily be argued that they have actually had a tougher strength of schedule than the Seahawks have.
Offensively, this is a team that in many ways has some of the exact philosophies as Pete Carroll does -- establish the run, control the clock, and let the QB run play action pass and roll out plays. Though there isn’t a true deep threat on this team, the Jets CAN go long against opponents. This year Jets have completed 24 Passes that have gone for 20 Yards or more (tied for 19th). Seattle has only 20 such plays by the way. WR Jeremy Kerley (5’9” 188 pounds), who leads the Jets with 30 receptions, is responsible for 9 of those. With Santonio Holmes gone for the season with a ligament tear in his foot, look for players like Stephen Hill (6’4” 215 pounds), who leads the team with 3 TD receptions, to possibly be a factor in this game. Chaz Schillens (6’4 225 pounds – 16 receptions) and tight ends Dustin Keller (6’2” 250 pounds -- 16 receptions) and Jeff Cumberland (6’4” 260 pounds – 14 receptions) are also ones to keep an eye on. That said, this is a Jets team who has been so banged up at the position that they signed Jason Hill, whom the 49ers cut on Tuesday. On paper at least, this is a group that it doesn’t appear Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman, and company will have to do too much sprinting after. Their Red Zone Offensive numbers serve to show just what kind of an offense Seattle will be facing on Sunday …
Jets Red Zone Offense … they have converted 48.15% of Red Zone Trips in to TD’s (20th in the NFL)
On the Road – the Jets have converted just 36.36% of Red Zone Trips in to TD’s (27th in the NFL)
Conversely, this is a Seahawks Defense that has allowed opponents to convert just 42.31% of Red Zone Trips in to TD’s (8th BEST in the NFL)
The Seahawks have allowed just 157 Points on the season (6th FEWEST in terms of points allowed) … so those numbers bode well if you’re a Hawk fan.
Though they haven’t put up the kind of numbers they did last season … this is a sleeping giant that has the potential to club anyone on any given Sunday. Lest we forget, this is a Jets team that went to the AFC Championship game in 2009 and 2010. So don’t be fooled thinking that this team is necessarily going to be a pushover on Sunday, as they played 3 of the top teams in the league (the Texans, the Steelers, and the Patriots) extremely tough this season.
As I said, this is a team that’s had now had 2 weeks to heal and prepare for this Seahawks crew. This is a smart Jets coaching staff that’s seen what other teams have done to Seattle recently. Don’t place it beyond the realm of possibility that they’ll look to exploit the same weaknesses in perhaps some creative and unorthodox ways, as the Jets are a desperate team that has nothing to lose. Playing mistake free football will be key this weekend. Go Ground …
As has been the case all season long, getting Marshawn Lynch and the running game going will be a primary focus yet again Sunday. In this particular case especially, that’s an extremely solid strategy against this Jets defense. Just to highlight that for you, here is a quick comparison of how the Jets defense against the run stacks up to Seattle’s …Rushing Defense …
Jets Allow 141.4 Rushing Yards/Game (4th Worst)
Seahawks allow 102.4 Rushing Yards/Game (11th Best)
Jets have allowed 9 Rushing TD’s (In the top 10 in MOST Rushing TD’s allowed).
Seahawks have allowed 5 Rushing TD’s (in top 10 in FEWEST Rushing TD’s allowed).
Seahawks and Jets have BOTH allowed 4.4 Yards/Rush (Both in the Top 8 Best).
Seahawks and Jets have BOTH allowed 7 runs of 20 yards+ (Both in the Top 10 Worst)
Opponents have 257 Rushing Attempts vs. the Jets Defense this year (8th Most in the NFL) … Seahawks meanwhile have just 210 Rushing Attempts vs. them (tied for 18th in the NFL). That, in and of itself, tells you quite a lot about how this Jets Defense has performed so far this year.
