The New York Giants will enter their Week 13 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks with some emotional dissonance.
On the one hand, at 4-7, they sit atop the NFC East, as they own the tiebreaker over the 4-7 Washington Football Team. With just five regular-season games left, they’re in poll position to make the playoffs for the first time since 2016. Even if it’s only due to winning their terrible division, earning a postseason berth would be a major step for a rebuilding team.
On the other hand, they’ll likely have to play without their second-year quarterback Daniel Jones. Jones injured his right hamstring early in the second half of last week’s game in Cincinnati. He was on track for his best statistical performance of the season, and his third consecutive turnover-free game. With Jones’ development on the upswing, and the Giants embarking on a crucial December slate against winning teams, the timing of his injury couldn’t have been worse. According to multiple reports, Jones missed practice Wednesday and Thursday, although he has done some light throwing on the side. The young signal caller is a long shot to play on Sunday. New York is hopeful his absence will last just one week.
Should Jones sit out against Seattle, his replacement will be the eleven-year veteran Colt McCoy. The former Texas Longhorn star has spent the last five years as a backup for Washington. He started just seven games over that span. McCoy looked pretty pedestrian when he was forced into action in Cincinnati, but he should be better after a full week of practice preparing to be the starter. Without Jones, though, New York’s playbook will be shortened. McCoy won’t be able to execute the read options and designed quarterback runs the Giants have been calling recently.
With New York’s offense limited, the onus now falls on the defense to keep Big Blue in this game. Coordinator Patrick Graham’s unit will have its hands full against quarterback Russell Wilson and this dynamic Seattle offense. The Seahawks rank third in points per game, and fifth in total yards per game. D.K. Metcalf, the NFL’s leader in receiving yards, along with fellow wideout Tyler Lockett, gives Seattle an elite downfield passing attack. The Giants have been very good at preventing big plays this season, but the Seahawks will be their toughest test in that department yet.
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The Giants’ defense will be without outside linebacker Kyler Fackrell, who on Tuesday was placed on injured reserve with a calf injury. New York will now be without their top four projected EDGE players from the start of the season. Midseason signing Jabaal Sheard and rookie seventh-round pick Carter Coughlin will likely start at outside linebacker Sunday. That spells trouble for Big Blue’s ability to generate a pass rush on Wilson.
Here’s an overview of everything you need to know ahead of Sunday’s game, followed by a prediction for the final score.
Where and When
Lumen Field in Seattle, Washington on Sunday at 4:05 p.m. EST/1:05 p.m. PST
New York: OLB Kyler Fackrell (Out), RB Devonta Freeman (Out), OLB Cam Brown (Questionable), WR Darius Slayton (Questionable), WR Sterling Shepard (Questionable), QB Daniel Jones (Questionable), ILB David Mayo (Questionable), S Nate Ebner (Questionable)
Seattle: RB Travis Homer (Questionable), RB Carlos Hyde (Questionable), RB Chris Carson (Questionable), OT Brandon Shell (Questionable), OG Jordan Simmons (Questionable), DE Carlos Dunlap (Questionable), CB Tre Flowers (Questionable), OG Damien Lewis (Questionable), C Kyle Fuller (Questionable)
Most Concerning Matchup: WR Tyler Lockett vs. CB Isaac Yiadom
Yiadom has been much improved since his return to the starting lineup in Week 8, but he’s still the weak link in an otherwise strong Big Blue secondary. Against Seattle, holding their star receivers in check will be paramount, so pressure is on Yiadom to have his best game of the season. Top corner James Bradberry should be matched up with Metcalf most of the game, which means Yiadom’s main assignment will be Lockett.
Lockett is a shifty, agile route runner. He’ll be a diffucult cover for the bigger, more physical Yiadom. New York will definitely run plenty of zone to mitigate his one-on-one coverage deficiencies. Still, there will be times when Yiadom will have to man up Lockett. He’ll need to use his length to disrupt Lockett’s releases at the line of scrimmage. If not, it could be a long day for the ex-Denver Bronco.
Most Promising Matchup: TE Evan Engram vs. SS Jamal Adams
Engram has been disparaged by Giants fans this season for some critical dropped passes, but he’s starting to resemble the dynamic playmaker New York envisioned when they drafted him in 2017. The tight end is coming off his season-best output of 129 receiving yards against Cincinnati. The Giants have finally begun targeting him on the vertical routes his speed and size has always called for
It might seem strange to point out Adams, arguably Seattle’s best defender, as someone to exploit, but he can be taken advantage of in coverage. The former New York Jet is a tremendous blitzer and run stopper, but playing tight ends one on one in space is not his strength. If the Giants can find a way to isolate Engram on Adams, especially on playaction given Adams’ eagerness to play downhill, they might be able to manufacture some explosive passing plays.
Keys to Victory
The Giants will be at a pretty big talent deficit against the Seahawks. They have to make sure they play almost flawlessly on the margins. If they hold penalties to a minimum, control the ball for as long as possible, and avoid turnovers, they’ll at least keep themselves in the game.
For as great as Wilson is, he’s hardly allergic to giving the ball away. Wilson is tied for fifth in the NFL with 10 interceptions. A couple takeaways converted into points could be enough for Big Blue to steal a low-scoring affair.
Final Score Prediction: Seahawks 26 – Giants 20
The Giants have a way of keeping games close, but they simply won’t have the firepower to keep pace with the high-octane Seahawks. Big Blue’s defense will be stingy enough to keep Seattle out of the endzone for stretches. Wilson is just too good to be held to a score in the low twenties. Unfortunately, with McCoy at the helm of an already meager New York offense, that’s what it will take to pull off the upset.