By Michael Stewart
Introduction: The 1-5 Giants fresh off a solid win over the Denver Broncos return home to face the Seattle Seahawks. Since 2001, the Seahawks have a slight edge in head to head meetings with a 5-4 record, winning the last 3 meetings. Both teams offensive and defensive stats are fairly equal with the Seahawks with a slight edge in both categories. The Seahawks are led by quarterback Russell Wilson (1222 yards/8 TDS/3 INTS) who will have a few weapons in wide receiver Doug Baldwin (27/284/1) and running back Chris Carter (49/208). On defense, this is not the same Seahawks team that last went to the Super Bowl a couple years back; but they still have talent led by linebacker Bobby Wagner, safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. Seattle’s defensive line led by Michael Bennett and Sheldon Richardson will test the Giants newly assembled offensive line. The Giants running game has improved week by week, especially in their win against the Broncos with the additions of offensive guard D.J Fluker, center Brett Jones (replacing injured Weston Richburg) and tackle Justin Pugh (replacing Bobby Hart). RB Orleans Darkwa ran hard and gains extra yards after first contact.
Top 3 Matchups:
- Earl Thomas/Kam Chancellor-vs-Evan Engram: With all the injuries to the Giants starting wide receivers, Manning targeted Engram mostly in the last game, by completing half of his completions to Engram (5). Should see the same game plan, however; Seattle will most likely assign one of their all-pro safeties to shadow him instead of a linebacker. This could be a problem for the Giants despite Engram’s speed; as both safeties are excellent in coverage.
- Giant’s defense-vs-Russell Wilson: Giants must keep Wilson from being too mobile as he is more dangerous outside the pocket. Wilson can hurt you with his legs as much as his arm and the Giants really do not have a linebacker who can shadow him. DC Steve Spagnulo could employ more defensive backs in his schemes to have one of them assigned to shadow Wilson.
- Giant’s offensive line-vs-Seattle’s defensive front 7: As I mentioned earlier, this is not the same team with a smothering defense. However; they still have talent and if the Giants offensive line can’t come close to their performance against the Broncos, Manning could be in for a very long game.
What to look for: Offensively, the Giants will employ the same game plan against the Seahawks as they did in Denver; utilizing the running game to set up the passing game. On Defense, the Giants need to create turnovers as they did against the Broncos to put themselves in position to win the game. For the Seahawks, offensively they have compiled 73 points recently against the Colts and Titans, by spreading the ball around with a well balanced offensive attack. Russell Wilson is the key that runs this Seattle offense; contain him and the Giants have a chance. On Defense, the Seahawks will be aggressive and will come at Manning at every direction. Seattle’s secondary with cornerbacks Jeremy Lane and Richard Sherman, along with safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor are more talented (at least on paper) than the Giants receiving crew, so expect Seattle to load the box and challenge the Giants to beat them through the air.
Final Score: Emotions will be high and both teams will be ready to play from the opening kickoff. Unfortunately, I can’t see the Giants scoring a defensive touchdown as they did against the Broncos and Seattle is playing on all cylinders offensively right now. The effort will be there for the Giants, however; the points will not.
Seattle: 20/Giants: 13