Jets vs. Seahawks: How Can New York's Defense Slow Down Seattle's Offense?
If you're hoping for a Jets victory on Sunday, a defensive slugfest is exactly what needs to happen.
The Jets offense has played up or down to its competition all season, which suggests a sluggish day for Gang Green when they have the ball against Seattle's No. 3-ranked defense. While the Jets' defense hasn't been 100 percent consistent, when the Jets have had a chance to win, the defense has been the main reason.
The problem is, against a team that runs the ball well and has a good downfield passer, what do you stop first?
On paper, the Seahawks offense is nothing to be afraid of. Its 5.2 yards-per-play ranks 25th in the NFL, and it has scored more than 16 points in only four of the team's nine games. It's not as easy as it looks, though.
When the Seahawks score more than 16, they are 3-1. When it's 16 or less, they're 2-5.
The Jets' best bet is to keep this a low-scoring game, and they can do that by preventing Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson from going deep.
Jets head coach Rex Ryan has made a trend of winning when he faces a rookie quarterback. The Jets have already had success this year against Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill and Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. The two quarterbacks went 38-for-80, passing for 476 yards and three interceptions (not including Tannehill's 2-for-5 performance in the second game).
The Jets were effective against those passers when blitzing. Likewise, Wilson has not been very effective against the blitz.
The Seahawks quarterback posts a 66.1 passer rating against a blitz, which is 21.1 points lower than his season average and 31.7 points lower than when he's not blitzed. He also has the highest "time to throw" (time from snap to throw) of any quarterback in the league, according to ProFootballFocus.com, which indicates he's had plenty of time in the pocket to survey defenses.
Blitzing seems to be a key, and luckily, it's one of Rex Ryan's favorite things to do.
In doing so, though, gap discipline remains a key.
The Seahawks remain a run-first team, having attempted the third-most rushes of any team in the league. Running back Marshawn Lynch has the league's third-highest yards per game average among running backs and the second-most attempts per game.
What does the Jets defense need to be more concerned with?
Of the same token, Wilson isn't afraid to tuck it and run, with 45 rush attempts on the season, but the Jets would much rather have Wilson scrambling through their defense than give up chunk plays through the air.
Indeed, the Seahawks offense is capable of doing its damage in multiple ways, but the best way to put the brakes on seems to be dominant play from the front seven.
The Jets' ability or inability to bring their A-game up front could be the difference between winning and losing on Sunday.
Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless specified otherwise, all quotes are obtained firsthand.
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