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Keys to Victory

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Keys to Victory: 11 hats to the ball; finish drives


The New York Giants are putting the "national" in the National Football League.

They will play on the big stage for the third time in the first four weeks of the season when the Seattle Seahawks (2-1) come to MetLife Stadium on Monday night. The Giants (1-2) hope the nation will see a victory for the home team this time. They opened the season with a 40-0 loss to Dallas on Sunday Night Football and a 30-12 defeat last Thursday at San Francisco. In between, came Arizona and the greatest comeback in Giants history since 1949.

Needless to say, it has been a roller coaster, but coach Brian Daboll has stressed to his team not to take the ride and instead focus on the process over results. Here are three keys for the Giants to get on track and climb back to the .500 mark after the first quasi-quarter of the season:

11 hats to the ball

Kenneth Walker III is coming off a career-high 167 yards from scrimmage against the Rams, including his fifth career game with two rushing touchdowns (second-most in NFL since 2022). Rookie Zach Charbonnet gives the Seahawks a strong one-two punch in the backfield.

"As a defense, it's hard to be good in all phases of defense when you are allowing them to run the ball," defensive lineman Leonard Williams said. "We always talk about trying to make them play one-handed or something like that. What we mean by that is stopping the run. If you allow them to run, then you are allowing them to play their whole offense against you at any time, if you know what I mean. If you stop the run, it makes them have to pass the ball sometimes when they don't want to, and I think that's important for us. We'll have more sack opportunities that way, we'll have more takeaway opportunities that way and I think it all starts with stopping the run on defense."

Meanwhile, quarterback Geno Smith, the 2022 NFL Comeback Player of the Year, is surrounded by playmakers.

"(Smith is a) quarterback that's very comfortable in his system, makes good decisions, gets involved with his playmakers, which he's got a bunch of them," Daboll said in his weekly exclusive with "Walker is a heck of a runner and makes some guys miss, runs through some guys. Charbonnet, the rookie from UCLA who's done a good job, and then you get the two old hats there with (DK) Metcalf and (Tyler) Lockett, who are always a challenge and who can really attack all levels of the field. And then the young rookie from Ohio State in Jaxon (Smith-Njigba). Geno does a good job of distributing the ball, making good decisions and looks very comfortable in coach (offensive coordinator Shane) Waldron's offense."

Don't dig an early hole

One way to stop the run is not letting the other team dictate the play selection. Giants fans are well aware of the following stat by now. Their team has been outscored 63-6 in the first half this season, the worst differential in the NFL by 16 points; and it has opened the door for opponents to run the ball on 50.8 percent of their plays, the most against any team in the league (NFL average is 41.7 percent).

'Sustain the execution'

The Seahawks' defense has allowed 49 plays of 10+ yards, tied with the Chargers for the most in the NFL through three weeks. That should widen the eyes of the Giants, who have struggled to finish drives outside of two wild quarters in the desert.

"I think we've got to sustain the execution," said Daniel Jones, who repeated those words a half-dozen times during his weekly session with he media. "We've got to have sustained drives and finish in the end zone. Got to take advantage of our opportunities to do that and we'll certainly look to."

But reinforcements are coming for Seattle.

Safety Jamal Adams, who has missed 24 of the Seahawks' last 25 games because of quadriceps and knee injuries, is set to make his 2023 debut. Adams spent his first three seasons playing home games at MetLife Stadium with the Jets, earning two Pro Bowl selections and a first-team All-Pro nod.

"Jamal is a hell of a player," Daboll said. "He's coming back from his injury from last season, plays down in the box - we could see him down in the box at a nickel position, you could see him at safety. Look, they've got three good guys that can probably play multiple spots, but he's a heck of a player, a tough good tackler. We anticipate seeing a bunch of him."

View photos of the Giants on the practice field ahead of the Week 4 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks.

Notes & stats to impress your fellow football fans

◾ Daniel Jones is 8-1-1 in his last 10 games following a regular-season loss.

◾ Dating back to their first meeting in 1976, the all-time series between the Giants and Seahawks is tied 10-10. Fittingly, they have split their two most recent meetings in 2020 and '22.

◾ Tight end Darren Waller has a touchdown catch in three of his past four Monday games.

◾ The Seahawks are 5-0 at MetLife Stadium since it opened in 2010 (three vs. Giants, one vs. Jets, and one vs. Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII).

◾ The last Giants running back with 100+ rush yards in a game other than Saquon Barkley was Wayne Gallman (135) vs. Seattle in Week 13, 2020.

◾ Linebacker Micah McFadden's five tackles for loss are tied for second-most in the NFL entering Week 4 (Minnesota's Danielle Hunter has seven).

◾ Last week, Graham Gano tied the Giants' franchise record – which he shares – by kicking a 57-yard field goal. It was the third 57-yard field goal in Giants history. Aldrick Rosas kicked the first, against Chicago in MetLife Stadium on Dec. 2, 2018. Gano matched him last Thanksgiving Day in Dallas. In his four seasons with the Giants, Gano has kicked 21 field goals of 50+ yards. That is 12 more than the franchise runner-up, Joe Danelo, who had nine from 1976-82.

◾ On November 7, 2010, the Giants defeated the Seahawks, 41-7, in what was Seattle's worst loss at Lumen Field at the time (still ranks second behind Rams' 42-7 victory in 2017).

◾ The Giants are hosting two Monday night games in the same season for the second time in the 54-year history of Monday Night Football (vs. Green Bay in Week 11).

View rare photos of the all-time history between the New York Giants and Seattle Seahawks.


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