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6 Storylines to Watch: Jets-Seahawks

Green & White Need to Maintain Rush Lanes, Get Improved Play in the Red Area


Ground Attack: Despite a 1-2 start, the Jets have gotten solid efforts in the rush game as their 59-yard differential (130.7 rush yards per game and 71.7 yards allowed per game) ranks No. 2 in the NFL.  While backup Christine Michael leads the 'Hawks with 232 yards and is averaging 5.2 yards a pop, they are missing Thomas Rawls to injury (hairline fracture) and QB Russell Wilson has been limited to 33 yards on the ground. Marshawn Lynch hung up the cleats and yet Seattle has still out-rushed its opponent in two of their first three contests. Matt Forte's 261 rush yards rank sixth in the NFL while Bilal Powell has averaged 8.1 yards on his nine carries.*

*The Iron Man: Wilson has never missed a start in the National Football League, totaling 77 in all (67 regular season, 10 postseason). Despite suffering a sprained right ankle in Week 1 and then a sprained MCL of his left knee Week 3, Wilson is expected to suit up once again Sunday. If the ultra-competitive Wilson is down, then Seattle would turn to rookie QB Trevone Boykin for his first NFL start.  Wilson's franchise-record 101.1 passer rating ranks second all-time in NFL history. He practiced Wednesday and Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said he'd be surprised if a determined Wilson does not play at MetLife Stadium.

Setting the Edge: Both Wilson and Boykin own quick feet and they can be elusive targets. Wilson creates trouble by getting outside of contain, so the Jets will stress discipline within their rush lanes.  The Seahawks have allowed seven sacks and the Jets have racked up nine sacks over three contests.  By creating interior pressure, the Green & White can take away throwing paths from the 5'11" Wilson or the 6'1" Boykin. The Jets will counter with a defensive line featuring some long trees in Leonard Williams (6'5"), Muhammad Wilkerson (6'4"), and Sheldon Richardson (6'3") and Steve McLendon (6'3).

Jets Return Home to Face Seattle on Sunday

Lowering the Boom: Can the Jets pass offense get back on track against perhaps the most talented secondary in all of football?  After Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick carved up the Bills secondary, he was victimized by six interceptions in a loss to the Chiefs. But Fitzpatrick has turned the page and he vows to be ready for a group that includes CB Richard Sherman and stud safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas. The 'Hawks rank No. 2 in pass defense (162.7 yards per game) and No. 2 in scoring defense (12.3 points per contest), but the Green & White will counter with a WR group that features Brandon Marshall and Quincy Enunwa. Eric Decker aggravated his shoulder injury against the Chiefs and he is expected to have an MRI this week.

Early Alarm Clock: The old adage was West Coast teams hated coming east and getting ready for those early kickoffs. But since 2013, Carroll's club has compiled a 7-5 mark in its last 12 1:00 p.m. ET kickoff starts.  The Jets, who went 6-2 at home last season, will have a whiteout at MetLife Stadium.

Security and Red:Both the Jets (-7) and the Seahawks (-4) are not where they want to be in terms of turnover differential. Last season, the 'Hawks finished T5 in that department at +7 and the Green & White were right behind at No. 8 (+6). Inside the 20, both offenses have struggled to find the end zone as the 'Hawks are T25 in red zone efficiency and the Jets are No. 28 (37.5%). If the Jets protect the football, they should be in this ball game at the end. An amazing stat for the Seahawks is they have a streak of 91 games (including playoffs) where they have led or been within one score in the final quarter.

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