Heading into their Week 4 matchup, the Jets’ season may already be at a crossroads.
The Seattle Seahawks (2-1) are still considered among the league’s elite, but they’re a banged-up outfit at key positions. Their franchise quarterback, Russell Wilson, is hobbled with an MCL sprain. Their star tight end, Jimmy Graham, is still working his way back from a surgically repaired right patella tendon rupture, last season. Their starting running back, Thomas Rawls, is out a few weeks with a hairline fracture in his fibula – although his stand-in, Christine Michael, may be even better. And the Seahawks must travel east and play a 1 p.m. game, which means their collective body clocks will still be on 10 a.m. time.
All those factors are working against the Seahawks, but can the Jets (1-2) take advantage of them and exorcize the ghosts of Kansas City past?
Head coach Todd Bowles noted that the team had their “come -to-Jesus meeting” following the debacle at Arrowhead, with the hope that his team has put that performance in the past in order to fully give the Seahawks the proper attention they deserve. Wilson may start, as the latest injury report listed him as questionable. He’s one of the sport’s biggest gamers, so the Jets should prepare for him as the starter. But if he can’t go, that means rookie Trevone Boykin will get the nod. The undrafted free agent out of TCU looked sharp at times in relief, last week, but that was against the San Francisco 49ers. The Jets’ defensive front, particularly the defensive line, could – and should – wreak havoc on either a hobbled Wilson or the inexperienced Boykin.
And although New York has the 21st-ranked pass defense, their pass rush could be a great band-aid, so look for Seattle to use Michael a lot early to slowly drain Gang Green and also keep the pressure off whichever quarterback is under center.
This game is very important for the Jets, mainly because the AFC East may already be decided with the New England Patriots sitting at 3-0, even without the services of Tom Brady. But second place could still bring a Wild Card berth, so falling to 1-3 this early in a competitive AFC could be an uphill battle for Gang Green. New York already has two losses within the conference, so they really can’t afford to be passed by in the standings. The Miami Dolphins kick off this week with a Thursday night affair in Cincinnati to play an ornery Bengals squad that is coming off a surprising home loss to the Denver Broncos. And the Buffalo Bills head to New England, having lost 23 of its last 25 contests to them.
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who single-handedly gave away the game in Kansas City, said he’s already cleansed himself of that albatross and is not taking anything for granted heading into a contest that has some key advantages aimed the Jets’ way.
“Every week is tough. You can’t just sit and try to predict based off of the week before how a team is and how they’re going to respond or play,” he said. “It’s another game. We’ve got another game to go out there and try to prove ourselves.”
Should the Jets show and prove on Sunday, and the aforementioned other lesser divisional foes lose as expected, Gang Green will be back in business, sitting at .500. They’ll need to put together a complete game, though, against a Seahawks squad that has yielded just 37 points so far this season. The ideal game for the Jets would be a combination of Week 1’s defense (seven sacks of the Bengals’ Andy Dalton) with Week 2’s offense (37 points and nearly 500 yards of total offense in Buffalo).
If they come anywhere near duplicating those performances, the Jets will beat Seattle and won’t have a need for any more deity-themed team conferrals.
Gang Green notes:
- Wideout Eric Decker is dealing with a shoulder injury that may keep him out of Sunday’s tilt. He’ll initially be listed as questionable.
- Rookie wideout Jalin Marshall and rookie defensive lineman Lawrence Thomas are also dealing with shoulder issues, as each have a torn labrum. Bowles noted they both could be out a couple of weeks.
- Cornerback Darrelle Revis is dealing with an ankle issue, but he deemed not too serious.
- The Jets have officially parted ways with disappointing cornerback Dee Milliner, who was cut from injured reserve.