By Peter Schwartz
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“I know we’re not where we want to be. We’re not even close. We’re not sniffing the playoffs. We’re not sniffing anything right now, but I want to get there. I’m excited about the prospects in front of us.”
– Jets head coach Rex Ryan, Nov. 5, 2012
Kind of reminds me of that line from the movie “Airplane” when air-traffic controller Steve McCroskey (played by Lloyd Bridges) says, “I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.”
Counting the bye week, it’s been almost a month since the Jets last sniffed a victory. The odor of losing continues to maintain a presence at 1 Jets Drive in Florham Park, and it’s going to take a monumental effort by everyone to air the place out.
That includes the players, coaches and management.
This week presents a difficult challenge for Gang Green as they visit CenturyLink Field in Seattle to face the Seahawks. Seattle is 5-4 and they reside in second place in the NFC West behind the 49ers. They’re 4-0 at home, and that makes this far from a walk in the park for the Jets.
The Seahawks are 55-29 at home since CenturyLink Field opened in 2002. This is one of the toughest stadiums in the league for visiting teams to deal with — and the Jets know what’s in store for them.
“It’s loud,” said Jets safety Yeremiah Bell. “It’s very loud there. It’s a tough place to play. So we’re going to have to go in there and we’re going to have to have everything right.”
How loud is it in Seattle?
Since 2005, opponents have committed 113 false start penalties over 60 games. That’s an average of 1.88 per game.
Not only will the Jets have to battle a hostile crowd called “The 12th Man,” but they also have to face a good team.
“This team right here, that we’re getting ready to play, is really stout,” said Jets head coach Rex Ryan. “It’s a tough defense and physical and they get after it. Then you look at (it) on offense, they run the ball about as well as anybody. Marshawn Lynch, he’s a tough cookie.”
In addition to Lynch, the Jets will get a firsthand look at Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. The rookie from Wisconsin is completing 62 percent of his passes and has thrown 13 touchdowns to go along with eight interceptions.
“He’s an athletic guy, a guy that can extend the play (and) get the ball down the field,” said cornerback Antonio Cromartie. “I think his best attribute is getting the ball deep down the field on play action. I think on the back-end we just have to play solid.”
Especially on third down when the Jets’ defense is at its worst. They can’t afford that sort of thing this week as Wilson has a passer rating of 154 on third down over his last five games.
Offensively, the Jets will face a very stout Seahawks defense that can really get after the quarterback. Seattle is ranked third in the NFL with 25 sacks.
“They have great edge pass rushers and they’re tough in the middle as well,” said Mark Sanchez. “They have a great front seven.”
Seattle’s talented front seven that includes defensive end Chris Clemons who is 10th in the league with 7 sacks. On the backend, the Seahawks have physical safeties and corners so the Jets will have to navigate carefully.
“They are some of the toughest guys we’ll play,” said Sanchez. “They have great speed and good ball skills and they find the ball in the air. This is one of the best groups we’ll play all year.”
Throw in former Jets fan favorite Leon Washington, who can wreak havoc on special teams, and Gang Green can look forward to one heck of a challenge on Sunday.
At 3-5, if the Jets don’t rise to it, the rest of the season just might turn into a challenge for a high draft pick.
JETS/SEAHAWKS ALL-TIME SERIES
The Seahawks lead the all-time series 9-8, but the Jets have won eight of 10. The Seahawks won the last meeting back on December 21, 2008, a 13-3 victory in Seattle.
An injured (as we would later find out) Brett Favre threw for just 187 yards and had two interceptions. That day might be best (or worst) remembered for a snowball altercation the Jets had with Seattle fans. Former Jets defensive end Shaun Ellis threw one of the biggest snowballs that I’ve ever seen!
This series dates back to 1977. The Seahawks won the first seven meetings. The Jets are 5-5 against the Seahawks at home and 3-4 in Seattle.
BEHIND ENEMY LINES
One of the intriguing storylines for Sunday’s game is a reunion of sorts between Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez. Carroll coached Sanchez at USC and is looking forward to seeing his former pupil.
“It’s going to be cool,” said Carroll. “I love playing against our guys. The people that I love the most, I like to beat the most. It’s always been that way and as we go against our guys, the bad thing is the former USC guys always play well against us.”
