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NY Jets: Stat Of The Week

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Beating the Seahawks isn't easy, but the Rams have shown how it can be done.

William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports
The Seattle Seahawks are one of the best teams in the NFL.  Since 2012 they have a record of 48-19.  They are a team with a lot of superior talent.  They have an outstanding quarterback, a good running game, and arguably the best defense in the NFL, a defense littered with Pro Bowl level talent.  It isn't easy beating the Seahawks.  If you want to beat them it helps enormously to hold their offense to 20 points or less.  The Seahawks have held their opponents to 20 points or less in 18 of their last 25 games, including every game so far in the 2016 season, so if you allow them to score three touchdowns you are probably going to lose the game.

Given how talented the Seahawks are and how successful they've been it should come as no surprise that few teams have gotten the better of them since 2012.  In fact, there is only one team in the NFL that has faced the Seahawks more than once since 2012 and emerged with a winning record against them.  That team is the Los Angeles Rams, with a 5-4 record against the Seahawks since 2012, including wins in the last three games between them.  How do they manage this feat?  They play a lot of close, defensive struggles.

In the nine games between the two teams since 2012, the Rams have held the Seahawks to 20 points or less in 6 of the games.  In those games the Rams have managed to put a lot of pressure on Seattle's quarterback Russell Wilson while also keeping him from doing damage on the run.  The Rams have sacked Wilson a total of 25 times in those six games for an average of 4.25 sacks per game.  In the other 61 games Wilson has played in the NFL, he has been sacked a total of  146 times for an average of  2.4  sacks per game.  In addition, in the six games in which the Rams held the Seahawks under 20 points the Rams held Wilson to 37 rushing attempts for 147 yards, an average of 24.5 yards per game and 4.0 yards per carry.  In contrast, in the other 61 games of Wilson's career he has run 384 times for 2316 yards, an average of 38.0 yards per game and 6.0 yards per carry.

So how do you beat the Seahawks?  Much like last week against the Chiefs, the best answer might be with stellar defensive line play.  Once again the stat of the week involves two related defensive line metrics.  On the one hand, take advantage of the porous Seattle offensive line by sacking Wilson repeatedly.  Four or more sacks is ideal.  At the same time limit his running, to the tune of less than 25 yards on the ground.  Do those two things and you have a good shot at winning the game.

That is a rather tall order.  A jail break pass rush often results in mobile quarterbacks breaking out of the pocket and making big plays on the run.  On the other hand, focusing on keeping the quarterback in the pocket can often reduce sack totals as the priority is on containment rather than penetration.

Russell Wilson is an outstanding passer, one of the best in the NFL.  He is also one of the best running quarterbacks in the NFL.  Repeatedly sacking him while maintaining  discipline, keeping him contained in the pocket, and limiting his scrambling is a very tall order, but the Rams have been up to the task on a regular basis.  The Jets defensive line is similar to the Rams. Both are among the best lines in the NFL and both are loaded with elite first round talent that are adept at both rushing the passer and stopping the run.   If any line in the NFL is suited to duplicating the Rams' formula for success against the Seahawks it may be the Jets.  That Wilson may be hobbled a bit by a couple of leg injuries should only help in this cause.  The game against the Seahawks offers the Jets line an opportunity to justify the Jets' investment in them with a dominant performance.   If the Jets' defensive line dominates and harasses Wilson all day while keeping him from escaping the pocket and hurting the Jets with his legs, the Jets should have a good chance of shutting down the Seahawks offense and emerging with a victory.  Time for some hot sacks.  Time for the defensive line to dominate. It may be the best chance the Jets have to win this week.