Giants Strap Up for Defensive Battle in East Rutherford
To say the New York Giants have underperformed this season would be like saying water is wet. It’s obvious, but do they still have a shot? No team in the history of the NFL has ever started 0-5 and made the playoffs. However, there have been playoff teams in the past who have had a 5+ game losing streak and still made the playoffs. The Carolina Panthers lost six games in a row in 2014, but still managed to win the NFC South with a 7-8-1 record. The Packers and the Seahawks have also done something very similar to that.
Now, just because other teams have bounced back from losing streaks does not mean the Giants will do the same. Their top FOUR wide receivers are all out for this week, three of them out for the season. (OBJ, Marshall, Harris) Sterling Shepard is expected to return over the next couple of weeks. Eli Manning will now have a young group of receivers to spread the ball around to, including Tavarres King, Travis Rudolph, and Roger Lewis Jr. However, Manning will have his main focus on rookie Tight End Evan Engram. Last week, Engram racked up 82 yards on 5 receptions and a touchdown. Engram could have finished with more, but the Giants stayed loyal to their run game, and it worked. Engram is Manning’s #1 target, so keep an eye out for him on Sunday.
In order for the offense to have any type of success, the Giants will have to have success running the football. With their receiving core revolving around a rookie tight end, they have to establish the run game so they will not have to rely on their struggling pass game.
The running game of any football team comes down to the offensive line. Through the first five weeks of the season, the Giants offense – especially their offensive line, looked atrocious. In week 6, Ben McAdoo surrendered the play calling and offense management to his offensive coordinator, Mike Sullivan. This seemed to work wonders for the team. They racked up 148 rushing yards, including 117 from Orleans Darkwa. This was huge for the Giants run game, especially against such a strong Denver defense.
After last week, it looks like the Giants have finally figured out their offensive line order. They moved Justin Pugh to right tackle, and he did a fantastic job in limiting Von Miller the whole game. They shifted around multiple linemen and seem to have finally found a rhythm protection wise. A huge key for the Giants in their game against Seattle is to establish the run early, and this will open up many opportunities for Eli to fake a run and take a shot at Evan Engram.
On defense, the Giants looked much better last Sunday, even with the absence of DRC, Olivier Vernon, and Jonathan Casillas. It may have been a mixture of good defense and bad offensive decisions, but nonetheless, they looked solid. The Giants forced 3 turnovers, which were huge turning points in the game. They hope to take this style of play into Sunday afternoon.
The Seattle Seahawks are coming off a bye week and look to extend their momentum at MetLife Stadium. At 3-2, the Seahawks have been relying on their defense for a majority of the year. In week 5, the Seahawks shut down a good Rams offense, while forcing five turnovers. Their long time success will come down to how long the defense can carry the team on their back.
Their offense struggled again for the Seahawks in week 5, as it has seemed to all year long. Again this weekthey will have to shuffle around their weak offensive line in hopes they hold on long enough to protect their QB. It will be a tough task for them, as the Giants defensive line is no pushover.
The Giants sit at 1-5, but they did seem to make the necessary adjustments last week to beat a very good Denver Broncos team. The Seattle Seahawks are a very similar team as Denver, they struggle on offense and dominate on defense. I predict the Giants will take a similar style of play into this week, and upset yet another dominant defense.