This is an express edition of the 3 Keys for the early game today. The New York Jets are a good team, but the matchups on a one to one ratio mostly favor Seattle. The challenge will be keeping Russell Wilson upright and healthy, but that is not a matchup worth analyzing as we know the Jets Defensive Line is better than Seattle’s Offensive Line. Here are 3 swing matchups that are likely keys to a Seattle win:
1. The Thick Blue Line
Matt Forte is the center piece of the Jets Offense so far in 2016, but the passing game is still dangerous if QB Ryan Fitzpatrick starts throwing it to the guys on his own team instead of Defensive Backs. Seattle needs to be able to defend the pass with both Safeties as well as KJ Wright and even Bobby Wagner dropping into coverage more. That means the front four for Seattle will have to be able to match the toughness and physicality of an experienced and talented New York Jets Offensive Line. Everything we’ve seen this season says that Michael Bennett and company are up to the challenge, but this will still be a situation to watch.
2. Senior Contributions
Christine Michael Sr was finally let loose last week and he gave the coaching staff great reason to trust him going forward. He was able to carry the load, showed a second gear and burst on a 41 yard touchdown run, and generally was everything the team needed him to be. The aggressive Jets Defense with blitz happy Todd Bowles calling the shots will need to be given a reason to pause, and the quick passing game is likely to give them one as it has been one of the most successful parts of the Seattle Offense this season. However, if Michael can gash them and make them pay that could be where big chunks of yards happen in this game. If Michael gets loose the way he did against the 49ers in Week 3, this could even turn into a big of a blowout.
3. Forgetting Brandon Marshall
If there is a player in the pass game that could torch Seattle, assuming the Seahawks are able to crash down on Matt Forte’s short routes, it is Brandon Marshall. The man is big, physical, and very experienced. He is one of the more dependable and still dangerous pass catchers in the NFL, and the team should respect him the way they do Larry Fitzgerald. It is safe to say that Richard Sherman likely won’t be the one to cover Marshall as the Jets would be wise to hide him on the other side. That leaves either Jeremy Lane or DeShawn Shead on Marshall, which will be one of the biggest key matchups of the game. Shead is nearly as large and matches up physically, while Lane offers better recovery speed. Either way, I would hope to see Safety help over the top, and if he can be held under 100 yards and with 1 or fewer touchdowns it will go a long way to seeing a Seattle win.