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Seahawks vs. Jets Preview: Highlighting 4 key matchups for the must-win game

Seattle Seahawks v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

The Seahawks have now lost three games in a row and four of their last five. Their loss last Saturday to the Kansas City Chiefs was expected as the game was in Arrowhead against one of the best teams in the league, but regardless of that Seattle looked generally flat throughout. They registered three points until they scored a garbage time touchdown late in the fourth, which is becoming a trend for this offense. The defense played admirably, limiting Patrick Mahomes to only 224 passing yards and only allowing KC to pick up 3/11 third down conversions. This week Seattle plays the New York Jets, who are also fighting for their playoff lives as a loss effectively eliminates either team from the hunt. This should be a relatively close game as indicated by the spread. There has been a lot of line movement as Seattle was a 1.5-point favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook three days ago, then a day later they were a 2.5-point underdog and Pete Carroll’s team now sits as a 2-point dog.

Quinnen Williams vs Seattle’s interior offensive line

Quinnen Williams has been one of the best defenders in the NFL this season. His 12 sacks are tied for 7th in the NFL and tied for the most amongst interior defensive linemen. Williams’ 24 QB hits are tied for 6th in the league and 1st amongst IDL and his 12 TFL’s is tied for 16th. What makes the 2019 3rd overall pick so good is he does everything so well without a true weakness. He is dominant against the run as he has the strength needed to control offensive lineman with ease, whilst having the speed necessary to beat them to the spot.

In the passing game he is just as good and the two tweets above give us an idea as to what makes him so good at getting after the quarterback. On the first one Williams attacks the offensive lineman with a bull rush move. Once he gets him on his heels moving back he hits him with a swim move, slipping right by him for an easy sack. On the second play we see great eyes as well as hands from the former Alabama Crimson Tide star. He takes on the double team off of the snap, recognizes where the weakness in the line is and then attacks it with a great hump move.

The edge - Williams

With Aaron Donald missing the first game against the Seahawks this year and set to miss the second, Williams in my opinion will be the second-best defensive lineman they face this season behind Nick Bosa. Williams should live in the backfield against what is a weak interior offensive line that just allowed Chris Jones to dominate. It is safe to expect for Seattle to double Quinnen as much as possible on Sunday, but that still may not be enough to hold him in check.

Jets linebackers vs the Seahawks running game

The Jets run defense has been one of the best in the league this season. They allowed the fourth fewest yards per carry and have 13.31 expected points contributed from their run defense, which is also fourth. Their defensive line has been crucial in achieving that, although one of the more underrated linebackers in the NFL has also played a key role in former Jacksonville Jaguar Quincy Williams. Thus far he has 86 tackles to go along with 9 tackles for loss. Williams is extremely adept at navigating traffic and taking on blockers.

The first tweet shows us Williams, who is standing up on the line of scrimmage at the bottom of the screen. He bounces off the pulling blocker, then takes on another to fill the gap and make just enough contact with Jamaal Williams until help arrives. His get off on the play is also extremely quick which allowed him to beat the first blocker to the spot. The second play is less impressive but a great one, nonetheless. Williams is lined up at linebacker even with the center at the time of the snap. He takes one slide step to adjust to the motion but does not overcommit and maintains strong eye discipline by staying home rather than following the motion. He takes on Evan Engram in the hole, bounces right off of him and then makes the tackle. CJ Mosley is the more well-known linebacker of this Jets core, but Williams is certainly the scarier of the two.

The edge - Jets linebackers

Despite Kenneth Walker lll running for 107 yards against the Chiefs last game, until I can see this running game perform well on a consistent play by play basis, I cannot give them the edge over anyone. Pairing the lack of efficiency in the Seattle running game with the strength of the Jets linebacking group, New York has to get the edge here from me.

Jets secondary vs the Seahawks wide receivers

One of the matchups I have been looking forward to all season has finally arrived. We get to see star corner Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner and former Seahawk D.J. Reed take on DK Metcalf and co. I know Tariq Woolen has been excellent this season, but Sauce is my Defensive Rookie of the Year this season. He has been on an island against teams' number one pass catcher since Week 1 and has been dominant. Baldy’s Breakdown does a great job of showcasing everything Sauce brings to the table—his ball skills to his discipline to his quick transitions.