The Jets have faced 4 of the Game’s top rushing offenses so far this year. How have the Jets fared against them? Let’s take a look …Bills Rushing Offense … 141.2 Yards/Game (6th in the NFL)Bills gained 195 yards on 26 carries. C.J. Spiller had 169 yards on 14 carries and a TD.49ers Rushing Offense … 168.6 Yards/Game (1st in the NFL)49ers gained 247 yards on 44 carries [5.6 yards/rush] and 3 TD in a group effort.Texans Rushing Offense … 138.0 Yards/Game (8th in the NFL)Texans gained 169 yards on 35 carries. Arian Foster had 152 yards on 29 carries and a TD.Patriots Rushing Offense … 149.6 Yards/Game (4th in the NFL)Patriots had 131 yards on 31 carries [4.2 yards/rush]
Seeing as how the Jets were 1-3 in those games, getting the ground game going would seem like a prudent move for the Seahawks as well. And looking at the numbers, it would appear that the Jets have basically been a freeway for NFL running backs. While that’s been true in a sense … it should also be noted that the Jets defense IS capable of penetrating in to opposing backfields and taking down runners. They come in to this game with 26 Tackles for Loss – the exact same number as Seattle ironically. Here are the top 3 players in that category to circle on your mental whiteboards …
LB Brian Thomas has 4 Tackles for Loss
LB Bart Scott has 4 Tackles for Loss
LB Garrett McIntyre has 4 Tackles for Loss
LB David Harris has 65 Tackles (which is tied for 10th with 49ers Patrick Willis). For comparison sake, K.J. Wright has 63 Tackles and Bobby Wagner 62 Tackles, so Harris is another guy who bears watching.
Of particular note is the fact that LB Bart Scott was limited in practice on Wednesday and it’s possible he will miss his 2nd consecutive game with a toe injury. For a Jets team that’s already reeling because of injuries, that could mean that Marshawn Lynch will be free and clear to navigate come Sunday …Watch Out For Bogies …
On the surface, this is a game that seems to be set up beautifully for Russell Wilson to have a big game. Though he struggled early in the season (as you’d expect of a rookie), Wilson has really turned the corner since the Patriot game … Russell Wilson’s Season to Date (based on Total QBR) …
Week 1 – Arizona Cardinals (LOSS) … Total QBR 27.5
Week 2 – Dallas Cowboys (WIN) …….. Total QBR 76.3
Week 3 – Green Bay Packers (WIN) ….Total QBR 28.5
Week 4 – St. Louis Rams (LOSS) ……. Total QBR 16.8
Week 5 – Carolina Panthers (WIN) .. … Total QBR 51.7
Week 6 – New England Patriots (WIN) ..Total QBR 91.4
Week 7 – San Francisco 49ers (LOSS) .Total QBR 26.0
Week 8 – Detroit Lions (LOSS) …………Total QBR 93.7
Week 9 – Minnesota Vikings (WIN) …….Total QBR 82.8
Season Average … Total QBR 56.9 (Ranks #15 in the league)
Since a 65 or 70 for a season is considered Pro Bowl level, it looks like Seattle has found its quarterback of the future … and that Wilson looks poised to make the Jets secondary go “Tilt” like an old pinball machine on Sunday, right? After all, this is a Jets defense that …
… has allowed opponents to convert 50 of 111 3rd Downs (45.05%) – (30th in the NFL … only Tennessee and Buffalo have been worse, but only marginally).
… on the Road has allowed opponents to convert 52.94% of their 3rd Downs (The WORST 3rd Down Conversion Percentage in the NFL).
… allows opponents to convert 60.87% of Red Zone Trips in to TD’s (27th in the NFL).
… on the Road has allowed opponents to convert a nearly impossible to believe 75% of Red Zone Trips in to TD’s (WORST in the NFL)!
… has only 12 Sacks (4th FEWEST in the NFL).