Sanchez, along with former USC running back Joe McKnight, certainly hopes that trend continues on Sunday. Sanchez left the Trojans after the 2008 season, entered the 2009 NFL Draft, and was taken fifth overall by the Jets, who moved up to get him. Carroll tried to convince Sanchez to stay in school, that he would benefit from another season, but the quarterback stuck to his guns and bolted for the NFL.
On Sunday, he’ll get a chance to to burn his former coach.
“I’ve never done it other than practice at USC so I know how competitive he is and how bad he wants to win every game,” said Sanchez. “It has nothing to do with me, he just wants to win. So that’s always good, facing somebody like that, it always brings out the best, hopefully, in both sides. I’m thrilled about it. I’ve been watching him from afar and rooting for him, obviously, but maybe not this week.”
The Jets will get to see an old friend on Sunday as they face KR/RB Leon Washington. In 2009, Washington suffered a broken leg and was traded to the Seahawks. He’ll face his former team for the first time on Sunday, and insists he doesn’t have any extra motivation to return a kick for a touchdown against the Jets.
“Man, I would like to take one to the house anytime,” said Washington. “There’s no added attention to me playing the Jets. Honestly, and I’m very serious when I say this, that we’re concerned about what we’re doing out here. Would I like to return the kickoff return against the Jets? Yes. Would I like to return the kickoff return against the 49ers, the Rams or whoever it may be? Yes. So, to answer that question, yes.”
Washington is second on the NFL’s all-time list with seven kick returns for touchdowns.
This is really going to be a tough spot for the Jets. The numbers are not in their favor. The Seahawks can get after the quarterback, run the football, and they have a great home field advantage. They are also 17-6 all-time in games leading into the bye week, the third-best record in the NFL behind the Giants and Cowboys.
REX IS NUMBER ONE!
According to a players poll, Rex Ryan is the most overrated head coach in the league, beating out the Patriots’ Bill Belichick.
It’s not a list that a coach would normally like to be on, but Ryan is not exactly broken up over it.
“My first thought was I looked, saw who was second (and thought), ‘Hey, I finally beat Belichick at something.’ So I got him,” joked Ryan. “I knew it would take time, but I finally got him.”
Here’s the list with the votes:
Rex Ryan, Jets 35
Bill Belichick, Patriots 16
Andy Reid, Eagles 9
Mike Shanahan, Redskins 8
Mike Tomlin, Steelers 4
Jeff Fisher, Rams 3
Jim Harbaugh, 49ers 3
Norv Turner, Chargers 3
Pete Carroll, Seahawks 2
Jason Garrett, Cowboys 2
John Harbaugh, Ravens 2
One AFC player had this to say: “Rex Ryan. His coaching style is over the top. Some of the things he does in front of the cameras are way over the top. You put that with the New York media and he has a pretty big reputation, I guess. I don’t even know if you’d call him overrated anymore because it’s gonna be a couple of years since he was in the AFC finals. He’s pretty funny, and he’s a pretty good coach. But not THAT good.”
Rex wasn’t offended by being ranked No. 1, saying that he’s only concerned that players want to come to the Jets and play for him.
Since this is Week 10 in the NFL, I thought we’d go back a bit for this week’s trivia question. What was so special about the Jets’ Week 10 game in 1968?
Kickoff on Sunday is at 4:05 p.m. EDT. The game will be televised by CBS-2HD and the broadcast team is Marv Albert and Rich Gannon.
The Jets have notched 13 takeaways this season and have converted nine of them into points.
Antonio Cromartie is tied for the AFC lead with three interceptions.
My record this season: 6-2.
You can forget about all of the X’s and O’s when breaking this game down, because the Jets have no chance to win — NO CHANCE!
Think about this: If Jets have so much trouble getting personnel on the field with 10,000 empty seats at home, how are they going to do it in Seattle?
SEAHAWKS 27 JETS 13
On November 17, 1968, the Jets were in Oakland and led the Raiders 32-29 with a minute to go. NBC broke away from the coverage to show the movie “Heidi” and the Raiders rallied to beat the Jets 43-32. The contest has been referred to since then as “The Heidi Game.”
That’s all for now! Check back Monday for a recap.
What’s your prediction? Let us know in the comments below!