(Sports Network) - If nothing else, Rex Ryan was probably happy with Tuesday
night's election results.
The outspoken New York Jets coach, soon after arriving prior to the 2009
season, confidently promised that his team would be heading to the White House
to be greeted as champions by President Obama.
So, with four more years added to Obama's claim to the keys at 1600
Pennsylvania Ave., it looks like Ryan has bought himself a little time.
In the moment, though, it seems a .500 record would be a lofty enough goal.
The Jets will come out of a conveniently timed bye week on Sunday when they
travel to CenturyLink Field to face the host Seattle Seahawks in a critical --
for Ryan, at least -- Week 10 matchup.
New York has dropped four of five games since a 2-1 start and finds itself
alongside the Buffalo Bills in the basement of the AFC's East Division. The
final pre-bye game was a competitive disaster and ended in a 30-9 loss to the
Miami Dolphins before a predictably disgusted home crowd at MetLife Stadium.
New York is two games behind the first-place New England Patriots and two
games behind the current No. 6 seed in the AFC playoff race -- the Pittsburgh
"We definitely have the resources to get back into this thing," Jets safety
Yeremiah Bell said. "We have the players, we have the coaching staff and we
have the 'want to.' The thing is, it's going to be just us on Sundays just
going out there and executing."
New York has been beneath pedestrian on both sides of the ball. It sits 24th
in the league in scoring defense (25.0 points per game) and is just 27th in
total offense (317.4 yards per game). Perpetually maligned quarterback Mark
Sanchez hasn't helped his own cause with six fumbles and five interceptions in
the dismal 1-4 stretch.
As the former Southern Cal QB faces his college coach, Pete Carroll, for the
first time, Ryan maintains mystery.
"We will be doing some different things," Ryan said. "I don't want to get into
the specifics of it. I hope you understand that if there's an advantage to be
gained, I want to gain that advantage without letting our opponent know. We'll
be looking at a lot. There are several things to improve and I'm excited about
trying to implement some of these things."
The Seahawks, ominously for New York, are 4-0 at home this season -- their
best home start since they were 8-0 at home en route to an appearance in Super
Bowl XL against the Steelers.
Seattle beat Minnesota, 30-20, last week to improve to 5-4 and remain 1 1/2
games behind the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC West.
"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. With that being said, we're gonna roll our
sleeves up and go up there and give it heck."
Unlike Sanchez, rookie QB Russell Wilson has been a steady weapon under center
while throwing nine TD passes and no interceptions at home in compiling a
120.2 passer rating. He had 173 yards and three touchdowns in the defeat of
"I definitely believe we are getting more comfortable; the more you play, the
more you practice, the more you communicate through the week," Wilson said. "I
think that's the biggest thing, just stay the course and just keep believing
in what we're doing."
Running back Marshawn Lynch has five 100-plus yard efforts in nine games and
could be on the verge of another against a Jets defense that's been allowing
ground yardage at a per-week clip of 141.4. Lynch had 124 yards and a TD
against the Vikings and is 76 yards behind Minnesota's Adrian Peterson (957 to
881) in the race to lead the league's rushers.
"We need the rest of these games coming up, and fortunately for us four out of
the next seven are at home," wide receiver Sidney Rice said. "We use this
crowd for energy. We feed off them and we're thankful we have them."
On the injury front, linebacker K.J. Wright and guard James Carpenter are
questionable for Seattle after suffering concussions against Minnesota.
The Seahawks lead the all-time series, 9-8, but the Jets have won eight of the
last 10. In the most recent game in December 2008 -- Brett Favre's penultimate
game as New York's quarterback -- Seattle won, 13-3, at home.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Two words: Marshawn Lynch. The ticket out of Buffalo a couple years ago was a
career-reviver for the former No. 12 overall pick, who's posted consecutive
the two best season-long yards-per-carry averages of his career -- 4.2 yards
and 4.4 yards -- in two full years with the Seahawks.
He's on a pace to eclipse those watermarks in 2012 with a 4.8-yard average
through nine games, and faces a Jets defense allowing 4.4 yards per attempt
(eighth-worst in the league) and 141.4 yards per game (fourth-worst).
New York has allowed 100 or more yards on the ground in five games -- losing
three of them -- though only two individuals, Buffalo's C.J. Spiller and
Houston's Arian Foster, have reached triple digits on their own. Spiller, like
Lynch, is 5-foot-11, while Foster is just an inch taller at 6 feet.
A morale-boosting effort -- if not a chest-thumping victory -- at New England
in Week 7 was cause for Gang Green celebration, right up until a flaccid home
rout at the hands of Miami just seven days later in New Jersey.
Mix in a bye week and some storm-related tumult and it's anyone's guess which
Rex Ryan team shows up in Seattle. Problem is, unless it's one that can
immediately tighten the defensive clamps on one of the league's best runners,
it might not matter.