When: Sunday, 1:05 p.m., CenturyLink Field
Records: Seahawks 5-4 after last week’s 30-20 victory over the Vikings; Jets, who had their bye last week, 3-5 after a 30-9 loss to the Dolphins on Oct. 28
TV: CBS (KIRO/7 in the greater Seattle area), with Marv Albert and Rich Gannon
Radio: 710 ESPN and KIRO 97.3, with Steve Raible, Warren Moon and Jen Mueller
Rest of the West: Rams (3-5) at 49ers (6-2); Cardinals (4-5) have their bye
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson vs. Jets QB Mark Sanchez: Just call it the quarterback Pete Carroll selected to direct his current team against the quarterback he didn’t want to leave his former team (at USC). But here they are, and their performances will go a long way in determining the outcome of Sunday’s game. Wilson seems to be finding his game – especially in the past two games, when he has completed 69 percent of his passes (41 of 59) for 409 yards, with five touchdown passes and one interception, for a passer rating of 110.0. And he’s been even better is going 4-0 at CenturyLink Field – when Wilson has completed 62 percent of his passes (57 of 92) for 747 yards, with nine TDs and no picks, for a passer rating of 120.2. Sanchez seems to be searching for his game, as does his team. He is completing 53 percent of his passes (144 of 272) for 1,736 yards, with 10 TDs and eight interceptions, for a passer rating of 72.8 that ranks 30th in the league.
One to watch
The first quarter: The Jets have scored 28 first-quarter points in eight games. Only nine teams have scored fewer, and their combined record is 27-47. The Seahawks have scored 53 first-quarter points, more than in any other quarter. In their past six games, the Seahawks have scored five times on their opening possession – a touchdown and four field goals. They’ve been even better on their second possession, with three touchdowns and a field in their past four games. It’s a trend that needs to continue, because it will energize the crowd and help make the Jets not only one dimensional but prompt those feelings of here we go again.
Fun to watch
Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch vs. the Jets’ defense: Lynch is in his Beast Mode zone, with 881 rushing yards to rank second in the NFL and five 100-yard efforts in nine games to lead the league. The Jets are in a zone that coach Rex Ryan does not recognize, allowing averages of 141.4 rushing yards per game and 4.4 yards per carry – way up from a year ago, when it was 111.1 and 3.9. Worse yet, the Jets have allowed 485 yards after contact, the second-highest total in the league. Lynch, meanwhile, has 359 yards after contact, also the second-highest total in the league. Lynch is no stranger to Jets coach Rex Ryan, who was the defensive coordinator with the Ravens when Lynch was playing for the Bills. “He’s one tough dude, let’s put it that way. He’s one tough, tough rascal,” Ryan said this week. “He’s a very powerful, physical runner and you never assume that this kid’s down.”
One tough task
The Jets vs. the situation: They’ve lost four of their last five games and now it’s a cross-country trip to play a team that is unbeaten at home this season. As Ryan put it, “This week is probably about as difficult of a challenge as a team can face. Here’s a team that’s 4-0 at home, with wins over Dallas, Minnesota, Green Bay and New England. It starts with the running game, of course. But, oh by the way, the quarterback has a 120 rating at home, which would be the best in the National Football League. So that’s certainly going to be a challenge. And on defense, they’re the fourth-rated defense in the National Football League. They’re a big, physical group with some guys that can really rush the passer. So it’s definitely a huge challenge for us.”
Carroll’s first head coaching job in the NFL was with the Jets in 1994. … Jets running back Shonn Greene has scored five rushing touchdowns, but is averaging 3.7 yards per carry – lowest among those ranked in the Top 20 in the league. But he has converted each of his seven attempts on third-and-1, which leads the league. … Seahawks punter Jon Ryan is third in the league in average (50.0) and fifth in net average (42.6). .. The Seahawks’ Leon Washington (29.1), a former Jet, ranks sixth in the league in kickoff-return average. The Jets’ Joe McKnight (29.3) is fifth, but he is out with an ankle injury. … The Seahawks rank sixth in the league in average yards gained (6.09) and allowed (4.82) on first downs. … The Jets rank fifth in the league in average starting position after kickoffs (24.2-yard line), while the Seahawks are fifth in opponent starting point (20.2). … Rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner leads the Seahawks with 72 tackles, while middle linebacker David Harris leads the Jets with 75.