Seattle stomped the San Francisco 49ers last week, 29-3, moving to 2-0 and taking first place in the NFC West. They have Super Bowl aspirations and some people consider them the best team in the NFC. Jacksonville, meanwhile, is just looking for any positive signs after a dismal start to the season. They fell to the Oakland Raiders, 19-9, and could be the worst team in the league.
Meet the Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks' dominant start has somewhat overshadowed the fact that Russell Wilson looked shaky last week. He completed just 8-of-19 passes for 142 yards and took four sacks. Fortunately, the defense was there to bail him out, shutting down the 49ers run game and making Colin Kaepernick run for his life. Richard Sherman won NFC Defensive Player of the Week after dominating Anquan Boldin and grabbing an interception.
Seattle didn't come away from the game unscathed, though. Left tackle Russell Okung suffered a torn ligament in his toe and is out indefinitely. He's trying to avoid surgery, but there is no timetable for a return. Paul McQuistan will be starting at left tackle in the meantime. It's now a position of concern after McQuistan was manhandled by Aldon Smith.
Meet the Jacksonville Jaguars
Where to begin? The Jaguars have 11 points on the season and didn't score their first touchdown until late in the fourth quarter against the Raiders. Since taking a 2-0 lead over the Chiefs in Week 1, they have been outscored 47-7. Chad Henne is as bad as Blaine Gabbert, if not worse, and Mark Brunell isn't walking through that door.
On top of all that, their best offensive player is dealing with another injury. Maurice Jones-Drew sprained a foot tendon and will be less than 100 percent on Sunday. He's had a plodding 2.9 yards per carry, but the Jaguars' only other options at running back are Jordan Todman and Justin Forsett. It's an ugly situation all around.
Bradley, a defensive mind, came to Jacksonville hoping to replicate his success from Seattle. Results have been mixed on the defensive side, but this team will continue struggling to win games if the offense doesn't show signs of a pulse.
Local Takes: Seattle Seahawks
Jason Drake from Field Gulls talked about Russell Wilson's struggles against the 49ers. He attributes it to the Seahawks trying a more balanced playbook and the 49ers selling out to stop the passing game:
So for the second week in a row, Bevell came out with a more balanced set of play calls and a willingness to pass on first down. Wise and unpredictable.
Problem is, the 49ers were defending the pass. I couldn't see the All-22, but the commentators noted that San Francisco was committed to playing with 2-deep safeties on almost every down. Combine that with an All-Pro linebacking corps playing off the line and you've got an uphill battle to complete passes. In the first half, Wilson threw at least three short- to mid-range passes into the proverbial tight window, none of which were completed. These are neither high-percentage plays nor bad decisions. They are passes that avoid the sack and take the best chance given.
The passing game was still weaker than it should have been. But we can attribute a chunk of that to defensive priorities and a lag time before Bevell and company adapted to take what the 49ers were giving.
Local Takes: Jackvonsille Jaguars
Alfie Crow of Big Cat Country advises the fans to be patient and let the new front office see their rebuild through:
If you were expecting it all to be magically fixed in a single season, especially after the team made no changes at the quarterback position, you've been in a fantasy land.
This is the team Gene Smith built.
It's the team Caldwell is burning down and building a new foundation.
This season isn't going to be pretty. We tried to warn you.
Questioning if Caldwell, Bradley, Jedd Fisch, etc. were the right hires after two weeks is completely nonsensical and hyper-reactionary. None of them are getting fired after a single season. Bradley and Caldwell are going to be here for at least three seasons.
Put down the pitchforks. This is still Gene Smith's oil spill they're trying to clean up.
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Oddsshark currently has the Seahawks as 19.5-point favorites in what could be the most lopsided line of the season.
Unsurprisingly, the Seahawks are overwhelming favorites with the experts. All 14 experts on ESPN have picked them to win. They are also unanimous favorites on CBS Sports, although three experts have picked the Jaguars to cover the spread.