The New York Jets have the rest of the mediocre AFC to thank.
While losers of two straight and sitting at 3-5, the Jets are actually realistically in the playoff race in the NFL's weaker conference. However, their only hopes of keeping their dental floss-thin playoff dream alive rest on actually winning games, and there aren't many tougher places to win in football than in Seattle, where the Jets find themselves in Week 10 after their midseason bye.
The Jets kept with their usual post-New England Patriots hangover in Week 8, getting blown out at home by the Miami Dolphins in all three phases. Particularly the offense and quarterback Mark Sanchez were pretty putrid, of course causing many fans and media outlets to wonder further about Tim Tebow. One would think if coach Rex Ryan was going to make that type of change, the time to do it would be during a bye week. Nontheless, it's still Sanchez' job, and he'll simply have to play better and more consistently if the Jets are to have any chance to make something of the season. But in Seattle, against one of the league's toughest defenses, Sunday expects to be as stern a test of the season for Sanchez and the Jets' offense.
[Related: Jets midseason report card]
Seattle is 5-4 but is unbeaten in their four home games. Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson has been solid, buoyed by a running game heavily dominated by Marshawn Lynch, the league's second leading rusher with 881 yards on the season. The Jets have yet to truly solve their run defense issues, so expect a heavy dose of Beast Mode.
It's no crime to lose in Seattle, but the Jets just simply cannot afford to fall to 3-6 if they have any plans on playing competitive football in December and beyond. Two weeks ago, they looked like a team who had already called it quits. If they give that same effort this Sunday, chances are the meaningless football will have already begun.
Jets at Seahawks
Time: 4:05 p.m.
Odds: Seattle -6.5, Over/Under 38.5