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Film Study

Film Study: Giants vs. Seahawks Scouting Report

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The Giants visit the Seahawks (8-3), who sit in first place in the NFC West, on Sunday. They are a perfect 5-0 at home this season. (All advanced stats are via Pro Football Focus unless otherwise noted.)

When Seattle Has The Ball…

* The Seahawks have one of the best offenses in football. They rank third in scoring (31 points per game) and fifth in yards per game (391) and play (6.11). They are the second-best scoring team in the red zone (75%). Seattle has scored fewer than 23 points only once this season, and they've scored 34 or more points in six of their eleven games. They average 35 points per game at home.

* Seattle has struggled in third-and-long situations, which has skewed their overall numbers. On third down and more than six yards, they are only converting 19.3% of their chances, which is the second-worst success rate in the NFL. They are more successful on third and 4-6 yards (ninth at 51.9 percent) and third and short (less than four yards), when they are tied for 18th at 60 percent.

* Russell Wilson is a candidate for NFL MVP. He is third in the NFL in passing yards, fifth in average yards per attempt, second in passing touchdowns, seventh in ESPN's QBR metric and fourth in NFL quarterback rating. He throws one of the most accurate deep balls in the league, featuring a high arc to drop the ball in over opposing defensive backs. The Seahawks have 35 completions of 20 or more yards this year, which is tied for 14th-most in the NFL. His 10 completions of 40+ yards ranks second in the league behind Aaron Rodgers. On passes that travel more than 20 yards in the air, Wilson has a 101.3 quarterback rating, which ranks 13th-best in the NFL. Wilson has an uncharacteristic 10 interceptions, including three on deep throws. Wilson ranks fourth in throw accuracy among quarterbacks with at least 100 attempts, with 64.8 percent of his passes being on target.

* Wilson has been pressured on 36 percent of his snaps, which is the seventh-h highest rate in the NFL. Seattle has also allowed the sixth-highest sack rate in the league (7.3 percent) despite Wilson's ability to escape and create more time with his legs. Wilson holds the ball longer than most quarterbacks due to his ability to scramble. His 2.99-second average time to throw is the fifth-highest in the league, behind only other scrambling quarterbacks Deshaun Watson, Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield. It Is difficult to blitz Russell Wilson, who has a 107 quarterback rating when blitzed, which ranks eighth.

* The Seahawks offensive tackles have played well this year. Duane Brown is a potential Pro Bowl candidate at left tackle, and has allowed one sack, five quarterback hits and 16 quarterback hurries this season. Brandon Shell has been nearly as good at right tackle, allowing only three sacks, five quarterback hits, and 12 quarterback hurries. Shell missed practice earlier in the week with an ankle injury. 2020 third-round pick Damien Lewis starts at left guard, with veteran Mike Iupati manning right guard. Ethan Pocic is their center. The best way to get to Russell Wilson is by rushing up the middle, which is the Giants' strength. 

*Only Arizona and Philadelphia use more "12" personnel than the Seahawks, who use two tight ends on nearly 30% of their snaps. Greg Olsen was their primary tight end until he suffered a plantar fascia injury a couple of weeks ago. Will Dissly and Jacob Hollister are now Russell Wilson's two primary tight ends.

* Chris Caron returned from a Week 6 foot injury to rush eight times for 41 yards. He only played 25 snaps, while Carlos Hyde played 41. Hyde ran 15 times for 22 yards. Both players are downhill runners that play with a lot of power. Carson breaks a lot of tackles. He averages 3.5 yards after contact per rushing attempt, which is tied for the sixth-best in the league amongst running backs. Seattle runs the ball less frequently than only three other teams (36 percent of the time), but in the last two weeks Seattle has run the ball 31 and 30 times.

* The Seahawks run play action on 26 percent of their passes, which is about league average. Wilson is the second highest rated passer on play action passes this season, completing 80-of-108 for 942 yards, 10 touchdowns, and three interceptions.

* Seattle is one of the most productive first down teams in the league, averaging 6.2 yards, which ranks seventh in the NFL. The Seahawks run it only 47 percent of the time on first down, but they are very efficient when they do. They run for four or more yards on just over 50 percent of their first down runs, which is the fifth-best rate in the NFL.

* The Seahawks have one of the best pairs of wide receivers in the NFL. DK Metcalf leads the NFL in receiving yards with 1039. He is tied for fifth with nine receiving touchdowns, and is tied for the second most catches of 20 or more yards with 16. He is 6-4 and 230 pounds and one of the most physically imposing receivers in the NFL. He has the long speed to win over the top and the size to win on contested catches. His strength has also allowed him to force 15 missed tackles. His only flaw, if it can even be considered one, is his ability to change direction at the top of his routes.

