|Jets must soar past issues to stay in first place|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 20 December 2008 19:03|
The 268th will be like no other.
Favre is coming to Seattle on Sunday with his Jets (9-5). He will be simultaneously trying to reverse his passing slump, maintain New York's share of the AFC East lead and honor Holmgren, his great friend and confidant, in his last home game as coach of the Seahawks.
``It's odd,'' Favre said, glad to have the going-away sentiment heaped upon someone else for once. ``But I'm honored to be there.''
Holmgren has been the head coach in 294 games, and has won 173 of them. That's more than any other active coach and 10th all-time.
s 4-2 facing his former mentor, including a playoff win in Green Bay 11 months ago.
``I think there's just a tremendous irony about the whole thing,'' Holmgren said of his Seattle finale coming against the same wild rebel he corralled 17 years ago, then turned into a three-time MVP and Super Bowl champion in Green Bay.
Holmgren's longtime wife Kathy is usually too tense about her husband's games to attend or even watch on TV. Not only is she expected to be in the stadium Holmgren helped turn into THE raucous place to be in Seattle during his 10 transformational years here, she is expected raise the 12th Man flag that represents their rabid fans immediately before kickoff.
Holmgren is just hoping he can see through the tears to coach.
``You know I'm emotional. Hopefully, I'll do a decent job calling the plays,'' he said.
Amid all this, the Jets have a playoff run to continue.
An expected win over the injury-depleted and malfunctioning Seahawks (3-11), plus another next week at home against Miami (9-5), would give New York its first home playoff game since 2002. It would also give the Jets their most victories since the 1998 team went 12-4.
``I think everybody realizes that if we win the next two games, we win the division,'' Jets coach Eric Mangini said.
With Favre throwing just one touchdown pass and four interceptions, the Jets lost to the Broncos and San Francisco. They then needed a fumble return for a touchdown by Shaun Ellis with less than 2 minutes remaining to win at home over Buffalo last week.
Now people are wondering if Favre and his 39-year-old passing shoulder are breaking down, taking the Jets' postseason chances with them. New England is also 9-5 in the division. That leaves no room for another dud of a Sunday.
Conditions are mixed for a Jets revival in Seattle.
The Seahawks will again start backup Seneca Wallace because quarterback Matt Hasselbeck still has a bulging disk in his back. Wallace has completed 66 percent of his passes for 438 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in the last two games. Its the best mini-run of his six-year career in which he has started just 10 games, six during the last two months.
But Wallace will likely be scrambling for his life behind an all fill-in offensive line. Tackle Sean Locklear has a dislocated toe and Pro Bowl tackle Walter Jones went on injured reserve Monday following microfracture surgery on his left knee.
The Seahawks have had 15 starters miss games because of injuries this season. Seven starters are on IR.
repeatedly this season.
Favre figures to look more like the quarterback who just got invited to his 10th Pro Bowl instead of the one who leads the NFL with 17 interceptions. Seattle is 30th in the league in yards allowed per game (380.4) and last in yards passing allowed per game (260.9). And opportunities should be there for Jets running backs Thomas Jones, the AFC's leading rusher and older brother of forgotten Seattle runner Julius Jones, plus dynamic Leon Washington, the league leader in combined yards.
Seattle is 1-6 at home, part of its worst overall record since 1992.
But the Jets have lost all three of their trips this season to the West Coast, at sub-.500 San Diego, Oakland and San Francisco.
Mangini tried to change the way his Jets were jetting to Seattle. He wanted to fly on Saturday instead of Friday, but the airline the team uses couldn't change the logistics of the trip.
``I have talked about the topic second most to the topic of Brett Favre,'' Mangini said of the travel. ``We've researched it. I've talked to multiple head coaches, our strength coach, doctors, trainers. We've put in the best practices. The team has voted on it.
``Whether we play in Seattle, California, whether we play on Mars, we just have to go and play. All that other stuff is irrelevant.''
New York can only hope so.
AP Sports Writer Dennis Waszak, Jr., in Florham Park, N.Y., contributed to this report.