Overcoming the Seattle Seahawks will be a significant challenge for the New York Giants, but I wouldn’t guarantee a loss for Big Blue just yet. The Seahawks had some problems with the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night, eventually winning 23-17. The Philadelphia defense kept Russell Wilson in check, allowing 230 yards and one touchdown through the air and just 76 yards on the ground.
The Giants have a notoriously better unit, ranking 10th in points allowed per game and 5th in rushing yards per game. Their secondary has increasingly gotten better, too, making a jump from 27th in passing yards per game to 19th the past three weeks.
Overall, it is clear that the Giants have a better team than the Eagles at this point in the season, and considering the Seahawks just barely squeaked out a 5 point win, I believe the Giants and Joe Judge have a fighting chance against Seattle.
Nonetheless, losing quarterback Daniel Jones to a right hamstring pull this past weekend against Cincinnati is problematic. It will force back-up quarterback Colt McCoy to take the reins, and it will be difficult for the Giants’ offense to game momentum without Jones and his legs.
However, let’s take a look at some of the weaknesses the Seahawks have and how the Giants might be able to exploit them.
Can the New York Giants exploit the Seahawks’ weaknesses?
1.) Poor secondary
The Seahawks have the worst secondary in the NFL, allowing 328.8 yards per game on average. That’s a separation of more than 30 from the 31st ranked team, the Atlanta Falcons.
They allow the 26th most points on a weekly basis, at 27.6, but the Giants offense ranks among the worst in points for every week. They have slowly been climbing the ladder but only average 19.5 points per week. The defense is their saving grace, holding it down and keeping them in close contests.
In coverage, Seattle has Quinton Dunbar, Tre Flowers, and Shaquill Griffin as their primary options. Griffin has been their best corner this year, playing in only seven games. He has been inconsistent at times in coverage but has been solid in run defense.
Dunbar has been awful in coverage for the most part, with his last game coming in week nine against Buffalo. He hasn’t played since, and I imagine he won’t be available against the Giants.
Flowers has hovered in the average category the past few weeks, not allowing over 56 yards since week four against Miami. He’s actually been decent in coverage but could be at a disadvantage against Darius Slayton, who can outrun him on streak routes.
I expect Griffin to line up against Sterling Shepard and Flowers against Tate and Slayton, mostly on the outside receiver. The Giants should be taking shots downfield, but Colt McCoy’s arm could significantly restrict their play-calling.
The Seahawks have a solid slot corner in Ugo Amadi, so focusing on the outside options and trips with Evan Engram on the inside slot should be a priority.
2.) Make them rush the passer
When it comes to rushing the passer, the Seattle Seahawks rank 26th in overall pressure grades, per PFF. With Carlos Dunlap and Benson Mayowa acting as their primary two pass rushers, the Giants should hold an advantage.
Dunlap has seven sacks on the year, leading the team in pass rush success rate. If they can chip him and take him out of the contest, Colt McCoy should have plenty of time in the pocket to make throws down field and wait for his receivers to get open. The offensive line must have a fantastic outing, but the Giants must be aware of interior defender Jarran Reed, who also has six sacks on the season.
It is clear the Giants must have a solid game in the trenches if they want to keep this contest close, as Seattle has two solid pass rushers at their disposal.
3.) Attack the right guard position
Seattle’s offensive line has played above expectations this year, but their right guard is the one weakness. I expect to see Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence attacking that position routinely to collapse the pocket.
Seattle has rookie guard from LSU Damien Lewis manning the position, and he has a 54.5 past blocking grade this year, making him the weakest link. He is a stellar run blocker, though, so this is a good matchup for the Giants, and their pass rush heavy interior defensive line.