Wow...I don't have the words to describe what how bad the Jets looked last week. Abysmal? Deplorable? Ghastly? Okay, maybe I do. The Jets played one of their worst games in recent memory last weekend. Ryan Fitzpatrick had one of the worst statistical days of all time despite playing in an extremely quarterback friendly era and offensive scheme. The Jets have now lost a heartbreaker in which small mistakes cost them a win as well as a total blowout in which they went home with little to be proud of on the day. Both losses have come at the hands of teams likely to compete for the wild card spots that the Jets will likely need come week 17. There's a lot of reason for pessimism after a 1-2 start while looking down the barrel of arguably the most brutal stretch of games any team faces this season.
Where We Are
The Jets are in a hole. Despite breaking a pathetic losing streak against the Bills in week 2, the Jets have now lost 2 conference games against likely wild card teams. They're sitting at 1-2 with games against Seattle, Pittsburgh, Arizona, and Baltimore on tap. Hard to believe that the 6 game stretch after the bye week (which features two games against the Patriots) is a cakewalk compared to the pre-bye schedule. Simply put, the Jets are in a rough spot. The Bengals and Chiefs were both beat up and have comparably weak teams when looking at Seattle, Pittsburgh, or Arizona. The Jets failed to pull out wins against either of them and will now likely need a LOT of wins to get a wild card berth with the Patriots looking more or less unstoppable as AFC East favorites.
Where They Are
The Seahawks haven't looked like their dominant selves this year, but they are still the class of the NFC. Sitting at 2-1, the Seahawks have beaten two weak teams in the Dolphins and 49ers while losing to another mediocre team in the Rams. A large part of their struggles have come due to Russell Wilson's ankle injury limiting his playmaking ability. While the offense has struggled at times, the defense has been as smothering as ever. After holding the Dolphins and Rams to 10 or fewer points, they surrendered only 3 points to the 49ers through 3 quarters before giving up 15 points in garbage time. While technically in second place in the NFC West, the Rams don't look like a team capable of maintaining the top spot for long and the Cardinals have failed to live up to the offseason hype as Carson Palmer has looked shaky against decent competition. The Hawks hardly need this win, but they would definitely like to get back into the top spot.
|Austin Seferian-Jenkins||TE||Not Injury Related||DNP||FP||N/A||N/A|
|Earl Thomas||FS||Not Injury Related||N/A||DNP||N/A||N/A|
Oh boy...how can I pick anyone other than Fitzpatrick here? Coming off of a 6 INT, 3 point game against a banged up defensive unit, Fitzpatrick needs to bounce back badly. Now he has to go up against the Legion of Boom without Eric Decker, who leads all Jets in both receiving yardage and TD catches. There are very few weaknesses in the Seattle defense, which features absolute studs at all 4 levels. You have to imagine that the Jets will try to take pressure off of Fitz by rushing the ball, but without a real power back on the roster to pound the ball up the gut, I'm not sure how much success the Jets will have if the Hawk pack the box. The Jets are going to need good Fitz to show up if they want to avoid a 1-3 record for the first quarter of the season.
There are so many true star players on the Seahawks defense that you can pick practically anyone for this spot. The real question mark is Russell Wilson, though. Despite partially tearing his MCL and dealing with an ankle injury, Wilson is expected to play this weekend. When healthy, Wilson is one of the best QBs in the NFL. When injured, his game suffers more than most because of his reliance on his mobility. MCL tears and ankle injuries have a tendency to linger and could dramatically effect the Seahawks potential on offense.
Keys To Victory
Offense: Don't turn the ball over 8 times.
Defense: Contain Russell Wilson and try to force some to help the offense against the Seattle juggernaught.
The Bottom Line
I don't like the Jets chances against the Seahawks. Outside of the injuries to Russell Wilson, the Hawks have an extremely solid unit. The offensive line struggles and the receiving group isn't great, but Wilson is good enough to carry enough of the slack while the defense remains dominant. The Jets are coming off a loss against a much weaker unit overall in which they had extra time to prepare and a big advantage in the injury department. I don't think the Jets will look quite as flat at home against the Seahawks, but it's hard to be optimistic about this one. Especially after last week.