For those who think it’ll be Tecmo Bowl on the old Nintendo NES for Russell Wilson … let me lay another set of statistics on you and give you the reality check on the essence of who these guys really are …Passing Defense …
The Jets Have Allowed 205.6 Passing Yards/Game (6th BEST in the NFL)
The Seahawks Have Allowed 206.8 Passing Yards/game (7th BEST in the NFL)
The Jets Have allowed a 6.6 Passing Yards/Game Average (tied for 7th BEST in the NFL)
The Seahawks Have allowed a 6.1 Passing Yards/Game Average (3rd BEST in the NFL)
The Jets and Seahawks have both allowed 6 Passing TD’s (tied for 6th FEWEST TD’s allowed)
The Jets have 7 INT … the Seahawks have 8 INT
The Jets Have 31 Passes Defensed (26th in the NFL)
The Seahawks Have 43 Passes Defensed (tied for 10th in the NFL)
The Jets Have Allowed 22 Passes of 20 Yards+ (Among the Top 12 Best Teams)
Seahawks Have allowed 20 Passes of 20 Yards+ (Among the Top 5 Best Teams)
When looking at the Jets record so far, it’s easy to forget exactly WHO this team’s coach is – Rex Ryan – son of Buddy Ryan, who put together some of the game’s most fearsome defenses of all time. Rex clearly learned from his father well, as the Jets run one of the most complicated defenses in all of the NFL – a 4-6 Hybrid
, which he learned from Buddy. It’s a defense that CAN potentially give teams fits, as this is the same defense Rex ran and instilled as a member of the Ravens coaching staff as well. In 1999 (Rex’s first year), the Ravens defense was 2nd overall in the NFL and 2nd in fewest rushing yards allowed. In 2000, that defense powered the Ravens to a Super Bowl victory, as that team set records for fewest points allowed and fewest rushing yards allowed. During his 10 years in Baltimore, the Ravens never finished lower than 6th in the NFL in total defense … and Ryan’s Jets were extremely stout last season … 2011 Jets …
Allowed 201.0 Yards Passing/Game (5th Best in the NFL)
Allowed 111.1 Yards Rushing/Game (11th Best in the NFL)
Had 19 Interceptions (tied for 10th Best in the league) … and 12 Take Away Fumbles (tied for 4th Best in the league)
The Jets suffered a major blow this year when All Pro CB Darrell Revis tore the ACL in his left knee and was lost for the season in Week 2. You would think that the Jets Defense would be all but toast after that. But the numbers I laid out above tell a different story. That’s because once inconsistent CB Antonio Cromartie (6’2” 210 pounds) has stepped up big time. Pro Football Focus named him to their all AFC midseason team. Why? A: Because Antonio Cromartie is allowing just 41.9% of passes thrown his way to be completed (that’s #1 in the NFL). Last season, Darrell Revis allowed just 41.1% … so Cromartie is more than filling in adequately. In the Colts game 2 weeks ago, Cromartie had an interception that he returned for a TD … that was ultimately called back due to a debatable unnecessary roughness call. Amazingly, he had another similar Pick-6 in that game that was called back because Cromartie was called for holding WR Reggie Wayne in order to get the pick.
Antonio Cromartie has 8 Passes Defensed (tied for 14th Best) and 3 INT this year.
Richard Sherman has 11 Passes Defensed (tied for 3rd Best) and 3 INT as well.
Needless to say, Russell Wilson may be wise to go to the other side of the field. But even then, things don’t get a whole lot easier over there. CB Kyle Wilson (5’10” 190 pounds) is allowing 51.4% (17th in the league) on the other side and has 2 Passes Defensed.
In Comparison, Richard Sherman is allowing a 50% completion rate (7th Best in the NFL).
Free Safety LaRon Landry (56 Tackles) is another guy who could potentially give the Seahawks issues back there as well, as he has good size (6’0” 220 pounds), leaping ability, range, and speed (he was timed at 4.35 in the 40 back at the Combine in 2007).
That’s why I say establishing the run FIRST might be the prudent move.
