By Chris Cluff
The circus is coming to town, and Pete Carroll’s Seahawks and the 12th Man figure to have a lot of fun with it Sunday.
Woody Johnson’s New York Jets are a clown show run by a blowhard coach, Rex Ryan, who simply is not cut out to run an entire team. The two-headed quarterback joke they have perpetuated is an utter failure, using Tim Tebow to try to list a sagging offense run by Mark Sanchez.
The Jets, whose defense is not nearly as good as the one that led them to two AFC title games in 2009 and 2010, are struggling along at 3-5. They were blown out by Miami 30-9 before their bye and have lost four of five as they come to Seattle, where Russell Wilson and the Seahawks are 4-0.
The Jets are a mere shadow of their 2010 team, ranking 27th in offense and 24th on defense while giving up 25 points per game. This bumbling bunch is on its way to being blown up — both by the Seahawks and probably by Johnson after the season. It’s hard to see this game as anything but a Seattle blowout.
Sanchez, who played for Carroll at USC, has thrown five interceptions and fumbled six times in the last five games. Carroll’s ballhawking defense figures to add to those numbers. Of course, Ryan thinks he has a plan.
“We will be doing some different things,” he told reporters. “There are several things to improve and I’m excited about trying to implement some of these things.”
Does that mean they are going to abandon the QB option that has featured the polarizing and poor-passing Tebow?
Whatever the plan is, Ryan knows he has an uphill battle against a Seattle team that plays very well at home. The defense gets help from the 12th Man, and Wilson has thrown nine touchdown passes and no interceptions in wins against much better teams than the Jets: Dallas, Green Bay, New England and Minnesota.
“It’s obviously an extremely tough place to play,” Ryan said. “Having wins over Dallas, Green Bay, Minnesota and New England at home shows you the task that we have in front of us.”
The Jets are giving up 141 rushing yards per game and figure to have a tough time against the league’s No. 2 rusher Marshawn Lynch, who ran for a season-high 124 yards against the Vikings last week despite playing behind a banged-up line.
The Seahawks will have a lot of motivation to win this one. Carroll surely would love to show another of his former teams up and also beat his former USC QB, Seattle cornerback Marcus Trufant would love to win the family battle against brother Isaiah’s team, and Seattle kick returner Leon Washington would love to make a big splash against his original team, which traded him to Seattle in 2010.
“Would I like to return a touchdown against the Jets? Yes,” Washington told reporters, per the TNT. “Would I like to return a touchdown against the Rams? Yes. … It will be an intense game for us, especially since we’re at home, so I’m liking that part of it.”
The Hawks would love to move to 6-4, with a 5-0 home record, as they go into their bye week.
“We need the rest of these games coming up, and fortunately for us four out of the next seven are at home,” Seattle receiver Sidney Rice told reporters. “We use this crowd for energy. We feed off them and we’re thankful we have them.”
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Chris Cluff worked as a sports editor and writer for The Seattle Times for 11 years and has written two books on the Seattle Seahawks. Since leaving the Times, he has written about the Seahawks and Seattle sports for Bleacher Report and the blog he shares with a fellow sportswriter, outsidethepressbox.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com.