WHEN THE SEAHAWKS HAVE THE BALL
Seattle owns the worst-ranked offense in the league (254.0 ypg), but is coming off an excellent outing versus the Falcons in which the unit racked up 372 yards thanks to Jackson’s career day. Jackson (846 passing yards, 5 TD, 4 INT) matched a career-high with 25 completions, hitting Rice (11 receptions) for a 52-yard score as well as connecting with Mike Williams (8 receptions) and Obomanu (11 receptions) for touchdowns. They were the first touchdown catches of the season for all three receivers, not surprising given that Seattle is averaging just 14.5 points per game. Jackson, who was also picked off twice but was not sacked, completed three passes each to Rice, Williams, running backs Marshawn Lynch (141 rushing yards, 7 receptions, 1 TD) and Justin Forsett (10 receptions), Obomanu and tight end Zach Miller (8 receptions), while rookie receiver Doug Baldwin (12 receptions, 1 TD) hauled in a team-leading five catches for 84 yards. Seattle did manage just 53 yards on the ground, with Lynch leading with way with 24 yards on eight carries with a score. Jackson scrambled for 16 yards behind a line that is still without guard Robert Gallery, who is not expected back until after the team’s bye due to a groin issue. Williams is questionable this weekend with a concussion.
The Giants will look to get to Jackson and come into the game tied for fifth in the NFL with 12 sacks despite not having defensive end Osi Umenyiora for the season’s first three games and fellow end Justin Tuck for two of those four contests. Umenyiora made his season debut versus Arizona and had a pair of sacks while forcing a fumble in his first action since having arthroscopic knee surgery on Aug. 19. Tuck (6 tackles, 1.5 sacks), meanwhile, sat out due to a neck and groin ailment. End Dave Tollefson (5 tackles, 3 sacks) added the first two-sack game of his career last week, while Jason Pierre-Paul (22 tackles, 4.5 sacks) made the start for Tuck after filling in for Umenyiora for the first three weeks. Former Cardinals safety Antrel Rolle (29 tackles, 1 INT) grabbed an interception, giving the Giants a turnover in 17 straight regular- season games. Rolle was also one of three New York defenders to log six tackles, while linebacker Michael Boley (25 tackles) led the way with seven. Fellow linebacker and rookie Jacquian Williams (25 tackles) recovered a fumble in addition to making four tackles. New York has been vulnerable against the run, allowing 116.5 yards per game to rank 21st in the league, and gave up 156 rushing yards against the Cardinals.
WHEN THE GIANTS HAVE THE BALL
Despite averaging just 333.0 yards per game (21st in the league), the Giants rank ninth in the NFL with an average of 25.5 points per game. The ground game has yet to be a major factor, as New York logged just 54 rushing yards versus Arizona and ranks 24th at 87.5 yards per game on the ground. Ahmad Bradshaw (228 rushing yards, 15 receptions, 3 total TD) managed 39 yards on 12 carries last week but scored a touchdown, as did Brandon Jacobs (116 rushing yards, 2 TD). The score was the 51st on the ground for Jacobs in his career, leaving him four shy of Tiki Barber’s club record. Manning (1066 passing yards, 8 TD, 2 INT) has thrived thus far for the Giants, throwing for 321 yards last weekend in addition to a pair of touchdown throws without an interception. Manning was also sacked just once and targeted Nicks (24 receptions, 2 TD) 14 times, connecting with his top target on 10 occasions for a career-high 162 yards. One week after posting 110 yards and two touchdowns versus the Eagles, Cruz (11 receptions, 2 TD) made a career-high six catches for 98 yards against Arizona. Tight end Jake Ballard (7 receptions, 1 TD) also caught a touchdown pass from Manning.
The Seahawks rank in the middle of the pack in most main defensive categories, but couldn’t play up to par versus the Falcons last weekend. They rank 13th with an average of 341.5 yards allowed per game, 14th against the run and are tied for 18th in scoring defense at 24.3 points allowed per game, but saw Atlanta exceed all of those totals with 412 yards of offense, 121 rushing yards and 30 points. Though Seattle and linebacker David Hawthorne (22 tackles) held Atlanta running back Michael Turner under 100 yards rushing, he did score twice. Hawthorne topped the club with 10 tackles, while safety Earl Thomas (27 tackles) set a career-high with nine stops. He was without his starting partner in Kam Chancellor (24 tackles, 1 INT), who sat out the game with a quadriceps injury and is questionable for this week. Defensive end Anthony Hargrove’s status is also up in the air due to a hamstring issue suffered against Atlanta, while linebacker Matt McCoy, who led the club with 19 special teams tackles last year, was placed on IR due to a knee injury this week. Cornerback Marcus Trufant (23 tackles, 1 INT) and linebacker Leroy Hill (23 tackles, 1 sack) also made nine stops for a Seattle defense that failed to force a turnover or come up with a sack against Atlanta.
KEYS TO THE GAME
The Seahawks have posted just a pair of interceptions through their four games and could have trouble containing Manning and his plethora of receivers this weekend. The Giants quarterback is 40-of-57 passing with 557 yards and five touchdowns without a pick in the last two meetings, so getting to Manning often would help Seattle.
Another fourth-quarter comeback might not be in the cards for the Giants, given that the Seahawks tend to get stronger as the game goes on. Seattle is outscoring opponents 45-30 in the second half, including 28-10 in the third quarter.
Seattle’s young line, which features rookies John Moffitt and James Carpenter on the right side at guard and tackle, respectively, will likely have its hands full with Pierre-Paul and Umenyiora, though they could catch a bit of a break if Tuck sits out again. Getting Lynch going will prevent the New York defensive line from running downhill.
Prediction – How bout those Giants, a team that was pounded with injuries in the preseason, yet have overcome them with solid play and good coaching to start the year at 3-1. A huge win two weeks ago in Philly was followed up by a frantic comeback win against the Cardinals. The Hawks are a pretty bad team, and unless the Giants put the ball on the ground a lot and play a terrible game, they will be 4-1 come Sunday night. New York Giants 31 Seattle 13