The Giants face the Seahawks on Monday Night Football. Seattle is dealing with injuries, so without knowing who is going to play on Monday night, formulating key matchups at certain positions is difficult.
For example, the Giants finding their pass rush against a banged up Seahawks offensive line will be critical on Monday night, but at this time we still don't know if left tackle Charles Cross or guards Phil Haynes and Damien Lewis will play.
Likewise, the Seahawks' pass defense has allowed a lot of big plays that Giants wide receivers may be able to take advantage of, but there's a chance that safety Jamaal Adams along with cornerbacks Tariq Woolen and Coby Bryant will return from injury this week.
There are too many questions at these spots, so instead lets focus on two spots where there is some certainty:
Giants rush defense vs. Kenneth Walker III and Zach Charbonnet
The good Seahawks teams under Pete Carroll have shared a common characteristic: they want to run the football consistently. After drafting Kenneth Walker III in the second round in 2022, Seattle doubled down with second-round pick Zach Charbonnet this year. Walker is an explosive runner who often bounces away from a play's designed direction to find big gains, while Charbonnet is more of a powerful downhill back who will get tough yards. Charbonnet has rushed 16 times for 73 yards.
Walker has only one run of 20+ yards, but according to PFF, he is tied for sixth in the NFL in missed tackles forced per rush attempt (0.3). He is also tied for 17th in the NFL with 3.1 yards after contact per attempt. He is difficult to bring down in the open field, and once he hits space he is difficult to catch with his 4.38 time in the 40. With his tendency to bounce runs outside, the defense will have to be very disciplined on the edges to contain him trying to get to the sideline.
The Giants' defense is allowing the 138 rushing yards per game, which is the fourth-most in the NFL. The 13 rushes allowed of of 10+ yards is tied for 27th and four rushes of 20+ is tied for 29th. According to PFF, the Giants have 17 missed tackles on run plays, which is tied for fifth-most and no team has had a higher percentage of rush plays run against them than the Giants (50.8%).
The Giants have especially struggled to stop the run early in games this season. In first halves of games, the Giants are allowing a -.04 EPA (ninth-worst) and 56.3% success rate (12th -worst) on running plays. A whopping 32% of opponent rushes have resulted in first downs in the first halves of their games, which is the fifth-worst rate in the league.
View rare photos of the all-time history between the New York Giants and Seattle Seahawks.
Darren Waller vs. Seahawks pass defense
They Seahawks have dealt with a ton of injuries in the secondary - neither safety Jamaal Adams nor cornerback Riq Woolen have played in a game. Second-year cornerback Coby Bryant missed last week's game. It might have something to do with why the Seahawks have allowed the second-most passing yards per game (328) and the fifth-most passing yards per play (7.51) in the NFL. The advanced statistics are not kinder to their pass defense, ranking fifth-worst in EPA allowed per dropback and success rate.
No team has allowed more than Seattle's 17 completions of 20+ yards. On pass attempts of 20 or more yards, Seattle is allowing a passer rating of 145.8, which is the fourth-highest in the NFL.
There should be opportunities for Darren Waller to be productive and make some big plays in the middle of the field. The Seahawks have allowed 12 catches for 167 yards to tight ends through three games this season, including a five-catch, 63-yard game by rookie Sam LaPorta in Week 3. The middle of the field should be manned by three veteran defenders: middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, and safeties Quandre Diggs and former Giant Julian Love.
The Seahawks use some form of Cover-3 (three deep coverage) a bit less than 50% of their defensive snaps, which is fifth-highest rate in the NFL. If the Giants can protect long enough Waller should be open on some of those deep over routes between the two levels of the defense.
This season, the Seahawks have a 34.7% pressure rate (18th in the league) according to PFF. They have a middling blitz rate (17th, 30.5%) but use stunts often (34% of plays – fifth-highest). The Giants' young offensive line will have to communicate well to keep Daniel Jones clean and give him time to make those deep throws down the field.
There is a chance that a shootout could breakout on Monday night at MetLife Stadium with two offenses that have speed to make big plays, and two defenses that have had trouble slowing down explosive offenses.