* Despite all those accolades for Metcalf, Tyler Lockett leads the Seahawks (and is 10th in the league) with 70 receptions and has eight receiving touchdowns. Lockett is only 5-10 and 182 pounds, but he has the speed to win over the top and is an excellent route runner to gain separation in the middle of the field. He is also a very difficult coverage man-on-man. David Moore is an effective man-to-man defender.

Keys for the Giants' defense

1.    Prevent big plays

2.    Pressure Russell Wilson while keeping him contained in the pocket

3.    Slow down Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde on early downs

When the Giants have the ball…

* The Seahawks overall defensive numbers this year are poor. They rank last in the NFL in both total yards (418.1) and pass yards (328.8) allowed per game. They're allowing opponents to convert 49% of their third downs, which is the fourth-worst mark in the league. They've also struggled keeping teams out of the end one, allowing opponents to score touchdowns on 67.4% of their red zone opportunities (25th in the NFL). They've allowed the seventh-most points per game in the NFL.

* Despite those poor overall numbers, Seattle's defensive performance has improved in their last three games. They've held their opponents (Rams, Cardinals and Eagles) to 23 points or fewer, and to an average of only 318 yards per game. The improvement coincides with the return of safety Jamaal Adams from injury and the acquisition of defensive end Carlos Dunlap from the Bengals. The Seahawks have 19 sacks in their past four games, after having only 12 in their first seven. Dunlap suffered a foot injury in the Seahawks win against the Eagles on Monday night, and he missed practice this week.

* The Seahawks rush defense is one of the best in the league, holding opponents to only 89 rushing yards per game and 3.28 yards per play, which are both third-best in the NFL. Defensive tackles Jarran Reed and Poona Ford are stout at defensive tackle, while linebackers Bobby Wagner, KJ Wright and Jordyn Brooks is one of the best starting units in the league.

* There is nothing that middle linebacker Bobby Wagner doesn't do well. He leads the team in tackles with 101, and also has three sacks, six passes defended, 10 quarterback hits and six tackles for loss. He will likely be an All-Pro for the sixth time this season. KJ Wright is their other three-down linebacker and his performance is not far from Wagner. He is excellent in coverage with seven passes defended to go with two sacks and seven tackles for loss.

* Seattle's pass rush is a team effort, with 13 different players getting a sack so far this year. Carlos Dunlap has been very effective in his four games, with 3.5 sacks, five quarterback hits, and six hurries. Their other edge snaps on passing downs are split between Benson Mayowa and Alton Robinson. LJ Collier is a versatile defensive linemen that will get moved around the front, playing both inside and outside. Seattle has 31 sacks, which is tied for seventh-most in the NFL.

* The Seahawks best pass rusher might be safety Jamaal Adams. He leads the team in sacks with 6.5, is tied with Bobby Wagner with six quarterback hits, and is fourth on the team with 12 quarterback hurries. He has done all of that despite missing four games due to a groin injury. He will be asked to blitz the quarterback an average of 11 times per game.

* The Seahawks have the eighth highest blitz rate in the league, sending extra defenders after the quarterback on 38% of their defensive snaps against the pass. Despite a heavy blitz package, they only pressure the quarterback on 25.8% of their passes, which is the fourth-lowest rate in the league. Since the acquisition of Dunlap and Adams' return from injury, their pressure rate has jumped to 32%, which is the 21st-best rate in the NFL.

* Seattle has been susceptible to the big play this season. Only one team has allowed more passes than Seattle's 45 of 20 or more yards. No team has allowed more overall plays of 10 or more yards than Seattle's 192. Those numbers have not markedly improved in the team's last four games.

* Seattle is one of the few teams that play "Cover 1" (man-to-man with a single-high safety) less frequently than the Giants, using it only 12% of the time. They are still primarily a "Cover 3" team (three-deep zone), with only two teams running that scheme more frequently than they do (40.7% of the time).

* Tre Flowers and Shaquill Griffin are Seattle's two starting outside cornerbacks. Ugo Amadi is their slot cornerback. Their cornerbacks have had intermittent struggles sticking close to opposing wide receivers. Griffin returned from a four week absence with a hamstring injury in Week 12, while Amadi is in his fourth week back from a hamstring injury of his own. Adams plays the safety position closest to the line of scrimmage and is extremely active. Quandre Diggs is their starting free safety.

Keys for the Giants' offense

  1. Make chunk plays over the top on early downs
  2. Pick up Seattle's blitzes successfully
  3. Stay out of third and long situations

View photos of the history between the New York Giants and Seattle Seahawks ahead of the Week 13 matchup.

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