Key Seahawks match-ups for the crucial game against Jaguars
Seattle Seahawks are right where they need to be. Furthermore, they are one game back of the Rams for the NFC West crown and sitting fifth in the Wild Card chase. But with a trip to Jacksonville on the horizon, here’s how Seattle can take out the Jags before their division rival.
Seattle Seahawks vs Jags rushing attack
Once again the Seahawks will face a top-5 ground game. The Jaguars rank number one at 149.8 rushing yards per game. The Jaguars featured back is rookie running back Leonard Fournette. But he has not recently produced the same rushing output he did earlier in 2017. Fournette has been dealing with an ankle injury.
Consequently, Seattle’s defensive front seven is an area to focus on. The stout defensive line for Seattle has won games for over the course of the season. In a few games, they have turned a balanced offensive attack into a one-dimensional opponent, especially in the games against the L.A. Rams and Philadelphia. Both the Eagles and Rams came into their Seahawks contests ranked in the top 5 in rushing at the time and failed to move the ball on the ground.
Also, Seattle’s defensive ability on running or scrambling by opposing quarterbacks has given Seattle an opportunity to win.
As example of this is the opening drive of the third quarter last Sunday night. On a second and goal, Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz decided to run up the middle to reach the end-zone, but defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson forced a fumble, which resulted in a touchback. The Eagles, of course, ended up with nothing and Seahawks retained the ball at the 20 yard-line.
As long as the Seahawks defense can limit the ground game of the Jaguars and put the pressure on quarterback Blake Bortles, there is optimism for victory.
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson vs Jags defense
As great as quarterback Russell Wilson has been throughout this season, his toughest test will be at EverBank Field on Sunday. On the defensive line, the Jags feature tackle Calais Campbell, who once wrecked havoc on the line for the Arizona Cardinals. The second level of their defense features middle linebacker Malik Jefferson and Telvin Smith. And on the outside, cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who is primarily going to cover wide receiver Doug Baldwin.
The Jaguars unit as a whole ranks first in points allowed per game at 14.9.
If Russell Wilson continues to implement himself in the conversation for league MVP, he is the only way the offense can produce in an efficient manner. There is opportunity for receivers Tyler Lockett and Paul Richardson to become involved early. As well as wherever J.D. McKissic lines up on the field. Obviously, the connection of Wilson to Graham is never going to falter and the signal-caller will look to exploit whomever is marking the tight end.
Seahawks and Jaguars is going to be a lower scoring game with a lot of fireworks throughout. With a lot on the line, as long as Seattle can make the Jags’ offense become one-dimensional and Wilson continues to produce, there is no reason to believe the Seahawks cannot grind out a win against a top defense.
Related Story: Seahawks vs. Jaguars: Inside the defensive numbers...