During the season, Bent's Game Analysis charts games for some of the Jets' upcoming opponents, enabling a breakdown of what to watch out for on gameday…
The Jets' ill-fated trip to Kansas City left the coaching staff with plenty to work on as they seek to avoid falling into a 1-3 hole to start the season. The Seahawks come to town having navigated a sluggish start to the year on offense to emerge with a 2-1 record. The teams last met in Seattle in 2012 where the Jets defense kept them in the game until the fourth quarter before Golden Tate sparked the Seahawks to rally for a 28-7 win. Can the Jets get their season back on track by beating a team that was expected to be one of the best in the NFC this year?
After the jump, I break down the positional groupings (BGA style!) to try and highlight what to watch out for.
The big story this week has been Russell Wilson's availability. After he left the 49ers game on Sunday with a knee injury, his status for the Jets game was in doubt but he's apparently had a good week of practice and should be good to go.
At his best, Wilson's mobility and creativity make him a unique and dangerous weapon. However, even before the knee injury, Wilson was already dealing with ankle issues and the Seahawks scored just 15 points in the first two games combined. If the Jets can get to Wilson a few times, which could be easier than usual if his mobility is compromised, then Wilson could be at risk of being knocked out of the game again. Look for the Seahawks to do everything they can to prevent that.
If he is knocked out, undrafted rookie Trevone Boykin is the next man up. Boykin, who was a dual threat quarterback in college, came off the bench against the 49ers early in the second half and was able to comfortably protect a 27-3 lead. However, Seattle was outscored 15-10 with him in the game. He threw one touchdown pass and an interception.
With Wilson banged up, that piles more pressure on a much-maligned Seahawks offensive line that looks set to make a key change. Rookie Germain Ifedi, their first-round pick, is set to make his NFL debut at right guard, having missed the first three games with an ankle injury. Whether he will upgrade a struggling group in his first game in a tough matchup against Leonard Williams is another matter.
If Ifedi starts, that will move J'Marcus Webb back to the bench. Webb, the former Bear, had really struggled over the first three games, especially in the running game. He will now be able to back up at both guard and tackle, where he has extensive experience. Webb was one of a few changes that so far don't seem to have helped a struggling unit very much.
Left tackle Bradley Sowell was a full time starter for most of 2013 with the Cardinals, but really struggled, especially in pass protection. Since that time, he's been a backup and has barely played. He won the left tackle role but has had four penalties in the first three games.
Last year's fourth-round pick, Mark Glowinski, has made the left guard spot his own after a rookie season where he played only one snap until the final game of the season, which he started. Glowinski's inexperience was evident against the formidable Rams front in week two, so he will likely have his hands full with the Jets too.
Right tackle Garry Gilliam and center Justin Britt, two players entering their third season, are the only returning starters from last year. Both graded out among the worst in the league at their position last season. Gilliam is another player who really struggled against the Rams, but Britt has started the season quite well.
The Jets claimed Troymaine Pope after final cuts, as Pope's outstanding preseason was insufficient to break into a group mostly made up of recent draft picks. Their lead back - Thomas Rawls - was actually undrafted, but he's been ruled out for this game with a leg injury anyway.
With the Seahawks hoping someone would step up in Lynch's absence, it's been Christine Michael that has stepped into a starting role and produced well. Michael rushed for 106 yards in the win over the 49ers on Sunday, a career high. Prior to that, the former second-round pick had been a disappointment, although he did tease some promise with another 100-yard game right at the end of last year. Michael has had a couple of drops and a fumble in the passing game, though.
Rookies Alex Collins and C.J. Prosise could back up Michael, but the Seahawks also just signed C.J. Spiller. Spiller has broken some long runs against the Jets during his time with the Bills. Prosise is due to return from a broken hand that kept him sidelined over the past two weeks.
Seattle's number one receiver, Doug Baldwin, who is coming off a 1,000-yard season where he accumulated 14 touchdowns, is once again is leading Seattle in the passing game. He's also dealing with some off-field distractions after reportedly receiving death threats after publicly advocating for social change.
After Baldwin, the only Seahawk in double figures for receptions is tight end Jimmy Graham, who has been a disappointment since arriving in Seattle, but remains a dangerous weapon. He's been limited in practice this week, but is expected to play.
Jermaine Kearse is a solid third option, capable of producing from the slot, and Tyler Lockett is coming off an impressive rookie year. Lockett has established himself as a big play threat and is averaging almost 17 yards per catch so far this season.
Paul Richardson and undrafted rookie Tanner McEvoy provide depth off the bench. McEvoy is a big target at 6-foot-6.
At tight end, the Seahawks will run plenty of two tight end sets and Luke Willson is another good option to go along with Graham.
The Seahawks' defense is packed with experienced veterans that are capable of exploiting mistakes by the other team. Their defensive line is solid against the run and generates plenty of pressure, let by Michael Bennett. Despite unsuccessfully lobbying for a contract extension in the offseason, Bennett hasn't let that affect his production and is off to a fine start to the year.
Bennett combined with veteran Cliff Avril for 19 sacks last season, although Avril has just one sack in the first three games this year. Veteran space-stuffer Ahtyba Rubin and rookie Jarran Reed are listed as starters inside, but Bennett will often move inside on passing downs. Reed is dealing with a hip issue, but Tony McDaniel is an experienced option to fill in for him if he can't go.
The Seahawks' line had almost unprecedented depth in recent years as they went eight or nine deep to anchor a defense that went to two straight Super Bowls. They can't boast the same kind of depth at the moment, but Frank Clark has been productive in his second season, leading them with three sacks.
Bobby Wagner anchors the defense at middle linebacker, continuing to impress against the run and in coverage due to his range, athleticism and experience. KJ Wright is just as important to the team's success, though, with his abilities in man-to-man coverage against tight ends. However, since one of Seattle's key attributes is an ability to take out a weapon the Jets don't use anyway, then Wright's abilities perhaps won't have the usual impact.
Mike Morgan is the other starter and has also been dealing with injury issues. However, he doesn't play that much anyway because the Seahawks tend to spend the majority of the time in a 4-2-5 nickel package.
While nobody should be overlooking the strength of their front seven, it's the defensive backs which set Seattle apart from many other contenders. Richard Sherman is a shutdown corner and the safety tandem of Earl Thomas ranging deep and Kam Chancellor in the box is not only one of the best in the league, but maybe even a contender to be considered one of the best in history.
The other starting cornerback is DeShawn Shead, who has played well so far. However, Kenny Britt gave him a few problems in the Rams game. Jeremy Lane sees plenty of time in the nickel.
Remarkably, the four starters have played every snap so far this year and Lane is the other defensive back to see action. Any injuries on Sunday could therefore be disruptive. Kelcie McCray, who started a couple of games at the end of last season, could be the next man up.
Kicker Steven Hauschka is off to a perfect start this season, although none of his made field goals have been from over 40 yards. He missed just two all year last year and made all six from beyond 50. Jon Ryan is a reliable veteran at punter.
Lockett is a real threat in the return game. He broke two returns for touchdowns last season and had a 62-yard punt return last weekend. Richardson has been handling kickoff return duties so far this year, although Lockett had that role last year. Spiller could also contribute there.
Finally, in coverage, Cassius Marsh is developing into a top producer and McCray is also a key contributor.
I'll be back tomorrow to recap the game.
Stats from PFF were used in the completion of this article.