As Tom Coughlin prepares his 5-8 New York Giants to face the 11-2 Seattle Seahawks at MetLife Stadium on Sunday it's hard to believe Coughlin is not somewhat envious. Knowing what Coughlin preaches, the Seahawks are the team Coughlin would like the Giants to be.
- The Seahawks are third in the league in rushing, averaging 141.5 yards per game. They have a power rushing attack featuring Marshawn Lynch, who already has 1,042 yards rushing this season.
- The Seahawks average 27.5 points per game, fourth in the league.
- They run a balanced offense which leans toward the run, with 52.9 percent of their offensive plays being runs.
- Seattle's defense is first in the league in points (15.8) and yards (287.1) allowed per game.
- The Seahawks are fourth in the league with 17 interceptions.
- The Seahawks are +12 in turnover ratio and tied for the league-lead with an average of 2.2 turnovers forced per game.
- Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson has only thrown seven interceptions this season.
- The only thing about Seattle that Coughlin probably wouldn't like is that they are second-last in the league in penalties committed, averaging 8.0 penalties per game.
- Seattle has allowed a stunning 15 yards in punt returns for the entire season.
With all of those numbers as a backdrop, let's look at our weekly scouting report.
When The Giants Have The Ball
The Giants are the worst team in the league at protecting the football with a -13 takeaway/giveaway differential. They have a league-high 34 turnovers and quarterback Eli Manning is tied with rookie Geno Smith for the most interceptions in the league with 20. The Seahawks are fourth in the league with 17 interceptions, second overall with 28 takeaways and have a takeaway/giveaway differential of +12. That could be a toxic combination for the mistake-prone Giants.
"They lead the league or are second in the league in takeaways; therefore, you can't make a mistake as we've learned the hard way over and over and over," Coughlin said.
The Seahawks boast a talented secondary led by Richard Sherman, probably the league's No. 1 cornerback, and Earl Thomas, an oustanding young safety tied for the team lead in tackles at 89 with middle linebacker Bobby Wagner. Seattle leads the league in passer rating against at 69.4.
Defensive end Cliff Avril leads the Seahawks with 7.5 sacks, Michael Bennett has 6.5 and Chris Clemons has 4.5 sacks. The Seahawks have a talented front seven that will prove to be a challenge for the Giants' offensive line.
"I think their front is as strong a component as anything they have. Part of the reason the secondary plays as successfully as they do is because of the ability level of their front," offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said. "They do have a lot of guys who are very good specialists, so the bigger and stronger guys play on first and second down and then they put in their speed rushers on third down. It's a dynamic mix that most clubs would love to have, but very few do."
It is difficult to see where the Giants have any advantages offensively. Gilbride said the Giants are "going to have our hands full." Gilbride is hoping that wide receivers Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Rueben Randle can make some plays against the man-to-man press coverage they are likely to see.
"Some of the things they do should give us some chances. Our guys are always clamoring for one on one opportunities, you're going to get more than your fair share of one on one opportunities to win against some pretty good coverage and guys that play very physical," Gilbride said. "Usually with wideouts, it not as much as a physical contest as it's going to be on Sunday because it's the way they play."
New York Giants
|Offense||19.4||323.9 (24th)||235.5 (17th)||88.4 (25th)|
|Defense||25.5||333.8 (12th)||235.0 (15th-T)||98.8 (7th)|
When The Seahawks Have The Ball
The Seahawks are not only a physical defensive team, they are physical on the offensive side as well.
Seattle relies on the running of Lynch and quarterback Wilson (81 carries, 458 yards, 5.7 yards per carry) first and foremost. Wilson has completed 64.5 percent of his passes for 23 touchdowns and just seven interceptions.
Golden Tate leads Seattle receivers with 52 receptions, averaging 13.7 yards per catch.
The Giants have done well against many of the NFL's best running backs this season, but did allow San Diego's Ryan Mathews to rush for 103 yards last week.
The Seahawks have allowed 32 sacks this season, just one less than the often-porous Giants' line has allowed. The Seahawks adjusted sack rate, from Football Outsiders, is 8.8 percent, worse than the Giants' 8.1 percent. Perhaps that offers a glimmer of hope that Justin Tuck (six sacks in the past two games) and Co. can find in crack in the Seahawks' armor to exploit.
The Giants admit shutting down the Seattle running game and making the Seahawks be a pass-first offense is a priority.
"It's huge, especially coming off of last week where we felt like that was probably our worst game against the run all year. We didn't hold up as well as we'd like to, so this week is going to be a big challenge for us because we're going against another top back in the league and another team that likes to run the ball a lot, not just him but the quarterback, too," said defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins. "We've got to be assignment-sound, we have to be a whole lot better than we were last week and make sure we get back to the type of football we were playing against the run."
The Giants will likely be without Jason Pierre-Paul once again. The star defensive end has not practiced this week and could miss his third straight game with a shoulder injury.
|Offense||27.5||356.6 (12th)||215.1 (21st)||141.5 (3rd)|
|Defense||15.8||287.1 (1st)||175.6 (1st)||111.5 (14th)|
The Seahawks are fifth in the league in punt return, averaging 11.5 yards per return. Tate leads Seattle with an average 12.0 yards on 39 returns. This is an issue for the Giants, who have surrendered 14.5 yards per return and given up three returns for touchdowns this season. Granted, those returns came early in the season but the Seahawks present a challenge to punter Steve Weatherford and the coverage team.
Seattle, as mentioned previously, has surrendered only 15 return yards all season, an average of 1.2 yards per return attempt. Punter Jon Ryan has allowed a league-low 13 return attempts on 52 punts this season, with 22 fair catches. Ryan has, however, had two punts blocked. Perhaps Damontre Moore and the Giants can take advantage of that.
The teams are relatively equal in kickoff return, with Seattle averaging 20.5 yards and the Giants 19.9 per return. The Seahawks give up 24.5 yards per kickoff return while the Giants surrender 23.9 yards per return.
Seattle field-goal kicker Steve Hauschka is 27-of-28 for the season. Giants' placekicker Josh Brown is 18-of-20 for the season in field goal.
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