The Seahawks sat at home last week and watched the LA Rams prove they are still well in the discussion for the NFC West.
While the Seahawks weren’t playing, the Giants were over in Denver picking up their first win of the season despite the absence of Odell Beckham. The G-Men controlled things early, and were the first into the end zone when Evan Engram caught a five-yard pass from Eli Manning in the second quarter. The real turning point of the game came in the dying stages of the first half though, when Janoris Jenkins picked off Trevor Siemian and took it back to the house to blow the scoreboard wide open. Eventually the Giants ran out 23-10 winners.
Keeping the pocket clean
Both offensive lines have been far from impressive so far this season. Last week the Giants shuffled things around up front and it worked for a while, but the Broncos still managed three sacks and three further hits on Eli Manning. The fact that that is an improvement should still worry Giants fans.
On the Seahawks side, Wilson is very much used to running for his life but it’s not been a sustainable way to generate offense. Both teams need to find a way to improve the safety of their quarterbacks, particularly because they are facing very dangerous defensive lines.
Finding a ground game
Both these teams have had problems finding a quality running back to complement the passing game. Chris Carson looked like he’d be an answer for the Seahawks but then he got hurt, now Orleans Darkwa appears to be a solution for the Giants. Whoever can find some consistency on the ground in this game is likely to end up, pardon the pun, a runaway winner.
Both these defenses pride themselves on containing the shock plays and forcing teams to make 15+ play drives if they want to go the length of the field on them. New York’s impressive 2016 defense is starting to appear, and we all know what the Seahawks can do in the secondary and they remain one of the best teams when it comes to rallying to the ball in the open field.
The Seahawks will be looking for Paul Richardson and Tyler Lockett to take the top of the defenses, while the Giants will need Evan Engram to win consistently on the inside and drag Kam Chancellor and Bobby Wagner out of position to open up space for others.
Matchup to Watch: Kam Chancellor/Bobby Wagner vs Evan Engram
The Giants completed just 11 passes against the Broncos, with Engram taking five of them for 82 yards and a score. It’s worth noting though, that the Broncos are one of the worst teams at defending tight ends, and while Engram isn’t your traditional in-line tight end, he still falls under that bracket. The Seahawks, however, are one of the best at shutting down the big-bodied receivers. Part of that is because of the range of their middle linebacker Bobby Wagner but also the physicality of Kam Chancellor. Engram is in for a tough day.
Fantasy Tip: Seahawks RB JD McKissic
If anyone is going to emerge from the Seahawks backfield it looks like it will be McKissic. He showed his value in the Colts game at the start of October, taking six carries for 38 yards and a score, and while he was very limited in the Rams game, Eddie Lacy and Thomas Rawls have proven to be pretty useless this season. If you are missing Ameer Abdullah or Lamar Miller this week then McKissic is a nice fix for you.
Betting Tip: Giants (+4.5)
home underdogs are always a tough one. On paper, on reputation, and on form, the Seahawks would seem very likely to win, but west coast teams coming east, and especially teams with a very weak offense, are always hard to back on the road. Take the points in this one.
Prediction: Seahawks 20-17 Giants
That said, I am still picking the Seahawks to win this one. Their defense is flat-out better than New York’s, and Wilson’s feet are a difference-maker when it comes to close games. Seattle also still have a good crop of receivers who can hurt the Giants downfield.
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