Sunday, November 11, 2012

Gameday Deciding Factors: Jets at Seahawks


The New York Jets are dangerously close to do-or-die time, and it couldn't come at a much worse time, as Gang Green is out west in Seattle to face the tough-as-nails Seahawks, who are perfect at home this season. Despite a relatively-doable schedule on the back end, falling to 3-6 would likely be too big of a hole to climb out of.

Seattle (5-4), meanwhile, is in a tight race for the AFC West lead, and a game behind the first-place San Francisco 49ers. The Seahawks want it just as bad as the Jets, and so do their fans. (photo: Joint Base Lewis McChord, Flickr)


12th Man. CenturyLink Field is arguably the toughest place to play for road teams this season. In addition to its deafening crowd noise, the Seahawks turn on the jets at home. Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson has thrown nine touchdowns and no interceptions in Seattle, and the Seahawks are 4-0 in their friendly confines.

Steady Lynch. Running back Marshawn Lynch has kept Seattle's offense going, churning out a steady 4.8 yards a carry despite having only three rushes of 20 yards or more. His ability to break tackles combined with the Jets' inability to wrap up could spell trouble for Gang Green's defense.

Special plays. In an embarrassing blowout loss to the Miami Dolphins before the bye, the Jets' special teams gave up a blocked punt for a touchdown, had a field goal blocked, surrendered an onside kick and nearly gave up a kick return for a touchdown. The Jets know they'll need everything in their arsenal to return home at 4-5, so Mike Westhoff will have his special teams unit raring to go. Plus, gaining much-needed momentum on a trick play conversion could be crucial.

Protecting Sanchez. The Seahawks have maybe the most aggressive defense in the league, and they'll be looking to add to their 25-sack total against a leaky Jets offensive line. Sanchez gets extremely rattled when under duress, but he's actually looked very good at times when given the appropriate time to throw. The Jets' front needs to hold up long enough for Jeremy Kerley to get into space.
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