Don’t be surprised that you find yourself rubbing your eyes in some disbelief during the Seahawks vs Giants because your feeling like you just watched the same game on Monday night. The New York Giants have an offense that isn’t very good, and they have a defense that is playing pretty darn good ball.
Don’t stress out about this. Seattle has already played three other teams this year in 2020 that have that same imbalance, and Seattle has won all three, and two of them pretty comfortably in the 49ers and Eagles. The third one was early in the season against the Patriots when the Patriots looked like a team that could do damage and Seattle’s defense couldn’t find its pass rush nor could they do much else. A lot has changed since then.
As tough as this game might be fought with the Giants playing for the lowly NFC East division title, this is a game that Seattle should win, even if their starting quarterback Daniel Jones were to play in this one. Much has been made about these Giants and their three game winning schedule but those wins have come against Washington, the Eagles, and the Bengals, but all three of these teams had various struggling situations at quarterback. When they played the Steelers earlier in the year, they faced a quarterback closer to that of Russell Wilson, and they were beaten pretty soundly.
With the likelihood that Jones won’t be playing, and long time NFL backup Colt McCoy will, Seattle should win this one fairly comfortably if they continue playing with balance on offense that is smart balance like it was against San Francisco, Arizona, and through much of the game against the Eagles (until they got midway through the fourth quarter and they decided to shut Russell Wilson down and had Carlos Hyde running into a brick wall that was trying to stop the run). Smart balance in this one might likely mean passing a bit more to set up the run game.
Going back to that game against Pittsburgh, Big Ben was able to efficiently carve them up with a stat line that reads 21/32 passes, 229 yards, 3 TDs and 0 INTs. That is a vintage Russell Wilson stat line when Seattle plays with balance. Expect Seattle to continue down this offensive pathway that head coach Pete Carroll prefers. For Pete, balance is the way.
Seahawks win this game by..
Playing smart balanced football, and the operative word here is “smart.” New York general manager Dave Gettleman has done a good job building up an impressively stout defensive line for the Giants that features a rotation of massive and powerful men such as Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence, Dalvin Tomlinson, BJ Hill, and Austin Johnson. All of these guys are either first or second round picks and are quality starters in this league. If for some reason, in their quest for balance, Pete Carroll and Brian Schottenheimer were to elect to run the ball in tight offensive formations against this front, you will likely see these Giant defenders destroy Seattle’s running backs in the backfield, especially with these gigantic (pun intended) interior defenders. For Seattle to have smarter balance, they are probably going to want to design runs out of spread formations. Seattle’s best runs against the Eagles (who also have an imposing defensive line) came out of their three receiver sets that forced the Eagles into more nickel. Expect them to do the same against the Giants.
Seattle sets up the run more by passing. This will slightly please the Let Russ Cook crowd that is likely lamenting the fact Carroll is now preaching balance as much as he is. I expect Russ to put on a bit more of a show against these Giant defenders. The strength of the Giant defense is their ability to play the run. They aren’t as strong against the pass. This could be a game that Tyler Lockett gets back on track with more attention on DK Metcalf’s rising star. I have a sneaking suspicion that this could be a bit of a break out game for rookie Freddie Swain if David Moore is still gimpy in this one. The Giants have one quality corner and he is likely to draw DK. There is likely going to be opportunities there for whoever lines up for Seattle in the slot. I could see the tight ends also factoring in a bit more. Once the Giants start adjusting to the pass (should Russell find early success), this is where Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde could do damage. Pittsburgh’s big physical back Bennie Shell had a game against these Giants, grinding out 113 yards on 19 carries in their balanced attack. It would be wise for Seattle to study that game.
The defense continues to play connected football together. There is a decent possibility that Seattle will play this game without Carlos Dunlap. It a bit unnerving because it appears that Dunlap has been the key that has unlocked Seattle’s surging pass rush. Even if Dunlap should rest this one out, I expect Seattle’s defense to stay connected enough to handle this Giant offense, especially if the Giants are forced to go with McCoy under center. The strength of the Giant offense is their run game, and they haven’t been very a good red zone scoring team. The strength of Seattle’s defense remains their ability to defend the run, and they have been improving significantly lately against the pass and defending the red zone. The Giants are vulnerable enough with their offensive line that, even without Dunlap, Seattle could still find ample success with their pass rush.
Seahawks lose this by..
Somehow collapsing on defense. It’s hard for me to imagine that, even without Dunlap, this actually happens for Seattle. It feels like they are catching the Giants at the right time, especially if Jones can’t go at quarterback, and even if the Giants try to roll him out, he’s going to likely be hindered by that hamstring. That’s the dilemma that the Giants are facing. While a defensive collapse is unlikely for Seattle in this one, they don’t have tape on how McCoy will look in this Giant offense, they will have to go off of what he has done in the past (not much). If the Giant offense has any edge, it is in the unknown about how they would use McCoy. They will be surely looking for anyway to catch the Seattle defenders off guard. The trick play could factor in this one. Seattle must stay connected on defense and be ready for anything.
Seattle turns the ball over too much on offense and gives the Giants easy scoring positions. Like the chance of a defensive collapse, I have a hard time seeing Seattle turning over the ball much in this one (if at all), especially with how protective Russ has been throwing lately, and the balance that they have been playing with. Turnovers don’t have to come with interceptions, though. Fumbles can happen with receivers getting hit, running backs not being protective enough, and exchanges not being secure enough. For the Giants to win, they need to create turnovers in this one. Seattle must protect the ball and not let this happen. Seattle also has to play to the strengths of their best players, and offensively, that might mean not having Russ stay in the pocket and expect him to deliver quick hitting pass against a Giant defensive line that feature 6-5 300 pound plus players that will be looking to swat down passes from the short passer.
It will be a good day for Seattle Seahawk fans. The Seahawks win this one handily, 24-13, even if there won’t be tons of style points.
Even if Dunlap isn’t a go in this one, and Daniel Jones is for the Giants at quarterback, I see this game playing out pretty similarly like the game over a month ago against the 49ers. If Jones plays, he will probably play protectively with that hamstring like Jimmy Garoppolo did while he was nursing injury against the Seahawks. Seattle didn’t have Dunlap yet then, and they didn’t even have Jamal Adams in that game, yet they found ways to rattle Jimmy G and get him well out of his game. If Dunlap doesn’t go, the Giants still need to contend with a Seattle defense that has Adams.
I also expect Russell Wilson to play a similarly efficient game like he has done recently over the last couple games. It just might not always be pretty, especially if Seattle misses Brandon Shell at right tackle for a second straight game.
I expect the Giant defense will likely put up a pretty good fight in this one, and that might mean it takes a bit of time for Russ to get going. In that, however, I suspect Seattle will continue staying more balanced, and that will help keep the Giant defenders playing honest enough for Russell to make the right decisions, and his signature plays will come in time. He will check to the run when it is right to check to the run, he won’t force throws that aren’t there, he will find his open guys, and that will be enough for another efficient outing, and a Seattle Seahawk win.
This is how I see it, anyways.