By Paul Dottino
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EAST RUTHERFORD – The Giants already have gone through an emotional roller coaster this season and are coming off two dramatic come-from-behind victories. So where do they go from here?
The lowly Seattle Seahawks (1-3) are coming to town Sunday and the Giants need to bring their ‘A’ game to the table – if for no other reason than it’s important for Tom Coughlin’s team to establish what they want to be. Sure, there’s a chance their ‘C’ game would be good enough to beat another inferior opponent, but they cannot think that way.
The Giants (3-1) must realize that this is where they have to develop the characteristics necessary to compete with the higher level of competition they will face during the second half of the season, otherwise their three-game winning streak will reveal itself as nothing more than a mirage.
Here are the three key matchups to watch for:
1. Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch vs. Giants linebackers. The Giants have allowed 100-yard rushers in each of the past two games after opening the season with two stellar efforts against the run. Perhaps part of the issue is their heavy reliance on the sub package, but they’ve also gotten sloppy with their tackling. Lynch is a strong runner between the tackles, but has yet to get on track this season. Seattle primarily uses him a two-down runner behind their relatively inexperienced offensive line. The Giants need to shut him down early to put the ball in QB Tavaris Jackson’s hands, forcing him to try to win the game through the air.
2. Giants CB Corey Webster vs. Seahawks WR Sidney Rice. Rice, who has played the past two weeks after coming off a shoulder injury, is Seattle’s lone deep threat. In fact, the Seahawks only have completed two passes of more than 32 yards this season – Doug Baldwin had a 55-yard TD catch on opening day and Rice caught a 52-yard scoring strike last week. Webster may or may not have any safety help on the big-play receiver, who was a teammate of Jackson’s in Minnesota, but he’s got to make sure Rice doesn’t bail out Seattle with a couple of game-changing grabs.
3. Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw vs. Seahawks MLB David Hawthorne. Brandon Jacobs missed the first two days of practice with a swollen knee, so there’s a chance the Giants will heavily lean on Bradshaw against Seattle, which has allowed just 3.2 yards per carry with a long of 21 yards. They’ve got a strong and aggressive defensive front backed by Hawthorne, who became a key player in their scheme after the release of Lofu Tatupu before the season.
PREDICTION: Giants 27, Seahawks 13
PREDICTION RECORD vs. THE SPREAD: 2-2
Giants have this wrapped up, right? Leave a comment below.