At 9-5, and atop the AFC East currently, due to, for once, having luck on their side, and owning all of the possible tiebreakers, the New York Jets have their most important game of the season on Sunday in Seattle against the Seahawks.
Win, and they control their own destiny going into a huge showdown with the Miami Dolphins in New York for the last game of the regular season.
Lose, and anything can happen.
You get the idea, this is a must-win game for the Jets on Sunday.
A few huge factors are against them though. First, they are in Seattle for this game, and going West this season has not treated the Jets well at all.
Second, Seattle, while 3-11, does have talent on both sides of the ball.
They have been destroyed by injuries as well.
In short, this is not your typical 3-11 team.
Most of the pieces are still there from a team that went to the Super Bowl a few short seasons ago.
Yes, there is no more Shaun Alexander, but regardless, the team still has a nice three-headed rushing attack of Julius Jones, Maurice Morris, and T.J. Duckett.
In addition, Deion Branch will be going up against the subpar Jets secondary.
In the past, Branch has torched the Jets as a Patriot, and he still has the talent to make the Jets pay dearly on Sunday.
Even if Darrelle Revis covers him, all it takes is one slip by Revis in coverage for Branch to make a big play. At the same time, the defense can make plays.
When you combine this with the Jets looking as if they are not interested in the playoffs recently, this could be a recipe for disaster on Sunday. If the Jets are not careful, they could get blown out.
This Seattle team has taken the Patriots to the wire before losing, and they have been close in many other games.
The 3-11 mark is very cruel to them. This could be a five, six, or maybe even seven-win team if a few bounces went their way earlier in the season.
The Jets, meanwhile, they have everything to play for, and usually, when this is the case, they do not step up to the plate.
So many things could go wrong for the Jets on Sunday. Will they though? Possibly, but do not bet on it. Do bet though on this being a very close game, one that may give some Jets fans heart attacks.
When the Seahawks have the ball, Seneca Wallace, quarterback of the Seahawks now with Matt Hasselbeck suffering seemingly every injury known to man this season, will inflict damage to the Jets.
Even though the offensive line is without the great Walter Jones, and even though it will struggle, Wallace has the legs to improvise.
If the Jets do get a pass rush on him, which we all know has been a problem for the Jets recently, it may not matter. Wallace may escape the pressure, and this could leave the receivers open throughout the game.
Deion Branch will probably make a few big plays as well, but the man to really keep an eye on here is tight end John Carlson. Tight ends have hurt the Jets all season, and Carlson is quickly turning into a poor man's Tony Gonzalez.
With the receivers getting hurt almost on every play this season, Carlson has stepped up, and he has been a Chris Cooley like option for the team.
In short, he is a player the Jets have to watch on every single play.
Finally, with the rushing attack, between the three running backs, yards will be gained, and they will move the chains. Will they make the big plays though that will end up breaking the backs of the Jets?
Do not count on it.
After the huge defensive touchdown against the Bills last week that may end up saving the Jets season, the unit will be lively for the first time in weeks.
They will give up the yards like they usually do, but look for them to force turnovers, and to keep the Seahawks guessing on the offensive side of the ball all day long.
With this in mind though, will the offense make the Seahawks pay for these mistakes?
For the first time in weeks, yes they will.
Brett Favre is going up against his old coach and mentor, Mike Holmgren. When playing against old coaches, Favre usually tears it up.
In addition, he is trying to prove to everyone that the Jets made the right call in getting him before the season started. He was acquired exactly for games like these. Through sheer grit, Favre will make the entire receiving core a factor on Sunday.
He will limit his mistakes, and he will prove that he still has plenty left in his tank, even if he does not think this. The legend will prove once again why he is one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever put on a uniform.
This, in turn, will open up the running game, and Thomas Jones and Leon Washington will benefit greatly from this. Jones will turn in his usual stellar game, and Washington, he will make a huge impact as well.
He will end up touching the ball a lot more because of the coaches finally realizing that he is worth more than five touches or so per game.
With these touches, he will make life miserable for the Seahawks all day long, and when combined with a great game from Favre, this will be enough to get the Jets the victory.
It will be a close game, but look for a Jets 27-21 victory to put them at 10-5 heading into their huge showdown with the Miami Dolphins next week.
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