The New York Jets ring in the new year with a monumental opportunity later this afternoon in Seattle.
The Jets are only guaranteed two more games at the moment, but they still have life when it comes to their playoff hopes. A win today, however, is a must if they want to get there.
Competing on the road against another cold, struggling 7-8 football team in the Seahawks with the postseason still in play will be a challenge for the Jets. But one in which there is no excuse for the Jets to not get the job done.
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New York Jets vs Seattle Seahawks Preview:
Offensively, the Jets will have Mike White back under center today. Without him, over the last two games, the Jets offense had more than enough struggles, totaling 20 points in both games. In his return, White has one favorable opportunity against a 29th-ranked Seahawks defense (373.4 yards per game) which also happens to be 29th in scoring (25.3 points per game).
As noted earlier in the week, the run game for the Jets has got to get going in order to win this one. Over the last two weeks, the Jets rushing attack has run for 116 yards (58 per game), averaging 2.8 yards per rush.
On the other hand, the Seahawks’ run defense comes into this matchup ranking 31st in football (155.5 yards per game), allowing 4.9 yards per carry (tied for 25th). In recent weeks (five of the last six), the Seahawks have allowed teams to run for 283, 223, 171, 170, and 161 yards. No excuse for the Jets to not get at least 125 yards on the ground today.
Getting the ground game going will only help a Jets offensive line that has had its problems recently. Also, lead to big-play opportunities for the Jets’ talented pass-catchers, Garrett Wilson, Elijah Moore, Corey Davis, and Tyler Conklin.
On the defensive side of the football, the Jets come into this game as the third-ranked unit in the NFL (309.3 yards per game). They have what should be a good battle against the Seahawks’ 13th-ranked offense (348.5 yards per game).
The Seahawks rank 11th in passing (238.7 yards per game) and 10th in scoring (24.3 points per game). However, the Jets’ defense ranks top-five in both categories. They are fifth in pass defense, allowing 195.5 yards per game, and fourth in scoring, giving up 18.8 points a game.
As has been the case all year, the Jets’ defense will need to rise up for the team to have a chance to win. Led by Quinnen Williams, Sauce Gardner, DJ Reed, and C.J. Mosley, among many other talented defensive players, ultimately expect the unit to once again deliver in a pivotal game today.
The two keys for them are being more opportunistic and creating splash plays. The Jets’ defense has not been opportunistic over this 1-5 stretch, forcing a total of two turnovers. Not only a lack of turnovers but the splash plays, sacks have been nearly impossible to come by over the last two weeks, as just one has been recorded. While they can shut opponents down, big, impact plays have got to come to win today.
In the end, this will likely be a one-score game late in which the Jets are going to have to execute much better situationally as a team. Turnovers, third down, red zone, penalties, time of possession, and special teams will all play a role in the final outcome. Doing a better job of staying ahead of the chains offensively should translate to more points. The defense will likely just continue their strong play in a must-win situation. While it will be tough, the Jets need to find a way late to grab this one and get to 8-8.