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Seahawks vs Jets keys to the game: What Seattle must do to win

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New York Jets v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images

Well howdy doo, looky here, the Seattle Seahawks actually listened to me in Week 3. The keys to victory were quite simple: contain the defensive ends, get off of the field on third down, sustain, and finish. Check, check, check, aaaaand check.

DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead didn’t make much of an impact throughout the contest, while the Seahawks hoarded ground yardage like madmen.

The Seattle defense stifled the intimidating air raid of Blaine Gabbert and company, allowing zero third down conversions on ten attempts to begin the game.

The Seahawks maintained drives and finished with touchdowns. Seattle’s second drive sustained three bullets in the form of penalties and ended with a Christine Michael rushing touchdown. While garbage time yielded Carlos Hyde two touchdowns, I’ll still bestow upon them a check for finishing because Trevone Boykin earning his first career passing touchdown really negates any opposing argument.

It is clear that this week will be a much stiffer task. Travelling to New York to compete in a 10 a.m. start against a terrifying defense led by blitz-guru Todd Bowles is a much more difficult task than slowing down the 49ers.

This might be the most obvious ‘keys to the game’ piece I’ve written yet, but, you know what? I’m going to ramble on anyways and I’d love for you to take a gander and read it through. Let’s dive in.

Slow Down the Receivers

Brandon Marshall is one of my favorite players in the NFL. A very outspoken advocate of his personal beliefs and a baller on the field, Marshall poses a significant problem for the Seahawks. In the 2012 contest in Chicago, Marshall lit up the Legion of Boom for 10 receptions yielding 165 yards. That included a last-second, miraculous reception over Richard Sherman, setting up a field goal and sending the game to overtime.

With Eric Decker sidelined with a rotator cuff tear, Quincy Enunwa looks to get a higher workload. Enunwa has looked pretty good so far in 2016, and poses a threat likely against Seattle’s corner opposite Richard Sherman.

Marshall and Enunwa are going to get theirs at some point in this game. The key is to keep them out of paydirt, as Marshall scored one metric fuckload of touchdowns in 2015 and Enunwa has reeled in some impressive grabs recently. Their bigger frames and ability to box out defenders give them a significant advantage over most secondaries. Fortunately, the Seahawks have the ability to match up well, if they play within themselves. They’ll need to, if they want to win this game.

Get After Fitzpatrick

Six interceptions. SIX INTERCEPTIONS.

Alright, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk Fitzpatrick. The dude is as dubious a performer as there is in this league. By the numbers, he had a fantastic 2015 season. Looking closer, there was a bit of luck involved along with an extremely talented receiving duo, outlined above.

Fitzpatrick isn’t a terrible quarterback, but he is the truest definition of the word ‘stopgap’ known to humanity. This will be the third time he’s faced Seattle since 2012 with his third team. Two interceptions were had by the Seahawks in each of the first two contests. I would be very pleased if this trend extrapolates to Sunday morning.

Getting pressure on Fitzpatrick is crucial, as it will force him into making a multitude of subpar throws that we all know he loves to fire off in bulk. If Seattle can take the ball away a couple of times, that would be a clear pathway to an improved win probability. Let the takeaway floodgates open.

Contain the Three-Headed Monster

The Seahawks just love to draw these nightmare matchups right after Russell Wilson sustains an injury, don’t they? The New York defensive line is absolutely terrifying. Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, and Leonard Williams are all monsters up front and will do their best to get after Wilson. Todd Bowles also loves to send blitzers to give his trench beasts one-on-one matchups, which I wouldn’t put past them to win the majority of the time.

One piece of information that gives me pause in the midst of my terror is that New York runs a 3-4 defense. Seattle has had much more success running the ball against 3-4 fronts than 4-3 fronts. The Rams and Dolphins have elite 4-3 defensive lines, and they gave the Seahawks fits. The 49ers, while not currently a top-shelf unit, have run a true 3-4 since Vic Fangio ran Jim Harbaugh’s defense. That run defense was elite, and Seattle always had success when facing them. Green Bay generally runs a 3-4, and, aside from early 2015’s trainwreck of an offensive line, the Seahawks have run well against them. Kansas City runs a stout 3-4, and Marshawn Lynch had great success in 2014 when facing them.

There are always outliers when looking at performance-driven data like this, and Sunday could definitely be one of those days where Seattle can’t get anything done on the ground. The Cardinals are always tough to run against, for example. There is a nontrivial chance, however, that the Seahawks will be able to move the ball on the ground against the Jets, and, if they can do that, the hydra on New York’s defensive line can plausibly be tamed.

If the beast of myth’s impact cannot be negated, Goodell help us all.