EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. The Seahawks’ return from their bye will be on a warm, pleasant October day in the New Jersey Meadowlands.
Sunday here dawned sunny. It is forecast to be 75 degrees for kickoff at 1:25 p.m. Pacific Time for this game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium.
The Seahawks put Cliff Avril on injured reserve Friday and left the Pro Bowl defensive end’s spot on the active roster vacant for this game. So they have 52 on the 53-man roster, meaning six instead of seven players will be inactive for Sunday’s game.
That will include cornerback Jeremy Lane. The Seahawks downgraded their starter in base defense and nickel back from doubtful to out for the game with a strained groin. For the second consecutive game rookie Shaquill Griffin will start at right cornerback and Justin Coleman will be inside at nickel when Seattle uses five defensive backs.
Michael Bennett, the Seahawks’ other Pro Bowl defensive end, is officially listed as questionable with a plantar-fascia injury in his right foot. But he is expected to play. He calls it a pain-management issue he intends to manage, as he did in the second half of the win at the Los Angeles Rams on Oct. 8.
My game-advance story in the Sunday News Tribune leads with the fact the Seahawks will be using their third and fourth versions of their offensive line in this sixth game of the season. That is according to line coach Tom Cable. He says Mark Glowinski and rookie Ethan Pocic will play at left guard for Luke Joeckel.
Joeckel, whom Seattle signed to a one-year contract with $7 million guaranteed in the spring, will miss at least the next four or five games following knee surgery last month.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (3-2) at NEW YORK GIANTS (1-5)
Sunday, 1:25 p.m., MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey
TV: Channel 7 Radio: 710-AM, 97.3-FM
Line: Seahawks by 4.
The series: The Giants lead the series 9-8. New York has lost the last four meetings, including three at home. The Giants last beat Seattle in Pete Carroll’s first season as Seahawks coach, on Nov. 7, 2010, at CenturyLink Field. The last beat Seattle at home on Oct. 5, 2008, at old Giants Stadium across the parking lot from their new place. Eli Manning, then in his fifth season, completed 19 of 25 passes with two touchdowns to rout Matt Hasselbeck’s Seahawks 44-6..
SEATTLE’S KEYS TO VICTORY
Make Eli do it: The Giants’ offensive line has been so bad and their receiving corps so decimated, last week they just ran. And romped. Manning went from the most passes in the league entering to only 19 throws at Denver as New York the Broncos for its first win. Expect the Giants to try that again: a lot of running by Orleans Darkwa. The Seahawks have mostly handled runners this season, Todd Gurley of the Rams being the last. But they have also allowed big runs, by San Francisco’s Carlos Hyde and Tennessee’s Demarco Murray. Shut down Darkwa and the run again Sunday, and the immobile, 36-year-old Manning will have a long day trying to avoid getting pounded by Seattle’s pass rush.
Keep running: Play caller Darrell Bevell says, yes, there are times he wants the Seahawks to keep running the ball out of principle and to keep defenses honest, even if the yards aren’t coming. Those yards haven’t been coming for two years from the running backs. But the Giants are 25th in the NFL against the run. And if Seattle is to get where it wants—home playoff games in mid- and late January—it needs to get Thomas Rawls and Eddie Lacy running consistently. At some point. At least a little bit.
Make yourself at home: The Seahawks are 4-0 in this new Meadowlands stadium. That includes last season’s win over the co-tenant Jets—and of course the smashing of Denver in New Jersey in Super Bowl 48. Same Jersey City hotel team this time. Same result? A fast start to squelch any Giants belief after their uprising last weekend in Denver would go a long way to being 5-0 at MetLife.
The pick: Seahawks, 17-6. Until proven otherwise, this team will continue winning because of its defense making big stops in the red zone and forcing turnovers—and in spite of its offensive line and thus its offense. No touchdowns for the Giants, just like for the 49ers in week two.
No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Year
34 Thomas Rawls RB 5-9 215 third
For the love of Ricky Watters, will Rawls finally breakout into what they think he is? Will any Seattle running back this season?
76 Germain Ifedi RT 6-5 235 second
Slow to block fast edge rushers. And, look out, here comes Jason Pierre-Paul off his right shoulder.
55 Frank Clark DE 6-3 260 third
With Cliff Avril gone indefinitely, Clark gets the every-down job. Can he keep the energy, speed he’s had in his situational roles?
No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Year
99 Jason Pierre-Paul DE 6-5 278 eighth
Three sacks last week at Denver. Every top pass rusher is a top threat to this Seahawks offensive line.
26 Orleans Darkwa RB 5-11 210 fourth
3rd-stringer elevated by injuries. 117-yard night last week, when NY threw it just 19 times. He’ll get it again.
88 Evan Engram TE 6-3 236 rookie
With WRs decimated, he’s now leading active Giants receiver. And you know how tight ends have hurt Seattle in recent years.