1 Tighten up the run defense. Seattle had not allowed an opposing team to rush for more than 100 yards in any of its first six games. The Seahawks have allowed...
Keys to Seahawks victory
1 Tighten up the run defense. Seattle had not allowed an opposing team to rush for more than 100 yards in any of its first six games. The Seahawks have allowed two opposing players to do it in the past three as Seattle has gone from allowing 70 yards rushing over the first six games to giving up 167.3 over the last three. The Jets are a power running team, and will be testing Seattle to see if the Seahawks corrected their shortcomings in defending the ground game.
2 Don’t play from behind. The Seahawks failed to score first last week against Minnesota, the only time this season a Seattle opponent was the first to put points on the board. Seattle came back from two first-half deficits against the Vikings and rallied to take a fourth-quarter lead against Detroit the week before, but only three teams have gained fewer yards than Seattle. The Seahawks don’t have the firepower to keep coming back like that. They need to play from ahead.
3 Turn up the pressure on Mark Sanchez. The most indicative statistic for the Jets this season has been sacks allowed. In three victories this season, the Jets have allowed a total of three sacks. In five losses, Sanchez has been sacked 16 times. That makes the importance of the pass rush pretty clear, and Seahawks defensive end Chris Clemons has 13 sacks in the past 16 games he has played.
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Keys to Jets victory
1 Keep Marshawn Lynch contained. Yes, sounds ambitious. Lynch ranks second in the league in rushing yards with 881, and he has rushed for more than 100 yards in three consecutive games. Not only that, but the Jets rank No. 29 in the league in rush defense. Only the Bills, Titans and Saints have given up more yards on the ground this season. The Jets are going to wind up roadkill if they can’t slow Seattle’s ground game.
2 Get to Russell Wilson. Seattle has given up only one sack over the previous two games combined, but the Jets have nothing to lose and had two weeks to prepare. Expect the Jets to try to confuse quarterback Russell Wilson as coach Rex Ryan is known for the variety and unpredictability of his blitzes. Look for Ryan and the Jets to throw everything they can at Seattle’s rookie quarterback.
3 Play ball control. The Seahawks held the ball for 36 minutes last week against Minnesota, their highest time of possession this season. It was critical in preventing the Vikings from having any hint of a comeback, but the Jets have a power running game, too, and they need to be able to hold on to the ball. The Jets averaged 83 yards rushing the first five games of the season. They’ve averaged 154.3 yards rushing over the past three.
Jets QB Mark Sanchez vs. Jets backup QB Tim Tebow. Sanchez is completing only 52 percent of his passes, and he ranks No. 30 in the league in quarterback rating. Tebow is his backup, who has been used as a single-wing quarterback for 54 of the Jets’ 542 offensive snaps this season. Tebow has rushed for 78 yards, which is 1 more than Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton and passed for 32 yards, which is 7 fewer than Seattle receiver Sidney Rice. But the Jets are coming off a bye and at 3-5 could throw caution to the wind and use Tebow more than they have. His largest chunk of playing time was in Week 3, when he was on the field for 12 of the Jets’ 82 offensive plays.
The Seahawks won their first seven meetings against the Jets, a streak that ran from 1977 to 1983. Since then, Seattle is 2-8 in this series, though the Seahawks did win the most recent meeting, in 2008. The Seahawks beat the Jets 13-3 in what was Mike Holmgren’s final home game as Seahawks coach.