As the Jets and Seahawks prepare for Sunday’s showdown at Qwest Field, both teams are moving in opposite directions. The Seahawks entered this season off their fourth consecutive division title but injuries have derailed Seattle’s playoff hopes this season. Overall, 24 players have missed a total of 135 games this season, with quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (back/knee-seven games missed), defensive end Patrick Kerney (shoulder-seven games), guard Chris Gray (back-14 games), and wide receivers Nate Burleson (13 games-knee) and Deion Branch (eight games-knee/heel) all missing significant time. While Seattle has boasted the NFC’s fourth-best record since the start of the 2003 season (54-40, .574) they have stumbled to a 3-11 mark this year.
The injury to Hasselbeck and an inconsistent running attack featuring Maurice Morris and Julius Jones has slowed down Seattle’s offense (380.4 yards per game, 26th in NFL), but the greatest trouble spot sits in the secondary. The Seahawks rank last in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game (260.9 yards/game) and have intercepted just six passes (31st in NFL).
As the Jets look to improve to 10-5 on the season and move one step closer to locking up their first division title since 2002, attacking Seattle’s weak secondary will likely be the way to go. Quarterback Brett Favre will playing in his tenth career Pro Bowl in February, but his last three games have looked anything but Pro Bowl-calibur. In losses to the Broncos and 49ers and a victory over the Bills, Favre’s passer ratings were 60.9, 60.8 and 61.4 respectively. If Favre is able to spread the field and turn Mike Holmgren’s coaching finale into one long afternoon, he will be continuing a favorable trend in Jets history.
The Jets are 8-8 against the Seahawks dating back to their first matchup in 1977 and three of the top single-day passer ratings in Jets history have come against Seattle.
1. 158.3 Ken O’Brien- Nov. 2, 1986
O’Brien completed 26-of-32 passes for 431 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-7 Jets win. O’Brien connected with wide receiver Wesley Walker on an 83-yard touchdown pass.
4. 148.1 Chad Pennington- Dec. 19, 2004
Pennington connected on 18-of-24 passes, burning the Seattle secondary for 253 yards and three touchdowns. The Jets won 37-14 as wide receiver Santana Moss caught two touchdown passes.
6. 146.7 Neil O’Donnell- Aug. 31, 1997
Bill Parcells’ coaching debut with the Jets began with a bang as O’Donnell completed 18-of-25 passes, for 270 yards and five touchdowns. The Jets scored on their first seven possessions on route to a 41-3 blowout victory.
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