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Giants 2017 Schedule Preview: Facing Seattle Seahawks A Tough Task

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NFL: Seattle Seahawks-Minicamp
Pete Carroll
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The best thing about the New York Giants’ Week 7 meeting with the Seattle Seahawks is that it will be at MetLife Stadium. That means the Giants won’t have to travel cross-country and deal with the noise at CenturyLink Field. They will, however, still have to deal with a good Seahawks team.

Let’s take a closer look at Seattle as we continue profiling the Giants’ 2017 opponents.

2016 Seahawks

Record: 10-5-1
NFC West: 1st
Offense: No. 18 in points, No. 12 in yards
Defense: No. 3 in points allowed, No. 5 in yards allowed

Roster Moves

Key Additions

RB Eddie Lacy, OT/OG Luke Joeckel, OG Oday Aboushi, LB Michael Wilhoite, LB Arthur Brown, S/CB Bradley McDougald, QB Austin Davis, LB Terence Garvin, DE Dion Jordan, K Blair Walsh

Key Losses

OT Bradley Sowell, K Steven Hauschka, OT Garry Gilliam, TE Brandon Williams, RB Troymaine Pope, FB Will Tukuafu, DT Tony McDaniel, LB Brock Coyle, DE Damontre Moore

2017 NFL Draft

  • Round 2 (No. 35) — DT Malik McDowell
  • Round 2 (No. 58) — C Ethan Pocic
  • Round 3 (No. 90) — DB Shaquill Griffin
  • Round 3 (No. 95) — SS Delano Hill
  • Round 3 (No. 101) — DT Nazair Jones
  • Round 4 (No. 111) — FS Tedric Thompson
  • Round 6 (No. 187) — S Michael Tyson
  • Round 6 (No. 210) — OT Justin Senior
  • Round 7 (No. 226) — WR David Moore
  • Round 7 (No. 249) — RB Christopher Carson

Three Questions About The Seahawks

Kenneth Arthur of Field Gulls drops some Seahawks knowledge on us.

Ed: What is your favorite thing that the Seahawks accomplished this offseason?

Kenneth: That's a difficult question, or at least gives me a lot of things to think about. Generally I think that the Eddie Lacy signing is the most exciting; historically speaking, running backs of his caliber don't usually become available at that age. However, in the current era of football, it's become the norm for teams to not value backs much and we see them move around all the time. Additionally, Lacy's injury and weight issues are what made him relatively cheap on a one-year deal. Regardless of the "why" though, Lacy is sometimes one of the top five backs in the league and I think he can become an instant fan favorite. That being said, Lacy would not be my final answer because as with all of the one-year deals they made, the Seahawks have put themselves in several potential contract binds in 2017: If Lacy is great, he may be too expensive to re-sign. If Lacy is not great, then he's not great and it wasn't a good use of resources given the red flags.

Instead, I'll say that my favorite thing was the influx of new secondary players. Seattle drafted cornerback Shaq Griffin and safety Delani Hill in the third round, safety Tedric Thompson in the fourth, and corner/safety Mike Tyson in the sixth. Griffin, Hill, and Thompson should be able to contribute immediately and the opportunities will certainly be there. The Seahawks had never drafted a cornerback higher than the fourth round under Pete Carroll prior to this, and still they developed players like Richard Sherman, Byron Maxwell, Brandon Browner, and Deshawn Shead into starters; oftentimes, into really good starters. Earl Thomas was the only safety they drafted prior to day three and they helped develop Kam Chancellor into a superstar, and Ron Parker, Walter Thurmond, who went onto better things at other destinations. Now they've got Griffin, Hill, and Thompson, as well as Tyson added to the mix, and I think you could see at least one of them starting from Week 1. Given how quickly their predecessors developed into quality players (Thomas and Sherman from the jump, Kam by year two), I am excited about the possibilities for 2017. I'd also add that the signing of safety/big corner Bradley McDougald has gotten the coaches in Seattle very excited about what's to come next from the Legion of Boom; once Thomas got injured last season, things fell apart for the Seahawks secondary almost immediately. They'll have all the same quality players from last season and even re-signed Shead to a one-year deal after he tore his ACL late last year. Shead could return for the second half of the season and really give them some quality, experienced depth. This is perhaps the most excited I've been for the new guys in the Seattle secondary since Pete arrived in 2010.

Ed: What is the one thing they did not accomplish, or that happened to them, that has you the most concerned?