On the first play the fourth overall pick is the left deep third defender in Cover 3. He stays disciplined against the play action, quickly recognizes Mark Andrews’ route, gains fast depth and breaks it up at the catch point. Importantly as well he avoids running into the tight end for what would have been a certain defensive pass interference. On the second play the Jets are once again in Cover 3 with Gardner taking the deep third at the bottom of the screen. He keeps his eyes inside off of the snap to help him protect against anything quick to Ja’Marr Chase. Once he recognizes Chase is running a go he flips his hips, gets his eyes on the wideout to stay in his hip pocket and then goes with a look and feel approach to allow him to make another pass breakup. On the final play New York is in a Cover 3. Sauce takes the motion man, reads the quarterback’s eyes the entire time and is able to trigger up field for the interception once he recognizes it is a curl route.

The edge - The Jets secondary

This is a very tough call for me, but I ever so slightly lean towards the Jets secondary because of what Sauce brings to the table as well as the fact Reed is turning in another solid season. Metcalf is going to have his moments in this game; however, I think Gardner is going to win more of the battles between the two giving them the small edge. It should be noted that Tyler Lockett’s availability remains a question mark.

Seahawks secondary vs the Jets receivers

Now on the other side of the ball we get to see one of the best rookie matchups of the year in Tariq Woolen vs Garrett Wilson. Wilson is the favorite for Offensive Rookie of the Year on DraftKings Sportsbook, while Woolen is third for DROY. Wilson has been very solid this season, posting 996 receiving yards on 71 grabs from 119 targets whilst having to deal with some very poor quarterback play. Elijah Moore and Corey Davis are good complementary options to the former Ohio State Buckeye, although neither have posted good numbers thus far due to the play of Zach Wilson and Joe Flacco. However, the focus of this section is Tariq Woolen, who needs little introduction to Seahawks fans.

In the first tweet Woolen shows off otherworldly closing speed to break up the pass to Justin Watson. Woolen was beaten off of the line, but it does look like there was a mix-up on the back end with new Seahawk Jonathan Abram, which might explain why he was so passive off of the line. The second play is shown because I do think Seahawks fans have to remember he is still only a rookie and has room to grow in his game despite posting elite numbers. On this play Seattle is in Cover 3 with Woolen tasked with taking the right deep third. He sees the swing route by Christian McCaffrey, steps up anticipating the pass, which allows George Kittle to get in behind for the touchdown. This is one of the few mistakes from Woolen this season and it serves as a reminder that he is going to get even better down the road which is a scary thought for the rest of the league.

The edge - Seahawks secondary

Like the matchup above I think Wilson is going to have his moments in this one. However, Woolen is too good, and I expect him to come out on top in most of his snaps on the day regardless of who he is covering, giving Seattle the edge.

Score prediction

Jets 17 - Seahawks 13

Last week recap

Patrick Mahomes vs the secondary

Predicted edge - Mahomes - Actual edge - Mahomes

This one is very, very close as Mahomes only threw for 224 yards. However, he still averaged 8 yards per attempt, and he did not turn the ball over which gives him a small edge here.

Travis Kelce vs the secondary

Predicted edge - Kelce - Actual edge - Kelce

There’s no debate on this one. The 3 time All Pro registered 113 yards on 6 catches and 8 targets with a long of 52 yards. The only thing missing from his performance on Saturday was a touchdown grab.

Chris Jones vs the IOL

Predicted edge - Jones - Actual edge - Jones

Like Kelce there is no debate in this one as Jones took this game over. He filled up the box score as he amassed 1 sack, 4 QB hits, 4 combined tackles and 2 tackles for loss.

D.K. Metcalf vs L’Jarius Sneed

Predicted edge - Metcalf - Actual edge - Metcalf

DK had another strong showing in this one totaling 81 yards whilst hauling in 7 passes on 9 targets. Metcalf was the passing game in this one for Seattle and the only Seahawks pass catcher who possessed a real threat to Kansas City secondary. Colby Parkinson who was second in receiving on the day with 45 yards had 39 of those come on one catch. His solid game as well as his dominance over the rest of the Seahawks pass catchers gives him the edge here.

Score prediction

Chiefs 30 - Seahawks 17

Not close enough.

(All advanced stats cited provided by Pro Football Reference)