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Previewing the Jets’ opposition: Seattle Seahawks

New York Giants v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Coming off a frustrating loss against the Giants, Seattle will be keen to regain their momentum against the winless Jets and keep pace with the NFC West leading Rams. This has been a game that’s been circled on some calendars ever since safety Jamal Adams was traded to the Seahawks in the offseason.

Quarterbacks

Russell Wilson was an early-season MVP candidate after leading Seattle to a 5-0 start. He’s completing 70 percent of his passes for the first time in his career and also is on course to smash his career highs in passing yards and touchdown passes.

However, Seattle is 3-4 since their bye week and Wilson has already tied his career high with 11 interceptions.

Wilson is still a threat to make things happen with his legs, regularly extending plays and accounting for over 400 rushing yards on the season.

Ex-Jets quarterback Geno Smith is the backup but he hasn’t been called upon to throw a pass all season.

Offensive Line

Veteran left tackle Duane Brown, who is Seattle’s best offensive lineman, has started all 12 games for the Seahawks this year, but they’ve otherwise had their continuity messed around due to injuries.

Third round pick Damien Lewis has also started every game but he was knocked out of one early on. Center Ethan Pocic and right tackle Brandon Shell have missed two starts each and veteran left guard Mike Iupati has missed four. They should all be healthy on Sunday though.

Lewis has turned heads with his run blocking abilities but he has also been called for a league-leading 11 penalties. In pass protection, Brown, Iupati and Pocic have only given up two sacks between them, so the left side is strong.

Off the bench, Jordan Simmons replaced Iupati and started four games at left guard. Kyle Fuller started one game at center for Pocic but he struggled, so they opted to move Lewis to center the next week. Cedric Ogbuehi and Jamarco Jones have also each started a game at right tackle and Jones has also started one at guard.

Phil Haynes was recently activated to add some depth but has only played one snap so far and is listed as questionable for Sunday anyway. Ogbuehi is also listed as questionable and Jones has been ruled out.

Running Backs

Seattle has also had some injuries at the running back position with Chris Carson being their most productive back, although he’s only five yards ahead of Wilson as the team’s leading rusher. He’s added 27 receptions and has eight touchdowns overall.

Carson, who was a thousand-yard rusher in 2018 and 2019, has averaged 4.9 yards per carry but the Seahawks’ three reserve running backs have all averaged less than four yards per carry. Of the three, Carlos Hyde has seen the most action and rookie DeeJay Dallas has been the most productive reserve in the passing game. Travis Homer is listed as doubtful anyway.

Another option is Rashaad Penny, who recently returned to practice after a stint on injured reserve. Head coach Pete Carroll and Wilson have both said Penny has been looking really good so he could be activated for this game.

Nick Bellore sees action occasionally at the fullback position but he’s mainly on the team for his special teams contributions.

Pass catchers

The Seahawks have one of the best one-two punches in the NFL at the wide receiver position as their starters already have almost 2,000 yards and 17 touchdowns between them.

Tyler Lockett, who is Seattle’s most productive receiver out of the slot but also plays on the outside, was a thousand-yard receiver last year and is well on his way to achieving that again. Lockett leads the team with 76 receptions.

DK Metcalf has taken his game to the next level and already has over 1,100 receiving yards while averaging almost 18 yards per catch.

David Moore is the third receiver and has 28 catches. Rookie Freddie Swain, a sixth round pick, has 10 receptions so far but Penny Hart hasn’t caught a pass yet in limited action.

Josh Gordon was recently reinstated and is practicing with the team but it’s not clear when he’ll be added to the active roster.

At tight end, veteran Greg Olsen was contributing until he landed on injured reserve but backups Will Dissly and Jacob Hollister have combined for 37 receptions to pick up the slack.

Fourth round rookie Colby Parkinson hasn’t played much yet and is yet to catch his first career pass.

Defensive Line

Seattle’s main pass rushing threat from the defensive line this year has come from Benson Mayowa and Carlos Dunlap, who have four sacks each. In Dunlap’s case, he’s only played in five games and missed practice time during the week with a foot injury. He’s been listed as questionable for Sunday.

LJ Collier, who plays both inside and on the edge, is listed as the other starting defensive end across from Dunlap with Rasheem Green and Jonathan Bullard playing a similar role in reserve. Rookie Alton Robinson also gets reps on the edge.

Seattle have had some depth issues after losing veteran Bruce Irvin to an ACL tear early in the season. Second round rookie Darrell Taylor has missed the whole year on the non-football injury list and Damontre Moore is serving a six-game suspension.

On the interior, Poona Ford provides some good run stopping at the nose tackle position with ex-Jet Damon Harrison recently added to the roster to back him up. Jarran Reed is the other starter but has had an inconsistent season despite registering 3.5 sacks.

Linebackers

Seattle’s linebacker unit is still anchored by the all-round play of pro bowler Bobby Wagner and coverage specialist KJ Wright. The pair have combined for 15 pass breakups. Wagner leads the team with 107 tackles.

The Seahawks surprisingly drafted Jordyn Brooks in the first round but he’s had some struggles in a part-time role. Cody Barton has also seen action off the bench.

Shaquem Griffin mostly gets work as a pass rusher off the edge but Ben Burr-Kirven is primarily just a special teamer.

Defensive Backs

Seattle’s secondary ranks right at the bottom of the league against the pass and they’ve been affected by injuries all year. Seattle still has three cornerbacks on injured reserve, including Tre Flowers and Quinton Dunbar who had been starting. It would be a big deal if they could get Dunbar back this week. He has been activated to practice.

Shaquil Griffin is their top cornerback but he’s been banged up, missing four games. DJ Reed is listed as the other starter, having come off injured reserve at midseason and been moved into a starting role recently after initially having worked as a nickel back.

Linden Stephens and Jayson Stanley provide depth off the bench but haven’t played much this season. Ugo Amadi, who is listed as a safety, has been filling in as a slot cornerback in sub-packages.

At safety, Adams has missed four games but has been extremely productive as a pass rusher with 7.5 sacks in eight games. However, he’s otherwise been inconsistent, giving up a lot of yardage in coverage compared to recent years and already missing three more tackles than he had all of last season.

Quandre Diggs has started every game at safety and done his best work against the run, although he’s also tied for the team lead with eight passes defensed.

Ryan Neal started the four games that Adams missed but hasn’t played much since he returned and is listed as questionable with a hip injury. Veteran Damarious Randall was a midseason addition to add some depth.

Special Teams

Another ex-Jet, Jason Myers, has had a great season as the Seahawks’ kicker. He’s made all 16 of his field goal attempts, although he has missed two extra points.

Punter Michael Dickson is one of the league’s best. He’s third in the NFL for gross average and fifth in terms of net average.

The return game hasn’t made a major impact this year. Moore is the punt returner and has been solid but his longest return was only 20 yards and he had one muff. Swain has been the kickoff returner with Reed the primary reserve for both roles.

Bellore and Barton are standouts in kick coverage. Bellore is tied for second in the NFL with 12 special teams tackles and Barton has 10. Neal and Hart also contribute well.

Neal blocked a punt against the Giants last week and both Dallas and Hart had a chance to recover it for a touchdown but it ended up rolling out of the end zone for a safety.