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10 Things to watch for vs. Seahawks

Posted Oct 20, 2017

Ten storylines to follow as the Giants get set for Sunday against the Seahawks: 


1. WEIGHT LIFTED

With the Broncos and Seahawks coming up on the schedule, many had the winless – and nearly receiverless -- Giants pegged for 0-7 at the team’s bye week. Not so fast. The Giants went into Denver and pulled off a dominating 23-10 victory on a primetime stage. The buzzword this week has been “stacking" – as in, it’s time to start stacking the wins. They will try to grab another before the break against the 3-2 Seattle Seahawks.

“It’s great to get the first one,” coach Ben McAdoo said. “Now, we have to start stacking them. But this is pro sports. Not everybody gets a ribbon.”

2. FLY THE COOP

Since Pete Carroll took over as head coach in 2010, the Seahawks are 51-13 at home (.797 winning percentage), including postseason. But in true road games, they are just 30-34-1 (.469). The Giants are 6-3 (.667) all-time at home against Seattle as opposed to 3-5 on the road.


3. DRC REINSTATED; INJURY REPORT

Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was reinstated Tuesday after the 10-year veteran had been suspended since last Thursday for violation of team rules and did not play in Denver. “To be honest, coach called me up and he said some things and I kind of didn’t agree with it and I handled it the wrong way,” Rodgers-Cromartie said. “At the end of the day, that’s on me. So the suspension, I take that. All I can do is try to work back to get in good grace with the guys.”

Meanwhile, here is this week’s injury report for the Giants:

Out: DE Olivier Vernon (ankle), LB Jonathan Casillas (neck), C Weston Richburg (concussion), RB Paul Perkins (rib), LB Calvin Munson (quad)
Questionable: WR Sterling Shepard (ankle), G D.J. Fluker (knee)

For the Seahawks:

Out: DE Cliff Avril (neck), G Luke Joeckel (knee), CB Jeremy Lane (groin)
Questionable: DE Michael Bennett (heel), DT Nazair Jones (knee), RB C.J. Prosise (ankle), DE Marcus Smith (ankle)

4. WHO’S CALLING PLAYS?

Since McAdoo arrived as offensive coordinator in 2014, Eli Manning is third in the NFL with 2,038 pass attempts, trailing only Drew Brees (2,142) and Philip Rivers (2,039). However, only 19 of those came in Week 6 as the Giants ran 32 times for 148 yards. It wasn’t all that surprising, given that the Giants played without four wide receivers – three are lost for the rest of the season – and were going against the No. 1 defense in yards. But it also coincided with current offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan taking over playcalling duties. We’ll see if that continues on Sunday.


5. THE DARKWA KNIGHT

Propelled by Orleans Darkwa’s career-high 117 yards in Denver, the Giants have rushed for 300 yards in the last two weeks, averaging 5.26 yards per carry in that span. And they did so against the No. 1 (Broncos) and No. 31 (Chargers) rush defenses in the league at the time they played. Seattle comes in this week ranked No. 26, allowing 127.2 yards per game on the ground.

6. BACKUPS BOLSTER O-LINE

The Giants trotted out their fifth offensive line combination in six games last week. From left to right, the Giants started Ereck Flowers, John Jerry, Brett Jones, D.J. Fluker and Justin Pugh. Jones has been starting in place of Richburg, who has not played since suffering a concussion in Week 4 at Tampa Bay. Meanwhile, Fluker came off the bench to provide physicality in the run game, evidenced by his key block that sprung Darkwa’s 47-yard scamper last week, the longest by a Giants running back since 2014.

7. ENGRAM EMERGING

Through the first six weeks of the season, NFL rookies have accumulated 8,352 yards from scrimmage and 59 touchdowns, both the most by rookies through Week 6 since 1970. You can attribute a chunk of those numbers to Evan Engram, who leads rookie tight ends with 24 receptions for 282 yards. Rookie running back Wayne Gallman has also chipped in 164 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown.

8. DEFENSIVE SHOWDOWN

After playing the Broncos, the Giants face another championship-caliber defense in the Seahawks, who had their four-year reign as the No. 1 scoring defense snapped last season by New England (the Giants were No. 2; the Seahawks were No. 3). Big Blue hoped to build its own defensive dynasty, but the first five weeks of the follow-up campaign didn’t go as planned.

In Week 6, however, the Giants looked like the team that had such high expectations as Jason Pierre-Paul tied a career-high with three sacks and Janoris Jenkins recorded his sixth career pick-six and also forced a fumble. The Giants also held a team averaging 143 rushing yards per game to just 46.




9. MORE MANNING MILESTONES

Eli Manning needs 320 passing yards to become the seventh quarterback in NFL history to reach 50,000 (Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Dan Marino, John Elway). Manning has averaged 290.7 yards in seven career games against the Seahawks. His highest total against them was a 420-yard performance in a 2011 meeting at MetLife Stadium.

Additionally, Manning is set to play in his 208th regular-season game, which will break a tie with former tight end Howard Cross for second on the Giants’ career list. Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Strahan is first with 216 games played.

10. BYE, BYE, BYE

With a win over the rested Broncos, the Giants improved to 11-7 since 1990 when their opponents are coming off a bye and the Giants are not. On Sunday, they host the Seahawks, who had a bye this past week. The Giants, in turn, go on their break after playing Seattle. Big Blue is 20-8 in games prior to the bye week, which is the second-best record behind – you guessed it – Seattle (23-6).

14. HONORING Y.A.

The Giants are honoring Hall of Fame quarterback Y.A. Tittle by wearing a “14” sticker on the back of their helmet for the rest of the season. Tittle, who spent the final four seasons of his 15-year Hall of Fame career with the Giants, passed away earlier this month at the age of 90. Tittle led the Giants to three consecutive NFL Championship Games (1961-63), and still holds three franchise records he set more than five decades ago: most touchdown passes in a season (36 in 1963), most touchdown passes in a game (seven vs. Washington on Oct. 28, 1962), and most consecutive games with a touchdown pass (15 from 1962-64). He would have turned 91 on Oct. 24.