Kenneth: The obvious and correct answer is that they didn't do much to improve the offensive line, which many considered to be the worst in the NFL last season. They signed Luke Joeckel to a one-year, $8 million deal (again, double-edged sword with that one as he almost certainly would not re-sign if he has a good season) but it might be a stretch to say that he's a significant upgrade at tackle. Even if George Fant was the worst left tackle in the league in 2016, Joeckel has never really been much better than that in his four NFL seasons. If Joeckel takes over at left guard, it's just not as significant of a position and not as big of an upgrade from what the Seahawks suffered through last season. They also signed guard Oday Aboushi, which wouldn't be a move of note if not for the fact that Seattle's line was so bad and any new additions seem like upgrades. Germain Ifedi was generally terrible as a rookie and the only move there has been to move him to right tackle, where he could end up as an even bigger liability. The team drafted center/guard Ethan Pocic in the second round, which could work out long-term but is less likely to help them immediately. Even saying it "could work out long-term" is really wishful thinking given the disappointment in players like Ifedi, James Carpenter, Justin Britt (until he moved to center last year) and John Moffitt. I think the Seahawks' offensive line problems are overrated by fans, but I also don't think they ended up helping themselves much -- though they at least attempted to sign T.J. Lang, so you can't say it was a total lack of effort. The line could get better, but it probably won't be any good.

Ed: Are you optimistic that this will be a good season for the Seahawks or pessimistic that a down year might be coming?

Kenneth: I'm optimistic. I think the Seahawks will be better in 2017 than they were in 2016, simply because I have to assume that Earl Thomas and Russell Wilson will be healthier next season. Neither one of them had any injury issues of note prior to this, and Thomas is a freak of will power who broke his leg, which should just heal normally and not be a thing moving forward like a torn ACL or Achilles would be. Wilson was under a lot of pressure (literally) and a stronger running game thanks to the addition of Lacy could help alleviate the need for the quarterback to do it all. For the most part, all fans have to assume health beyond a reasonable doubt -- If a player is known to have an injury problem, then we can factor it in, but otherwise we should lump most players together in terms of how hurt we think they'll get. Using the Giants as an example, you unfortunately knew that you couldn't count on Victor Cruz to help the team out in the last couple of years, and if he did it was just a bonus. But you also feel comfortable in the belief that Jason Pierre-Paul will be a major contributor because a lost finger is probably not going to hurt his play now that we've seen him already perform without it.

So I think they'll be better because of Wilson's health, Thomas' health, the additions in the secondary, the addition of Malik McDowell in the middle of the defensive line, the fact that Jimmy Graham was completely healthy in 2016 and the team may have a better idea of how to use him, the addition of Lacy and the hope that Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise will contribute (they fall in the Cruz category, unfortunately) to the running game, and the fact that the NFC West looks pretty bad to me outside of the Seahawks. I think the Cardinals will be about a .500 team, while the Rams and 49ers could both be awful. Seattle should be a huge favorite to win the NFC West and may even get a bye week because of that softer schedule, which would put them in the final eight. At that point, I think it's really a dogfight between usually 5-6 of those final eight teams and it's anyone's Super Bowl. I think Seattle is one of the five best teams in football right now, so I'll stick with that and say I'm excited to see how this roster plays together.

Biggest Storyline

The offensive line’s ability to protect Russell Wilson this year. The o-line was the biggest story for all the wrong reasons in 2016, but the additions of Joeckel, Aboushi, and Pocic, plus the hopeful maturation of Germain Ifedi and George Fant, could push it to at least getting out of the cellar. Wilson doesn’t need much to work with to stay on his feet, as he’s one of the most athletic QBs in the league, but he needs more than they gave him last year when he suffered three notable injuries. As Wilson goes, so do the Seahawks. Plus it wouldn’t hurt to open up more lanes for Lacy, Thomas Rawls, and secret superstar C.J. Prosise. — Field Gulls

Under-The-Radar-Storyline

I would keep an eye on the role that newly-signed safety Bradley McDougald plays. The coaches seem very excited about him and the role he’ll play in 2017, so I think there’s reason for optimism that he could become a key player and a fan favorite almost immediately. McDougald flew under the radar during his three-and-change seasons with the Buccaneers and signed a one-year deal in Seattle, but he could be just the type of guy who was bottled up and needs the right system to truly fly. If he does, there’s a good chance the Seahawks won’t be able to keep him and he’ll be one-and-done. — Field Gulls

Final Thoughts

Marshawn Lynch is a Raider. The Seahawks are four years removed from winning a Super Bowl. The Legion of Boom is aging, and replacements are being sought. The Seahawks, though, remain formidable.

They still have one of the best defenses in the league. When it comes to Giants-Seahawks, who isn’t looking forward to Richard Sherman vs. Odell Beckham? Or, Landon Collins trying to show Earl Thomas who is now top dog among NFL safeties?

The Seahawks still have Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham on offense. They added Lacy to help the running game.

This game will come right before the Giants’ bye. How Big Blue stands when it’s done will tell us a great deal about what they will face in the second half of their schedule.