PREVIEW: NY JETS (3-5) @ SEAHAWKS (5-4)
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Think Rex Ryan and company spent the last two weeks sleepless over Seattle? The Jets are hoping to be Jet-lagged free on Sunday where a time zone cautious coaching staff is focusing on east coast time management on their furthest trip west on the season.
“I think by staying on the east coast time, even though you’re out there west, I think that helps [the change in time zone]. It hasn’t been that big of an issue in the past. In fact, it’s been a good thing. I know we played poorly when we went to Oakland one time, but other than that, I thought we’ve been pretty successful going out there,” Ryan said Thursday.
The Jets are 3-2 including the playoffs against west coast teams on the road since 2009.
Despite Antonio Cromartie confidently stating that his 3-5 team will definitely make the playoffs on NFL Network Thursday, the Jets have a long road ahead that starts against a Seahawks team that is undefeated at home in one of the toughest places to play in the league.
Coming off their bye week the Jets are looking to end a two-game losing skid that saw their perfect 2-0 divisional record even out at .500 following losses to New England and Miami. The bye week is usually reserved for a self-evaluation period and with theirs coming smack in the middle of the season mistakes are still correctable.
“There are some things that you see about yourself. Again, some of the things, it’s really disappointing. We’re turning the ball over. We’re fumbling the ball away. The red zone turnovers have really been costly, obviously, because you’re taking points off of your board and, in some cases, putting them on the other team’s board. On defense, things are really not to our standards with our red zone defense and our third-down defense. Our run defense is not where we want it to be. It’s improving, but it’s not where we want it to be. Those are areas that (we have to improve in) and on special teams, where we normally lay our hat that hey this is how we build our football team, (we need to improve). We have to get back to who we say we are,” Ryan said on Monday.
A silver-lining amid the growing list of Ryan’s disappointments are the recent improvement on run defense an offense. According to Ryan, over the last 100 attempts his defense is allowing 3.1 yards per carry and the offense is gaining 4.3 yards.
The silver-lining for Mark Sanchez may be growing thinner by the week as he continues his sporadic play that has followed him through the first three years of his career. After two strong performances against Indianapolis and New England, Sanchez laid a goose egg at home against Miami — perhaps proving former coach Pete Carroll’s doubts as Sanchez left USC early for NFL fame and fortune.
“I felt it was the right decision no matter what, no matter what anybody said. When you make a decision like that, there’s no turning back. I think the most important thing I heard during that process is I have to live it out to be the right decision for me, no matter what. He wasn’t the only one saying don’t go. There were plenty of people, my parents included,” Sanchez said on Wednesday.
Currently ranked 10th in the AFC playoff picture, the Jets need to continue to tune out the naysayers to right the ship against the Seahawks on Sunday.
WHEN: Sunday, November 11, 2012 @ 4:05 pm EST (Can be seen on CBS or heard on ESPN Radio).
WHERE: Seattle, WA / CenturyLink Field (capacity: 67,000).
SERIES HISTORY: 18th meeting / Seahawks lead all-time 9-8-0.
LAST MEETING: Seahawks, 13, Jets, 3, CenturyLink Field (12/21/08).
NOTABLE: New York has won eight of the last 10 contests against Seattle.
- JETS — Rex Ryan / Fourth Season with Jets / 35-27 (including postseason).
- SEAHAWKS — Pete Carroll / Third Season with Seahawks / 20-23 with Seattle & 54-56 overall as an NFL head coach (including postseason).
- JETS — OUT – Kenrick Ellis, Joe McKnight. QUESTIONABLE – Bart Scott, Brandon Moore, Nick Mangold, Eric Smith,Bilal Powell, Sione Po’uha. PROBABLE – Mark Sanchez, Matt Slauson, Calvin Pace, Mike DeVito, Clyde Gates, Damon Harrison, Jeff Cumberland, Jeremy Kerley,LaRon Landry.
- SEAHAWKS — OUT – James Carpenter, K.J. Wright. DOUBTFUL – Greg Scruggs. QUESTIONABLE – Clinton McDonald. PROBABLE – Doug Baldwin, Red Bryant, Kam Chancellor, Braylon Edwards, Jason Jones, Marshawn Lynch, John Moffitt, Richard Sherman, Max Unger.
- Jets WRs vs. Aggressive Seahawks’ CBs — Listed at 6′3″ and 6′4″, respectively, Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner play a very physical man cover scheme and love to jam receivers at the line. A lanky Stephen Hill has proven to have a tough time handling man press coverage. The 5′9″ Jeremy Kerley has been explosive at times, but against bigger defensive backs will he have as much success as recent history has shown?
- Muhammad Wilkerson vs. Russell Wilson — The Jets top edge setter will have his hands full on Sunday containing the Seahawks rookie QB to stay in the pocket. The 5′11″ Wilson has made his mark by passing outside the pocket on designed rollouts, bootlegs and play-action passes. Wilkerson is leading the team in eight tackles for loss — putting him on track to break Bart Scott’s team-best 18.5 tackles for loss in 2010.
- Ex-Jets vs. Former Team — Leon Washington and Braylon Edwards will be sporting chips on their shoulders as they welcome their former team to their new home. Washington is itching to return a kick against the team that didn’t want to pay him while Edwards hopes to remind nostalgic Jets fan of his 2010 success with Sanchez. In what might be a tough game for Jets fans, watching the mini-matchups may be the most fun they have all Sunday evening.
- Antonio Cromartie, CB, Jets – Perhaps the biggest playmaker on the Jets, Cromartie has adopted the role of Darrelle Revis — yet teams are still throwing in his direction. Ryan’s defense has fared well against rookie QBs this season — with a 1:8 TD:INT ratio in three games against Ryan Tannehill and Andrew Luck. That certainly sounds like a good situation for an opportunistic Cromartie to yet again come through.
- Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks – A fairly obvious choice, but here’s my thinking: Carroll loves to run the ball and will definitely look to Marshawn Lynch to carry the load. But if Wilson can sneak a few deep balls over an aggressive Jets defense coupled with a few more plays on his feet that will prove to be a difference maker.
THE PICK: It’s a tough game for the Jets to win, who’ve shown inconsistencies scoring on offense, against the Seahawks who have given up 15.5 points per game at home playing offensive-minded teams such as Dallas, Green Bay and New England. The Jets are not offensive-minded. SEAHAWKS 27 – NY JETS 14.