The New York Football Giants are a feel good story team featuring Daniel Jones, a young quarterback that the football world had seemingly given up on. Some with a solid East Coast bias might call them “the story” of the NFL season, thus far. Heading into this season, it was believed by many (including myself) that this team would be playing for a top pick in next Spring’s draft to select a quarterback from Alabama, or a quarterback from Ohio State.
Now sitting at 6-1 and contending for a divisional title in a surprisingly tough NFC East, these Giants seem to a be a lot of people’s favs. It’s refreshing watching a new head coach being able to turnaround a struggling program, and getting the most out of a player who seemed destined for the life of a career backup after this season. On top of that, they are gritty group of G-Men, and don’t mind taking it into the fourth quarter to find a way to come from behind to pull off a win.
Rookie head coach Brian Daboll has to be a top contender for Coach Of The Year honors right now, and the fact that he has turned around Daniel Jones after turning around Josh Allen in Buffalo as a coordinator, I don’t think it is hyperbolic to suggest that he’s one of the brightest minds in football right now. He seems to be that good. Bravo to the Giants for making this hire.
Conversely, here in Seattle, the Seahawks are having a similar feel good story of their own. After trading away Russell Wilson last Winter, it was widely assumed that the Seahawks were going to tank this season for a top quarterback in next year’s draft, much like the assumption with the Giants. Judging off of their actions, it was an easy assumption to make.
They didn’t trade for another veteran passer like Matt Ryan, or Baker Mayfield. They didn’t sign Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota in free agency. They didn’t even bother to draft Liberty quarterback Malik Willis like many thought they would. Instead, they brought back backup Geno Smith to compete for the starting position along with Denver miscast Drew Lock, and most assumed that Lock was going to become the starter.
Now, seven games into the NFL season, the Seattle Seahawks are sitting at 4-3, and in first place of a competitive NFC West Division. That, in and of itself, feels remarkable, but it is how they have gotten there that is truly the story to be told. Through seven games, 32 year old Geno Smith (who hasn’t be a regular starter since 2014) is the second best passer in the league right now as graded by most analytic grades. He sits just behind Buffalo’s Josh Allen who many regard as the best quarterback in the league right now, to give that context.
With all due respect to the Giants, and Daniel Jones, and their talented head coach, the Seattle Seahawks, and Geno Smith, and Pete Carroll are every bit as much as a feel good story right now. In many ways, I think they are even more of a feel good story but admittedly, I have a West Coast bias (because it’s the best coast).
The entire league had long given up on Geno Smith as a starter even though he was a prolific college passer and a two year starter for the Jets seemingly ions ago. It also seemed like many fans and media sorts had given up on Carroll, labeling him as washed up coach who needed to find a retirement home. Pete Carroll has to be strongly considered as the Coach Of The Year right now along with Daboll, and if someone is going to make an argument for a Comeback Player Of The Year candidate who is not Geno Smith, that person would be making the wrong argument.
In my humble opinion, there is not a better story in all of sports than the Geno Smith one right now. I don’t think this is just my biased opinion speaking either. Many in the national news and media are now finally talking about it.
Can he sustain it? Judging through these first seven games, I wouldn’t bet against him. He looks poised, confident, and in control, and he’s in the right situation to sustain it. He’s got the right coach who believes in him, he’s got talent on the offense that surrounds him, a defense that is improving, and he’s got the team and fans of the Pacific Northwest behind him.
So, as I look at these feel good Giants heading into Lumen Field this Sunday with their impressive record, and gutsy wins against some quality opponents, I am prepared to do the most homer-y homiest homeric homerville thing ever as a lowly blogger who covers the Seattle Seahawks. I think the Seahawks cover the spread that favors them in this one, and they win this game.
If you look at highlights of the Giants, you will notice Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones running bonkers for explosive gains, and if you still have lingering doubts about the Seahawk defense, you’re probably nervous, if you are a Seahawks fan. I totally understand it.
If you look at the roster and who New York has on their defensive line, that probably doesn’t have you feeling any easier. There’s multiple first round picks on that DL. They are all players who were big names in college, and are big names in the league.
But I am here to remind you that the Seattle defense, for two weeks in a row, have faced back to back athletic scrambling quarterbacks who are probably better passers than Daniel Jones is, and they have faired pretty well against them. I would also add the Charger running back Austin Ekeler is a back who some might argue is every bit as dangerous as Barkley is, and Seattle’s defense did a pretty good job against him last Sunday.
I think the difference in this game is going to be that Daboll isn’t going to be arrogant like the Charger coach was with trying to beat the Seattle defense with the pass. He will stay very committed to running Barkley and Jones, and the key for Seattle is to attack the gaps and tackle well. Judging their play off of these last two games, I think they will. I believe Seattle’s defense is turning the corner into becoming a good unit.
Offensively, I would further add that Seattle has faced some pretty good defensive fronts over the past three weeks that have every bit as much talent as New Yorks. The Saints, the Cardinals, and the Chargers all have stables of defensive linemen that, on paper, are pretty impressive. In that, one of the most underrated stories to the Seahawk season, thus far, is how well their offensive line has been playing with two rookie tackles starting against quality defensive lines. They have been really good against good opponents, and this might be the biggest reason of optimism for Seahawk fans.
In fact, maybe the biggest reason why I am optimistic and am predicting a Seahawk victory this Sunday is the battle in the trenches. The Seahawks offensive line appears significantly more healthy right now than the offensive line the Giants have. The Giants will be without their mammoth right tackle Evan Neal, and their starting left guard Ben Bredeson in this one, and since adjusting their scheme up front to a more attacking style, the Seahawk defensive line as been playing remarkably well the last two weeks against the battered lines of the Chargers and Cardinals.
Against the Giants defense, I’m not overly nervous. They appear top ten in points allowed, but they haven’t generated many sacks or interceptions. Teams have been able to run on them, averaging over 5 yards per carry (despite the big names on their defensive line), and they haven’t faced a top DVOA offense like Seattle has.
The weather conditions in Seattle is looking windy and rainy on Sunday. Normally, when we had Russell Wilson here in Seattle, I would be nervous about these conditions, but the way in which Geno has been able to zip the ball out accurately, and the way Shane Waldron has been able to call on offense that balances the pass with the run in wonderfully creative ways lately, I think these conditions might likely favor the Seahawks for a change, especially if they start leaning more into their run game with jet sweeps and the magic of Ken Walker III.
Seahawks win a wild one, 27-23, at home, and extend their lead in the division.
In their six wins, the Giants haven’t been an especially high scoring offense (largely due to injuries at receiver), and a banged up offensive line could be an issue for them here, but I see them being very determined to lean heavily into Barkley as a runner and pass catcher. This will be a big test for the Seahawk defense hoping to continue rewriting the narrative around them. Their linebackers and safeties will need to be on point. Play fierce and play fast, and wrap up instead of going for the big hit.
On the flip side, Seattle could be without DK Metcalf, and they are playing a defense that, despite giving up yards, has been good in the red zone. They will need to find their explosives on the perimeters as the game wears on, much like they did against the Chargers. In what could be a windy and wet game, this is going to possibly come down to field goals, and which offense generates more explosive plays. Seattle’s offense has been a league leader in explosive plays, and kicker Jason Meyers has had a hot foot this year.
Thus, in the Fight Of The NFL Feel Goods, I see the Seattle Seahawks prevailing at home. It may not always be pretty, but I think this is going to be a fun one. I can’t wait.