Given the disparity of talent, dominating defense and methodical offense the Seattle Seahawks (2-0) sport on the field throughout the 2013 season and most notably the first 2 victories, they have an even better chance to win their 3rd straight out of the gate for the first time in 7 years. This afternoon at CentruyLink Field, winless Jacksonville (0-2) will certainly have their work cut out for them following 2 losses where they have been outscored 47-11 against one of the NFC's best.
After yielding an NFL-low 15.3 points per game and ranking fourth while giving up 306.2 yards a contest last season, Seattle's defense appears even more dominant in 2013. The Seahawks held Carolina to 253 yards in a 12-7 season-opening road victory, then limited San Francisco to 207 during a 29-3 home rout last Sunday. One week after the 49ers' Colin Kaepernick threw for 412 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions in a 34-28 win over Green Bay, Seattle held him to 127 and intercepted three passes. In two games, the Seahawks have allowed one touchdown and 226 passing yards, forced seven turnovers and recorded four sacks. That's all without injured defensive end Chris Clemons, suspended pass rusher Bruce Irvin and cornerback Brandon Browner, who could return after missing the first two with a hamstring injury.
Century Link Field has been known as the loudest 12th man on the field as the raucous crowd continues to break stadium decibel levels courtesy of their fans. While QB Russell Wilson (8/19 142 1 TD 1 INT) was clearly not at his best in a 29-3 rout over their NFC West rival 49ers, Seahawks receivers should have no trouble finding opportunities given the Jaguars secondary is vulnerable to say the least. The luxury for Wilson is for Seattle to succeed he can get away with simply being no better than efficient supported by Marshawn Lynch and the running game along with a defense that makes plays for the offense. Lynch gained 98 on 28 carries (3.5) and ran for 2 scores while catching 3 passes for 37 more yards and another TD. This does not bode well for the Jacksonville defense who in a 19-9 loss to Oakland last week yielded 226 yards on the ground. Doug Baldwin has been the most consistent receiving threat, but that’s not saying a lot. Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett imposed their will up front, while cornerback Richard Sherman and the Legion of Boom shut down the 49ers’ passing game in the secondary. Jacksonville’s best bet is to try and establish some kind of ground attack, but against the league’s top defense that’s a tall order, even with Maurice Jones-Drew.
Chad Henne will make his second straight start in place of the injured Blaine Gabbert. The Jags seem optimistic that Jones-Drew will play after suffering a tendon strain in his left foot last week. Drew was limited to just 34 yards on only 12 carries (2.8) against the Raiders and could struggle once again in week 3. Jordan Todman is the presumed starter if Jones-Drew isn’t able to suit up. Third-year receiver Cecil Shorts has been a bright spot for the Jacksonville offense, catching 11 passes for 133 yards, but with the Jags posing little threat on the ground, Seattle's defense should be free to key on Shorts in the passing game.
Look for Wilson and the Seahawks to try and jump-start the offense through the air and test just how good that Jacksonville secondary really is. Like Louisville's 72 point carnage of Florida International on Saturday, don't even break a sweat laying the 3 TDs, as Wilson and company should have better success moving the ball with the potential for the defense to pitch a shutout this afternoon in front of an unwelcoming Pacific Northwest environment.