2016 NFL Week 4 Preview: Seahawks vs. Jets
This will be an early game, on the road, in New York. This would be a struggle for Seattle under normal circumstances, a west coast team playing at 10:00am their time. These, however, are not normal circumstances. Seattle can potentially welcome back guard Germain Ifedi, running back C.J. Prosise, and tight end Nick Vannett. For Ifedi and Vannett, this would be the first time they have played this season. Additionally, Seattle also gets to bring former Saints RB C.J. Spiller into the fold, to contribute on third downs. This is somewhat good, as they will bring major reinforcements on the offense. Russell Wilson is still recovering from a high ankle sprain, with an MCL sprain to boot. While he has progressed remarkably in his recovery, he should still be considered questionable to play. This is bad. The Seahawks will have to battle the Jets’ loaded defensive line, featuring Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, and Leonard Williams. That’s just fucked.
Seattle will have their work cut out for them, despite facing another poor quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick, and an anemic run game where feature back Matt Forte (formerly of the Chicago Bears) is squeezing out just 3.9 yards per carry. Also, with Jets receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker dealing with injuries, it seems like a fun matchup for the Seahawks defense on paper. Regardless of that theory, the reality is that the defense to get settled in quickly and continues to play at the high level they have been all season. I am hopeful that Fitzpatrick will build upon his six-interception wonder in Kansas City last Sunday, which would take a good bit of pressure off of the Seahawks offense. But if you’ve watched Seahawks football for more than a week or two, or read any of my Seahawks tweets, you know exactly how disruptive a solid defensive line can be against the Seahawks. And that’s just a solid defensive line. The Jets’ defensive line is unquestionably among the elites. Fun. Quicker passing and a very heavy dose of the run game will be critical if the Seahawks are to pull out a win here. Christine Michael should still be very hot off of his 106-yard, 2-touchdown performance against the 49ers, but also managed prior success attacking talented defensive lines with poor run blocking going into week three. He should continue to produce. Spiller’s role for this upcoming game is to be determined, but if he does not play, Prosise and Alex Collins will likely split any snaps that Michael doesn’t take.
If the offensive line can play about 80% as well as they did against the 49ers, it would be a huge blessing. As onerous as New York’s defensive line is, there is light at the end of that tunnel. The Jets have been remarkably vulnerable in the pass game, giving up explosive plays without forcing many turnovers. Star cornerback Darrelle Revis has been a shell of himself, struggling to cover elite and speedy wide-outs without safety help. Enter: Seattle’s receivers. Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett bring precisely the shiftiness, long speed, and route running precision needed to stress the Jets secondary, and Jimmy Graham seems to have regained his old form. Paul Richardson brings 4.3 speed to this offense, and should have his number dialed several times vertically. The biggest question here is this; will Russell Wilson be available under center for this game? If not, Trevone Boykin will be called upon to try and fill the void. Boykin has shown very little in regular season action, completing 7 of 9 passes for 65 yards, one touchdown, and an interception. Either way, the coaches and players will have to be thorough in preparing for a familiar foe in Jets head coach Todd Bowles, former defensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals. I have hammered the OL about their performance in the past, but they deserve credit for how they played last Sunday. And they have to do it again this Sunday too. Keeping whoever’s under center upright and out of harm’s way will be mandatory if we are to have success in an overall hostile situation.