Outsider’s Look: Seattle Seahawks

Brian Bassett , TheJetsBlog.com

We try to look at the Jets opponents every week and take some of the statistical numbers from Football Outsiders to better understand what the Jets will be facing on Sunday.  Reminder, positive percentages are good on offense and specials, bad on defense.

Pass Offense: 16.8% (12th)
Rush Offense: 10.6% (6th)
O-Line Adjusted Line Yards: 4.43 Yards (4th)
O-Line Adj. Sack Rate: 5.7% (14th)

Analysis: The solid play of this offense is based off three core components.  (1) Their offensive line is playing an amazing brand of smashmouth football, executing their blocks very well which allows (2) an already talented player like Marshawn Lynch to bowl over defenders and get positive yards on pretty much every play.  This then allows their rookie (3) quarterback to make plays when necessary, but for the burden to not be on shoulders as much.  When it’s short yardage, the responsibility falls to Lynch and then when he’s in 3rd and medium or 3rd and longs he’s making plays enough of the time to keep the chains moving enough for his team to score 20+ a game.

Sure Lynch might not be as flashy a player and get long runs like Adrian Peterson or CJ Spiller can, but his innate ability to steadily gain yards punishing defenders on a play by play basis with a few nice eludes here and there is reminiscent to me of Curtis Martin.  The Jets are going to have to be disciplined tacklers to have a chance from keeping the Seahawks from moving the ball on them at will.  Look for Cromartie to mark Sidney Rice most of the game, as he’s their deadliest target by a wide margin so far this season.

Pass Defense: -22.0% (3rd)
Rush Defense: -19.2% (6th)
Defensive Adjusted Line Yards: 3.91 Yards (13th)
Defensive Adj. Sack Rate: 7.3% (11th)

Analysis: If their line isn’t doing a super-duper job at defending the run (13th), but they are still grading out well against the run that tells me that their linebackers are having an insane season.  The Jets are going to have to think long and hard about how to attack this defense.  The Jets might relish using Greene, Powell, Hilliard and even Tebow to try and grind out some tough yards against the line, but not expect to average over four yards much of the day because the linebackers will be swooping in to stone the runner.  The Jets need to consider how to move the ball on the ground and beat those linebackers and while I hate to say it, that actually might mean Wildcat.  Irvin and Clemons have done a good job in getting to the passer, and so the Jets are going to have to figure out how to neutralize them.  That might mean short passes, rollouts, screen plays, anything to counter a good pass rush.  Of course that is able to work on most teams, but with players like Richard Sherman, Brandon Browner and Marcus Trufant, the Jets are going to be bumped at the line of scrimmage.  The Jets are going to have to figure out ways to buy Sanchez more time (max protect) but at the same time get those receivers free sooner rather than later.

The Seahawks aren’t weak much of anywhere, but the Jets should consider trying to exploit the Seahawks trouble against slot receivers.  Look for Keller to be split out or see them move Kerley inside often to take advantage of that specific weakness for Seattle.

Special Teams: 2.6% (10th)

Analysis: This is a bad week for the Jets to be without Joe McKnight, one of Seattle’s strengths is their ability to cover their kicks quite well, putting opponents in bad starting position of drives.  Considering just how dominant this Seattle defense has been this year, the Jets are going to have to do anything they can to mitigate this and get their drives started further downfield because this could quickly become a field position game for the Jets.  The Seahawks kicker has had a mediocre year, so if it comes to clutch or long-range kicks, keep that in mind too.