Though the Jets have struggled getting to the QB in order to get the sack … this is a front 7 who HAS been able to apply pressure this season. The Jets come in to this game with 34 Hits on the Quarterback this season (18th in the NFL). Now before you say, “So what”, consider the fact that that’s just 1 QB Hit behind the 49ers at #17 … and just 2 less than your Seattle Seahawks who check in at #16 with 36 QB Hits. DE Quinton Coples (2.0 Sacks), the rookie of North Carolina, was taken just one pick after the Seahawks took Bruce Irvin. Though Coples is a guy whom Rex Ryan and the Jets coaching staff are asking more of, he is one who DOES get in to the backfield. Linebackers Calvin Pace (2.0 Sacks) and Bryan Thomas (2.0 Sacks) are another couple of big, active players to keep an eye on as well. That said, if the Seahawks Offensive line simply plays the way they’re capable of, this is a Jets Front 7 that they SHOULD be able to keep from taking off against them … X-Factors …
There are a handful of players in this game who could potentially be X-Factors in this game. Let’s a brief look at each of them …Tim Tebow
– Tebow is a player who was an absolute legend in college football. He was a quarterback that during his time at the University of Florida gained nearly superhuman status not only because of his propensity for making play after play in the clutch … but also for his hall of fame character and humanitarian efforts off the field as well. Tebow would win the Heisman Trophy in 2007 and lead his Florida Gators to the BCS National Championship in 2006 and 2008. Because of that and the fact that he sincerely lives out his Christian faith, Tebow has gained a following like none other. But while he could seemingly do no wrong in college … he has easily become the most polarizing figure in the NFL. While Jon Gruden calls him a winner … John Clayton would call him more of a wiener (a tasty snack for NFL Defenses). That’s because as Brian Urlacher quipped, “He’s a good running back.” Many have pointed to the fact that he’s got a slow wind-up release, makes wobbly throws, isn’t all that accurate with this throws, and generally say that his throwing skills just aren’t up to NFL standards. The Jets traded for Tebow prior to the season with the idea of using him in the Wildcat Offense that he ran in college. The problem is, they haven’t exactly used him or the Wildcat much yet (only in about 10% of their snaps). Through 8 games, Tebow has 23 attempts for 78 yards (a 3.4 Yards/Attempt) and 0 TD. Tony Sparano, the Jets Offensive Coordinator, has said that game situations have dictated that. Translation --- defenses are wise to the Wildcat and are blowing it up (which they have been). Will the Seahawks see Tebow on Sunday? They’re hoping so, because the speed of this defense will likely negate it … but you never know, Tebow did lead the Denver Broncos to the playoffs after all. Leon Washington
– During his time with the Jets, Leon Washington was one of the most dynamic return men in the league … until he suffered a gruesome injury
to his right leg in October of 2009. The Jets traded him to the Seahawks in August of 2010 … undoubtedly because many in and around that team believed there was no way Washington would ever be the same player again. Well, coming in to Sunday Leon Washington is #6 in the league in Kickoff Returns (29.1 Yards/Return Average) and 13th in the league in Punt Returns (8.5 Yards/Return – right behind the Bears Devin Hester). Think Washington isn’t motivated to run one back against his old team? Braylon Edwards
– Edwards was traded by the Browns to the Jets in the 2009 Draft and helped power them all the way to the AFC Championship in January of 2010, catching an 80 yard touchdown pass in that game against the Colts. Edwards caught 54 passes for 904 yards and 7 touchdowns in 2010 before moving on to the 49ers the next season. Braylon Edwards has been very quiet this season so far (only 8 catches and 1 TD) … could he have some motivation to make some noise as well? After all, Rice had a touchdown versus his old team --- I’m just sayin’ …Bold Prediction …
Though many are saying that there could be total flaming wreckage, I actually see this as being more of a controlled crash -- as having the potential to be a much closer game than people are generally thinking. Though the Jets may not have the horses to execute the kind of game plan they’d like to at this point on a consistent basis … this feels to me like an “Every Given Sunday” kind of game that could surprise folks. While I personally don’t see any way the Jets actually win this game, as I’ve said they’ve had 2 weeks to prepare for a Seahawks team that has shown some chinks in the armor over the past several games. Injuries have not only been a major factor for the Jets this season … I predict they’ll be a factor for the Seahawks as well, as 6 starters sat out practice with injuries on Thursday (hopefully just a precautionary move). That, in and of itself, coupled with the fact that this is a desperate team that has nothing to lose (I believe) will keep this thing much closer than Seahawk fans are comfortable with. Let’s call it: