Why the Seahawks Deserve to Be Such Monster Favorites over Jaguars in Week 3

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Why the Seahawks Deserve to Be Such Monster Favorites over Jaguars in Week 3
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

NFL games aren't played on paper, but boy, the Seattle Seahawks-Jacksonville Jaguars contest has "blowout" written all over it. 

The 2-0 Seattle Seahawks, a team that hasn't lost at home since Christmas Eve of 2011, host an anemic 0-2 Jacksonville Jaguars squad that last emerged victorious on the road on September 23 of last year. 

It really doesn't get anymore "great defense against horrible offense" than this game.

Seattle is a 19.5-point betting favorite, and the spread could expand as Sunday approaches. 

Here's why the rather absurd spread is warranted.

 

Team-to-Team

Parity rules the NFL now more than ever. Heading into Week 3, 22 of the 32 games played have been decided by a touchdown or less, the most in league history, according to ESPN.  

Brian Bahr/Getty Images

The Jaguars have not been involved in any of those 22 games to start the year. They lost 22-2 to the Kansas City Chiefs to start the season and 19-9 to the Oakland Raiders

The Seahawks squeaked past the Carolina Panthers, 12-7, in Week 1 and dismantled the mighty San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night, 29-3.

Jacksonville's only touchdown of the year came on a Chad Henne-to-Clay Harbor pass with two minutes and 53 seconds left in the fourth quarter of Week 2's loss to the Raiders.

Seattle hasn't been an offensive juggernaut either, but the most glaring mismatch will take place when the Jaguars try to move the football on the Seahawks. 

Here's a statistical breakdown of Seattle's defense and Jacksonville's offense thus far:

Jaguars Offense vs. Seahawks Defense
Running Back Yards Per Carry Passing Yards Per Attempt Sacks Points Per Game QB Rating
Jaguars 2.5 5.0 11 5.5 63.2
Seahawks 3.4 4.9 4 5.0 52.1

ESPN

After watching what the Seahawks defense did to Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick in consecutive weeks, it's actually somewhat frightening to imagine what Henne is in for. 

Here's the reverse statistical breakdown: 

Seahawks Offense vs. Jaguars Defense
Running Back Yards Per Carry Passing Yards Per Attempt Sacks Points Per Game QB Rating
Seahawks 3.5 8.9 6 20.5 96.8
Jaguars 5.8 5.2 4 23.5 86.8

ESPN

The Jaguars defense hasn't been atrocious, but they were thrashed on the ground against Darren McFadden in Week 2.

Let's take a look at some of the individual mismatches in this contest.

 

Quarterback

Russell Wilson burst onto the professional football scene in his rookie year after beating out Matt Flynn for the starting quarterback job. 

Chad Henne filled in for an injured Blaine Gabbert and appeared in 10 games. 

Let's compare their 2012 seasons:

Chad Henne vs. Russell Wilson
Completion % Passing Yards Per Game Yards/Attempt TD% INT%
Chad Henne 53.9 208.4 6.89 3.6 3.6
Russell Wilson 64.1 194.8 7.9 6.6 2.5

ProFootballReference

Henne actually threw for more yards per game than Wilson, but the Seahawks signal-caller was clearly more efficient across the board. 

To start the season, Henne is 28-for-44 for 277 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. Wilson is 33-for-52 for 462 yards with two scores and an interception. 

The quarterback is the most vital position on the field, and the Seahawks have a major advantage at that spot in this one. 

 

The Lines 

Seattle may have the most disruptive defensive line in football despite not having a legitimate pass-rushing star on the outside. 

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Playing San Francisco on Sunday night, a team that boasts an elite offensive line and ground game, Frank Gore was held to 1.8 yards per carry, and the fleet-footed Kaepernick was sacked on three occasions. 

Even with No. 2 overall pick Luke Joeckel at right tackle, Pro Football Focus (subscription required) has graded the Jaguars as the third-worst run-blocking offensive line heading into this matchup. 

This tweet from NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah summed up the Jaguars' offensive ineptitude:

Yikes.

Remember, against the Raiders, the Jaguars went 35 minutes of game time without moving the chains.  

Henne and Maurice Jones-Drew, who's dealing with a tendon sprain in his ankle, won't have an easy go of it on Sunday.

 

Seattle's Secondary vs. Jacksonville's Outside Weapons 

Last year, the Seahawks secondary became a premier group led by the blanket coverage of outspoken cornerback Richard Sherman. 

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

This season, the Seattle defensive backs have picked up where they left off.

Greg Olsen's five-catch, 56-yard performance in Week 1 is the best individual effort by a wide receiver or tight end allowed by the Seahawks in their first two games. 

Cecil Shorts caught eight passes for 93 yards against a below-average Raiders defensive backfield a week ago, but with Justin Blackmon still serving his four-game suspension, Jacksonville doesn't have any semblance of an intimidation factor in its pass-catching contingent. 

With what should be a dominant day from Seattle's defensive line, the ultraphysical secondary will likely piece together another stingy effort against Shorts, Clay Harbor, Ace Sanders and Co. 

 

Home-Field Advantage

In 2012, the Seahawks were much better in front of their boisterous home crowd than on the road. 

Here's a look at the defensive home-away disparity:

Seahawks Home-Away Defensive Stats
Total Yards Allowed Per Game Points Allowed Per Game Sacks INTs
Home 288.625 11.875 21 18
Away 323.75 18.75 15 11

ProFootballReference

While most teams are better at home than on the road, the noise factor at CenturyLink Field is huge. According The Seattle Times, Seahawks fans set a Guinness world record for loudest stadium against San Francisco. 

Midway through the third quarter, during a goal-line stand that stopped the 49ers, the noise reached 136.6 decibels, said Bill Stewart, the sound engineer and partner at SSA Acoustics in Seattle who did the measuring.

Now, it probably won't be as loud inside CenturyLink against the Jaguars as it was against the divisional rival 49ers, but it certainly won't be a friendly atmosphere for the clearly and epically overmatched Jaguars in Week 3.

 

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