I had the opportunity to exchange with Keith over at FanSided’s Seattle Seahawks blog 12th Man Rising.
Here are the questions Keith had for GMENHQ about Sunday’s game:
1) Osi and Tuck seem to be the keys to making this defense work. If either don’t play or are limited because of their injuries, how can the Giants still create pressure on Tarvaris Jackson?
Two of the best veteran tandem pass rushers in the NFL — you’re darn right it effects pressure from the front 4 if they play or not. And not getting that pressure really stresses out the secondary for the Giants or any team that relies heavily on Cover 2 fundamentals. Now, I think Osi will probably play, Tuck might be inclined to rest until after the bye week. He’s day to day right now. That said — both JPP and Dave Tollefson have done a fine job filling in respectively. Will it be a 10 sack game? No, but the Giants will nip off a few sacks here and there and get enough pressure to be competitive for 60 minutes on the defensive side of the ball. LB Mathias Kiwanuka and Michael Boley also are fantastic pass rushers — if the Giants bring 5 with A gap in mind that’s who you will see there. And off the edges S Antrel Rolle and CB Aaron Ross have been known to cause a lot of problems for opposing QB’s.
More after the jump
2) The Giants are currently ranked just 24th in running the ball. What has been the problem so far in the running game, and is it fixable this season?
I think the offensive line has not been the caliber of run blocking we’re accustomed to seeing from the Giants. Losing a veteran LB and C has not been as smooth a transition as you’d like to see. There have been glimpses of greatness from the group, no consistency. A few more weeks with time to gel might make all the difference — but then again injuries are starting to crop up along that unit too for the GMEN with C Dave Baas injuring his neck. Time will tell… but the other difference this season has been the Giants finishing their games through the 4th quarter primarily relying on the air attack. Eli Manning has been outstanding, the best in the NFL in fact during the 4th quarter. So this could be the first bona fide season Eli has in outperforming the Giants run game and winning games for the Giants by making good solid decisions through the air, not on the ground.
3) After throwing 25 interceptions a year ago, Eli is on pace to throw half that many (12) this season. What do you think has lead to the improvement in the Eli’s ability to protect the football?
Better decisions, for one. Not throwing as much into double coverage and relying on the check downs and designed screens and out passes that OC Kevin Gilbride had installed in the offense but Manning for whatever reason never truly utilized last year. They did in 2009, they are this year – and as you point out it’s a world of difference in the outcome. The second thing is better execution… and with that it’s perhaps best to say a combination of slightly better throws to receivers who aren’t tipping the ball up into the heart of the defensive secondary. Bad run of luck last year with that, not so much this year. And Eli has been a bit more accurate on a consistent basis — especially in the 4th quarter. He has thrown a couple of bullets over the top that were right on the money PERFECT passes that you just knew he had in him. Last year his inaccurate throws and the recievers tipped balls compounded mistakes early in the game, and then when Eli settled down he then had good games. This year there is a conscious effort to stay out of trouble and ease into games and then coming on strong the second half of the game and it’s been a winning recipe for the Giants in 2011 so far.
4) Complete this sentance: The Seahawks win the game if…
The Giants don’t show up Sunday. If the Giants show up to their home stadium Sunday ready to play, prepared to play for 60 minutes of football, they win. From soup to nuts the NY Giants have a very talented team that CAN legitimately go deep into the playoffs. If they show up prepared and ready to go, they advance to 4-1 and still division leaders atop the early playoff race. Now if only the Eagles would lose again Sunday….
5) What’s a young player that Seahawks fans might not know of yet that could have an impact on this game?
LB Jacquain Williams. A speedy, tenacious tackler that has been an outstanding edition to this Giants front 7. He can clamp down on the run, has been good in pass defense, has been good period. He grew up with JPP, played ball with him — and these guys are freakishly good athletes. The Giants found another diamond in the rough this draft year during the 6th round.
6) How do you see the game going? Predict the final score.
I see the Giants getting off to a slow start, establishing they can run the ball, and then get into a groove with play action passes and their more deceptive offense hitting some deep passes down the field. I think the Giants will control the middle and end of the game and win convincingly at home with Eli hitting 25/35 and 250 yards with 2 TDs, Ahmad Bradshaw goes for 90 yards and a TD. Good but not great — strong enough to win decisively.
Defensively I look for the front 7 to give Tarvaris Jackson a heck of a time, not necessarily getting a ton of sacks but being around him and being in his face for much of the game. The Giants will look for their interior line to get that central push to collapse the pocket and allow JPP, Tolly, and Osi to do their thing on the outside. I see the Giants taking “extraordinary” efforts to stop the run this week. At best, the Giants should allow 50 yards on the ground if they can get back to being the brick wall we’ve come to know them with their run defense over the years. Speaking of brick walls, the Giants goal line defense needs to get prideful at home this week — I look to them for holding Seattle to nothing more than a late game TD and field goals all afternoon.
Final Score – Giants 31, Seahawks 16