Try as they might, the New York Giants will travel all the way across country to Seattle to try and end a three-game losing streak while trying to win at the defending Super Bowl champion’s home field, a place widely regarded as the toughest place to play in.
Yeah, good luck with that.
Well, the Giants have to play with the hand they were dealt and try to make this a game. After all, the Seahawks have shown cracks in their game, having lost three games this year, including to the likes of St. Louis. However, they are back on track after winning their last two games (although the Raiders put up a good fight last week, losing 30-24).
So, it’s not inconceivable that the Giants can make a game out of it. Here then, are the five things to watch out for on Sunday afternoon.
Will the Giants play with some heart, something Jason Pierre-Paul says is lacking?
After three straight lackadaisical and uninspiring performances, a lot of people are questioning the Giants’ heart, including defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.
Well, that’s a crutch everyone’s been using the last couple of years, but at some point it’s not just about heart, but execution as well. It’s time to focus on the task at hand, go out compete and put it all together. In other words, bring your A-game and let the chips fall where they may.
Again, it will be hard to win in Seattle, but if you combine skill-set, execution and heart, the Giants could make a game out of it.
Can the Giants slow down Marshawn Lynch?
Lynch, aka “Beast Mode”, apparently got off his schneid last week, as he racked up 143 yards from scrimmage with two touchdowns against the Raiders. However, he has rushed for less than 100 yards in his last seven games, going over the century mark only once, which came in the season opener against Green Bay.
If the Giants can limit him to less than 100 yards rushing, they will have done a solid job. Where the Giants have to be careful of Lynch is in the passing game, as that’s a part of his game he is expanding. He now has 22 receptions for 223 yards and three touchdowns (a high mark for Lynch in receiving touchdowns).
With Percy Harvin now with the Jets, Lynch is basically the only offense for the Seahawks these days. So if the Giants, can cut the head off the snake and limit Lynch, it would go along way in helping the Giants’ chances. That said, it’s easier said than done.
Will Odell Beckham Jr. continue to shine?
One bright spot for the Giants amidst their losing streak has been the emergence of rookie wideout Odell Beckham Jr.
Beckham Jr. is coming off a game against the Colts in which he recorded career highs in targets (11), receptions (eight) and receiving yards (156). Ever since he has returned from injury, Beckham Jr. is proving to be a reliable and trusted target for Eli Manning, especially in the absence of Victor Cruz.
The only downside is that he will be going up against a solid Seahawks secondary with him possibly being lined up with stud cornerback Richard Sherman. It’s still to be determined if Sherman will blanket Beckham Jr., and if he is, will Manning trust Beckham Jr. in this matchup?
Can the Giants get anything out of their running game?
Once again, the Giants will be without the services of starting running back Rashad Jennings.
Andre Williams has shown in his rookie season that he is good in small doses, but as a lead back he has proven to be unreliable, rushing for only 132 yards and one touchdown on 47 carries (a meager 2.8 YPC) in three starts.
Expect the Giants to get Peyton Hillis more involved, especially in the passing game. Whether it’s Williams or Hillis, running room figures to be tight, as the Seahawks rank fourth in rushing defense (allowing just 83 rushing yards per game).
Will Russell Wilson be able to exploit a banged-up Giant’s secondary?
The loss of Prince Amukamara is clearly a devastating blow. After starting out the season on fire, the loss of Amukamara will test an already thin secondary.
However, Wilson and the Seahawks are still lacking a big-time playmaker at receiver, especially once they got rid of Harvin. Wilson has passed for more than 201 yards only once in his last five games. Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Ricardo Lockette and Paul Richardson are hardly an imposing receiving corps.
On the other hand, with the Giants secondary banged up, expect Wilson to put them to the test regardless. Besides, the Giants also have to be mindful of Wilson’s ability to escape the pocket and run with the ball. He leads all quarterbacks in rushing yards (393) and is a dangerous weapon in the open field.
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