The New York Giants have struggled so far to get newly-acquired star TE Darren Waller fully engrained into their game plan. Waller has flashed his tremendous talent through three weeks but has yet to reach the end zone or have a superstar performance that the team knows he is capable of delivering.
In Week 4, the Giants will host the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night and this matchup could finally be the one that allows Waller to have that breakout performance.
Darren Waller shines under bright lights
Throughout his career, Waller has been viewed as an elite playmaker from the tight end position. His rare blend of size and athleticism poses a mismatch for the majority of defensive backs and linebackers across the NFL. But so far this season, Waller has not appeared to be such a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses.
With another primetime matchup coming up for New York, Waller could be in line for a much-needed breakout performance. In three of the past four Monday night games in his career, Waller has managed to reach the end zone.
Waller has also managed 50+ receiving yards in four of his past five Monday Night Football appearances, per Giants.com.
So far this season, Waller has yet to reach the end zone. But if recent history is any indicator, the star tight end could be putting up six points on the board against the Seahawks.
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The Giants need more from Waller
Waller was brought in to be the Giants’ primary receiving threat this season, serving as a de facto No. 1 wide receiver. He’s managed a respectable 12 receptions for 132 yards through three games but has yet to reach the end zone and has not been a dominant force as a receiver.
For a player who has surpassed 1,000 receiving yards in a single season twice in his career, expectations are high for Waller to produce at an elite level. Twice in his career has Waller averaged over 70 receiving yards per game. This season, however, he is averaging only 44.0 receiving yards per game through three games.
The Giants would like Waller to be a big-play threat, stretching the field vertically, while also acting as a security blanket underneath for QB Daniel Jones. This season, he has mostly succeeded as an underneath option, but Big Blue will hope to see Waller turn into more of a playmaker against a formidable Seahawks defense in Week 4.
Why Waller could breakout in Week 4
The Seahawks have allowed 12 catches for 167 yards to tight ends through three games this season, per Giants.com. This includes a five-catch, 63-yard game by Detroit Lions rookie TE Sam LaPorta just last week.
Seattle’s defense should also give New York a few opportunities to make some big plays as well:
No team has allowed more than Seattle’s 17 completions of 20+ yards. On pass attempts of 20 or more yards, Seattle is allowing a passer rating of 145.8, which is the fourth-highest in the NFL.Stat via Giants.com
So far this season, Waller has only been targeted once on a passing attempt 20+ yards downfield. His longest gain on the season is only a 25-yard reception recorded in Week 2. The Giants will hope to see that number increase in Week 4 as they aim to expose a weak Seahawks pass defense and unleash the next level of Waller’s game.