Gridiron Gab Week Nine Preview: New York Giants at Seattle Seahawks

Seattle’s starting quarterback Matt Hasselbeck won’t play Sunday at Qwest Field against the New York Giants.

He might not be the only Seahawk missing the game as injuries have dwindled the numbers on both the offensive and defensive lines, as well as at wide receiver, but the team’s head coach isn’t focusing on that.

“I don’t know if it’s a challenge, it’s just what [it] is,” said Pete Carroll at his Wednesday press conference from the Seahawks’ Renton, Wash. training facilities.

“We just have to deal with it and make sure we take all the steps – you know – to tie all the loose ends together to make sure that we don’t get caught.”

Filling in for Hasselbeck will be Charlie Whitehurst. The 28-year-old quarterback will be making his first-ever regular-season start and will attempt his first-ever pass outside of the preseason. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Whitehurst was acquired in a trade with San Diego during the offseason.

Lining up opposite the first-time starter Sunday will be one of the league’s toughest defenses.

“Perry Fewell’s done a nice job,” said Seattle’s head coach of New York’s newest defensive coordinator. “They play really aggressive in the attack.”

That aggressiveness has resulted in the unit knocking out five quarterbacks from games and recording 24 sacks, with 18 of those coming in the past four weeks.

“They’ve really been hot coming after the quarterback,” said Carroll. “They have a terrific four-man rush.”

When that rush hasn’t brought the quarterback down for a loss, it’s still been effective. Opposing quarterbacks have completed just 53.7 percent of all pass attempts this season when the Giants have brought pressure.

New York (5-2) isn’t one dimensional, though.

In Eli Manning’s last game, a Week Seven 41-35 victory in Dallas, the quarterback orchestrated five consecutive scoring drives en route to tying his career-best touchdown performance with four aerial scores. It was the fourth time Manning’s thrown four touchdowns in a game.

“He’s a pocket, classic pocket guy with great vision and ability to make all the throws that you need to make and they like to protect him up and give him the chance to throw the ball down the field,” said Carroll.

Where Seattle (4-3) will look to make its presence felt with Manning is the pass rush. Despite the four touchdowns, Manning threw three interceptions in the Dallas game as well in what’s been an up-and-down year so far. He’s tied with Drew Brees and Brett Favre for first in the National Football League in interceptions thrown this season with 11.

Kickoff is set Sunday for 4:05 p.m. Eastern at Qwest Field.

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