Get to know the faces of the New York Jets offensive and defensive units heading into the team's Week 4 matchup with the Seattle Seahawks.
New York Jets senior reporter and insider Eric Allen provides a closer look at the Seattle Seahawks' Week 4 opponent:
1. The Seahawks have already faced two talented defensive lines in games against Miami and St. Louis, and now they have another tough test. Just how important to what the Jets do defensively is their star-studded front, and what kind of challenges will it present to the Seahawks?
Allen: The Jets defensive front is one of the most talented position groups in all of football. In the home opener, the D-line accounted for six of the team's seven sacks of Bengals QB Andy Dalton. The sack numbers haven't been there the past two weeks, but that line is a huge reason why the team ranks No. 3 overall in rush defense. Muhammad Wilkerson, Leonard Williams, Sheldon Richardson and Steve McLendon are all interior disruptors. In an attack scheme where the team has frequently lined up with four down linemen, these are players who consistently get push up the middle. If they keep Russell Wilson and/or Trevone Boykin in the pocket, the throwing lanes won't be there. The Jets like their rotational players quite a bit too as both veteran Jarvis Jenkins and Deon Simon will probably see some time Sunday once again. While Christine Michael has run well for the 'Hawks, this will be his toughest challenge to date.
2. How are Ryan Fitzpatrick and the offense responding to a tough outing at Kansas City, and was there a common theme in those six interceptions last week, or was it more a case of a team getting behind and becoming one-dimensional?
Allen: The most amazing thing about Sunday was the final score. Despite turning the ball over eight times, the Jets were literally in the game until Derrick Johnson's INT return for a score late in the fourth quarter. Last season, the Jets finished No. 3 overall in terms of red zone efficiency. But they were 0-of-4 against the Chiefs and they rank 28th overall (37.5%) entering Week 4. Fitzpatrick said he can't force the action in the red area and the Jets certainly can't let opportunities slip away against this stingy Seattle defense. Falling behind 17-0 to the Chiefs after three turnovers meant catch-up all day and the Jets never really found their rhythm offensively. Speaking of Fitz, he has thrown two-or-more touchdown passes in nine consecutive home games.
3. How is the depth at receiver if Eric Decker and/or Jalin Marshall can't go?
Allen: Jalin Marshall is expected to miss at least a couple of weeks, so the Green and White re-signed Jeremy Ross on Thursday and he figures to be the team's primary returner against the Seahawks. Decker, who has a touchdown reception in eight consecutive home games and has flourished in this offense, will not play with a shoulder injury. Second-year wideout Quincy Enunwa is an emerging force who leads the club with 17 receptions and 183 receiving yards. Temple product Robby Anderson, a speed demon who led the NFL this preseason with 264 receiving yards, can stretch the field. The Jets have two of the better receiving running backs around in Forte and Bilal Powell. The team also claimed talented tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins off of waivers this week.
4. What has Matt Forte brought to the offense? Looking at his stats, it certainly looks like the veteran back still has plenty left in the tank?
Allen: Forte is an outstanding player. The rest of the world tries to write running backs off at 30, but Forte has plenty left. His speed is underrated because he's a smooth, instinctive runner with excellent vision and unique patience. Forte also seems to avoid the big hits and he is a threat in the passing game. The Jets also have Powell, who has averaged 8.1 yards per carry on just nine attempts.
5. Seahawks fans know Todd Bowles well from his time with Arizona. How much different is what he does with the Jets defense than what the Seahawks used to face against their NFC West rival? On a related note, are the big pass plays given up in the first two games a cause for concern facing a Seattle offense that likes to take its shots downfield, or were they more of an early-season aberration?
Allen: I think you know what you are going to get out of Todd Bowles. He likes to pressure, he is multiple and flexible with fronts and coverages and he puts players in positions to make plays. The Jets are built from the inside out. Bowles and defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers really excel on third down, changing looks and bringing the heat. Through three weeks, the Jets currently rank 9th (36.1%) in third-down defense. The Jets lamented coverage busts and miscommunications the first couple of weeks and they know teams will continue to take their shots vertically. While Alex Smith was efficient last week, the long pass wasn't a significant issue. Tight end Travis Kelce got loose for 89 yards receiving and the Jets know they'll have to be ready for Jimmy Graham in Week 4.
The Seahawks and Jets have played each other a total of 19 times, with Seattle winning 11. They'll meet again for Week 14 of the 2020 season at Lumen Field. Take a look back at previous matchups between the two teams.