Seven Keys to a Jaguars Victory over the Seahawks
Any given team on any given Sunday... you know the rest. In today's parity-drive NFL, the upset possibility is greater than ever. So here's what the Jaguars need to do if they want a chance to leave Century Link Field with a 'W':
1. Ignore the Spread
Whatever the Vegas oddsmakers say, the score is 0 - 0 until these two teams step onto the field and actually start playing.
2. Win the Penalty Battle
The Seahawks are one of the most-penalized teams in the NFL, having committed 19 infractions for 183 yards. Whichever defensive lineman is facing right tackle Breno Giacomini needs to focus on thrusting his forearms right into Breno's palms. A good strategy would be to take a pair of those sticky receiver's gloves, cut them up and strap them to the outside of the jersey.
3. Contain Richard Sherman
Seattle's all-pro Cornerback has been a game-changing force when lined up in one-on-one coverage. So whichever wideout is facing off against Sherman, the Jaguars need to give him some help. Have a running back split out wide, or let the slot receiver cheat over. Even playing one-on-two, Sherman will make some plays; but if the receivers maintain their discipline they can limit his interception return yards.
4. Establish the Run
Through the first two weeks of the season, teams with at least 4.48 yards per rush attempt are a promising 10-8. Teams which run for less than 2.64 yards per carry have won just 3 out of 9. The Jaguars absolutely have to stay out of that bottom category to give themselves a chance.
Although Seattle has been decent against the run, they have shown themselves vulnerable to 10- and 15-yard gains on 3rd and 20. By passing on early downs, and taking the occasional sack or holding penalty, the Jaguars can put themselves in position to rack up big yardage on the 3rd-down draw play. They'll pad their stat line even more if they repeat this performance on 4th down, which has the additional benefit of eliminating punt returns from Golden Tate.
5. Quiet the Crowd
"A few more steps and we'll be safe in the fire swamp."
"We'll never survive!"
"Nonsense! You're only saying that because no one ever has!"
Everything seems impossible until it's achieved for the first time. If the Jaguars can manage a 28-point halftime deficit, they can lull the crowd into some level of complacency.
But really, the key to getting them out of the game is to get them out of their seats. The Jacksonville front office needs to buy up about 40 tickets, then station each of 40 undercover agents at a concession stand with a big wad of cash and a philanthropic attitude toward "all true Seahawk fans". Rumors of generous strangers will draw people out of the stands and into the hallways. And if the agents restrict their purchases to beer, coffee, and salty food, even those who return will be dehydrated and less able to yell.
6. Pressure the Quarterback
This is a well-known maxim in the world of football, and for good reason. Human beings can perform astounding, even Herculean feats with sufficient motivation and adrenaline.
The best way to pressure quarterback Chad Henne would be to kidnap his family and threaten them with harm should Henne fail to perform at a predetermined level. However, I sense that the folks in Jacksonville are a decent lot, and wouldn't care for such an unethical plan.
So here's an alternative: Prior to the game, inject Henne with a hypo full of saline solution. Tell him it's a slow-acting poison, and that the antidote will be provided after the game if he has at least 200 net yards passing and quarterback rating of 80 or higher.
7. Go with the Spread
If all else fails, lower your expectations. With the line at 19.5 points, if the Jaguars find themselves down by 17 late in the game, they should have no problem exploiting a prevent defense to run out the clock.