By Curt Macysyn
The New York Football Giants were eliminated from the NFL playoffs last week after losing to the San Diego Chargers. While New York is now playing for pride, the visiting Seattle Seahawks come to the Big Apple looking to solidify their status as the top seed in the NFC playoffs. While both teams will be missing a key performer on defense, the Seahawks and Giants are relatively healthy for a mid-December contest.
Seattle will be auditioning for a return trip to MetLife Stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII, while individually the Giants will be auditioning for a spot on New York’s 2014 roster.
New York Giants
It was not surprising that the New York Giants placed veteran running back Brandon Jacobs on injured reserve this week, as the veteran running back had been battling knee and hamstring injuries since his 106-yard rushing outburst against the Chicago Bears in October.
After suiting up against the Cowboys on November 24th, Jacobs missed the past two games nursing his injuries and conceded last week that his knee would need to be “cleaned out” in the off-season. Jacobs’ final appearance in 2013 was a memorable 75-yard effort against the Dallas Cowboys that included a 37-yard dash, his longest of the season.
Statistically, Jacobs had four touchdown runs this year and was productive in short yardage situations. More than anything, however, Jacobs provided veteran leadership and enthusiasm to a team that desperately needed both.
Peyton Hillis has provided decent production as starter Andre Brown’s backup. Hillis has two rushing touchdowns and 10 receptions out of the backfield. At the very least, Hillis has likely earned himself an invitation to Giants training camp next year.
Jason Pierre-Paul emphasized this week that he is not ready to shut down his season, despite the fact that he has missed the past two games with a right shoulder injury. JPP has also indicated that he will not need off-season surgery to repair damage in the shoulder. This week he will miss his third straight contest with the same shoulder problem.
In Pierre-Paul’s absence, rookie Damontre Moore received 15 snaps against San Diego last week but did not record a statistic. Perhaps, New York will dust off Markus Kuhn, back from knee surgery, to line up in the interior and take a longer look at Cullen Jenkins on the outside at defensive end. Jenkins was limited himself in practice this week with shin and quad injuries. Veteran Mathias Kiwanuka replaces JPP in the formal starting line-up at right defensive end.
Cornerback Terrell Thomas shows up on the injury report each week as he continues to take maintenance days, so as to not overtax his thrice-injured knee. Thomas will end up playing this week, but he did not seem to have the same burst against the Chargers as he had earlier in the season.
The perplexing status of cornerback Corey Webster continues this week, as the Giants formally list him on the injury report with an ankle injury. As the season winds down, the fact that Webster has not been placed on injured reserve seems strange. He also will not play against Seattle.
Rookie safety Cooper Taylor has also endured an injury-riddled campaign. Taylor pulled a hamstring muscle last week against the Chargers and was ruled out of Sunday’s contest against Seattle.
Despite playing in outer northwest reaches of the United States, the Seattle Seahawks have many well known players, but linebacker K.J. Wright is not one of them. Not that he should not be, as many consider the third-year man from Mississippi State to be Seattle’s best linebacker. Wright broke a bone in his foot in the loss to the San Francisco 49ers last week and underwent surgery on Wednesday.
The team holds out hope that Wright will be available to them in the playoffs and will miss his 80 tackles and two interceptions. In his absence, Malcolm Smith, who played for Seattle head coach Pete Carroll at USC, performed well at the weakside linebacker position, and Smith will be the starter this week against the Giants.
Carroll also thought the reserve cornerback Brandon Browner would be able to practice this week, but he has not been able to, and will miss the Giants game. Reserve linebacker Mike Morgan missed practice on Wednesday but will likely play on Sunday. He is listed as probable.
Running back Marshawn Lynch and receiver Doug Baldwin did not practice on Wednesday, but reports from Seattle indicate that their absences were merely precautionary. Count on the fact that both will likely play on Sunday.
On the other hand, do not count on oft-injured receiver Percy Harvin to play on Sunday. Harvin has not practiced all week as he continues to experience soreness from hip surgery and has played in only one game this season. Ironically, that game was against his former team, the Minnesota Vikings, where Harvin had one catch for 17 yards.
Center Max Unger is dealing with pectoral muscle pull from the 49ers contest and has been limited in practice this week. This situation bears watching because of the type of injury he has, but it appears that Unger will give it a go against the Giants.
Starting tight end Zach Miller has been listed as having an injury to his rib cage, and Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll has not addressed Miller’s status with the media this week. Luke Wilson would be in line to replace Miller, and the rookie from Rice by way of Windsor, Ontario, caught his first career touchdown against San Francisco in last week’s loss to the 49ers.
New York Giants
- CB Terrell Thomas (Knee)
- DT Cullen Jenkins (Shin/Quad)
- DE Jason Pierre-Paul (Shoulder)
- S Cooper Taylor (Hamstring)
- CB Corey Webster (Ankle)
- RB Brandon Jacobs (Knee/Injured Reserve)
- LB Mike Morgan (Knee)
- WR Doug Baldwin (Neck)
- RB Marshawn Lynch (Shoulder)
- C Max Unger (Chest)
- TE Zach Miller (Ribs)
- WR Percy Harvin (Hip)
- LB K.J. Wright (Foot)
- CB Brandon Browner (Groin)
For more Giants news and updates, visit Giants Central.
Curt Macysyn has been covering the New York Football Giants for the past two seasons for Examiner.com. Born and raised in northern New Jersey, Curt has followed and covered the New York Metropolitan sports scene for 35 years. He attended Seton Hall Prep School in South Orange, NJ and is a graduate of Rutgers University, New Brunswick. His work can be found on Examiner.com.