The Seahawks are an underwhelming bunch. They play in the weakest division in football (NFC West). They have a paltry 1-3 record. They place 31st in rushing yards (67.5 YPG), 27th in passing yards (217.5 YPG), while ranking 14th in rushing yards allowed (105 YPG) and 16th in passing yards allowed (236.5 YPG). They also have to travel cross-country for a 1:00 ET time start.
So, you see, there is a reason the Seahawks are a 10-point underdog.
That said, the Giants must still come out with a sense of urgency. Complacency should never be a word used in the Giants vernacular. They have a task at hand, time to punch in.
So, here are five things to watch for in Sunday’s Giants-Seahawks matchup.
1. Without Brandon Jacobs, can Giants establish running game?DJ Ware this is your time to shine. I previously discussed here that Ware has a chance to make his presence felt. Make no mistake though, the majority of the reps will still go to Ahmad Bradshaw. The Seahawks are so-so against the run, and a return home should help spark Bradshaw achieve his first 100-yard rushing game of the season. There is one concern though. How effective will the running game be without center David Baas?
2. Will Justin Tuck’s absence be felt?Of course, when you lose a player of Tuck’s caliber, you’ll feel it. However, Tuck’s absence is hardly that crushing considering the Giants are deep at DE with Osi Umenyiora, Jason Pierre-Paul and Dave Tollefson on call. The key is for Osi to keep up his end of the bargain. Last week Osi returned looking like he never missed a beat with two sacks and a forced fumble. Tollefson is also coming off a great game with two sacks. The Giants will get pass rush and they should cause havoc for a Seahawks front that is mediocre at best.
3. What second receiver does Eli Manning connect with?Mario Manningham or Victor Cruz? Do the Giants go with the more experienced Manningham or the wide receiver Du-jour in Cruz? It shouldn’t matter. Eli should get everyone involved. I don’t think we’ll see Manningham on the sidelines as long as he was last week when he only recorded one catch. Expect more three-receiver sets allowing both Manningham and the emerging Cruz to do damage.
4. Special teams play looms largeWhile the Seahawks are pedestrian when it comes to their offensive and defensive units, the Giants have to pay attention to Leon Washington in the return game. Washington is one of the league’s most explosive return specialists in the league and the Giants simply can’t let him beat them. It would also be nice to see the Giants inflict some of their will in the return game themselves, as they have been nothing special (pardon the pun).
5. Can Giants stop Seattle’s running game?I sure hope so! If you can’t stop the Seahawks in the run game at home, then you might as well throw in the towel. Marshawn Lynch is an overrated back who hardly instills fear in opposing defenders. Lynch is averaging just 3.1 yards per carry and has one touchdown on 46 carries. With what Beanie Wells did against the Giants last week, practice this week was centered on improving this aspect of the game. Giants should be prepared.
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