The Giants (1-5) vs. the Seattle Seahawks (3-2) at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Sunday, Oct. 22, at 4:25 p.m. ET.
It might actually feel a little like fall by kickoff: a day with temperatures in the low 70s with partly cloudy skies and some moderate Meadowlands winds should be in the 60s by kickoff, heading down from there.
WHAT IT MEANS
That depends: Are you a glass half-empty or half-full kind of person? OK, it's really more like seven-eighths empty, but if you believe in that sliver of hope that this season isn't over yet, and that the upset in Denver was a flashpoint for greatness, then the Giants simply need this win. The playoffs will require a 9-7 record, minimum, which means they still need to go no worse than 8-2 the rest of the way. And with the schedule getting tougher, every win counts.
If you're in the empty part of the glass, then the meaning here is about cosmic happiness. The win in Denver lifted a huge cloud out of the Giants' locker room (and coach's office), and everything seems better now, at least with their psyche. But don't forget how quickly things can turn once the losses start mounting again. The worse it gets, the more Ben McAdoo's job will be in peril.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Giants RB Orleans Darkwa. He totaled 117 yards on 21 carries last week in Denver, and 29 carries for 186 yards the last two weeks (which included a strained calf for much of the loss to the Chargers). He's on fire and proving what many have been saying for several years: He's the team's best running back. He is a powerful runner who hits the whole hard and has a knack for making something out of nothing, and he doesn't dance behind the line of scrimmage just waiting for things to open up. It seems like McAdoo has realized that, and he better because his players absolutely have. There's almost no way McAdoo can look his players in the eye if he puts Darkwa behind Paul Perkins when he returns. (It won't be this week because Perkins is out again with bruised ribs.) If the Giants want to have any hope of developing their most consistent rushing attack in years, Darkwa has to be their guy. Another strong performance and he will solidify that role.
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Giants WR Sterling Shepard vs. Seahawks CB Richard Sherman. Maybe Sherman isn't the NFL's best corner anymore, but he's still pretty talented, and this would be an intriguing matchup if he was going up against Odell Beckham Jr. Of course he's not. Shepard is now the Giants' de facto No. 1 receiver, and it's unclear yet how good he'll be in that role. (That's of course assuming he plays. He's questionable with a sprained ankle, though he seems pretty sure he'll be out there.) It's also not clear how Shepard will be used. Will he stay mostly in the slot? Probably not, since the Giants are likely to use more two-tight end schemes, which will force him to the outside. Plus, he's the Giants' most accomplished remaining receiver -- by far -- so he'll have to move around to be effective. Is he good enough to avoid Sherman's shadow the entire game and consistently beat what's left of the Legion of Boom secondary? How he does -- again, assuming he's fully healthy -- will go a long way toward showing whether the Giants have any hope of salvaging something out of their passing game the rest of the way.
The Giants' big win in Denver was invigorating, to be sure. But it's really hard to believe that it's a sign of things to come. Honestly, it felt fluky, considering the circumstances. For one, the Giants got a huge effort from their ground game, which has been stagnant, really, for years. They got a terrific game from an offensive line that has been mostly terrible for the same amount of time. And they survived without any semblance of a passing attack that has been their bread-and-butter throughout the McAdoo era and beyond. Doesn't that sound more like a blip on the radar than a trend? The Giants also won the turnover battle 3-0, and turnovers remain the biggest indicator of who will win NFL games. So if they can do that again, then sure, they can win any style of game they want.
But this is a Seahawks team with some good, consistent weapons on offense. Plus, they've really tightened up what had been a leaky run defense over the last few weeks. Two weeks ago, before their bye, they held Todd Gurley to 43 yards and the high-scoring Rams to 10 points. That sets up a big showdown between the revived Seattle run defense and the Giants' one-dimensional offense. It's not a good bet that the Giants can win two weeks in a row riding the one dimension (the run) that has rarely worked well for them at all. … Seahawks 19, Giants 13.
MY RECORD: 2-4
MY RECORD WHEN PICKING THE GIANTS TO WIN: 0-3
MY RECORD WHEN PICKING THE GIANTS TO LOSE: 2-1