By Brad Carroll
If the New York Giants are going to snap their three-game losing streak Sunday and get back into the hunt for a postseason berth, they are going to do so impressively. The Giants travel to the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks in Week 10, a daunting task for any team, let alone one who is already reeling this season with the losses and injuries adding up quickly.
The Giants are 3-5 at the midway point of the season, losing important NFC East games to Philadelphia and Dallas and a Monday night setback against Indianapolis last week. The Giants lost each of those games by double-digits, and were beaten badly by the Eagles and Colts. They are three games out of the division lead already and trail the second wild card spot by two games.
The season is far from over for the Giants, but the room for error is getting narrower by the week.
Even though the Giants are nine-point underdogs at Seattle, they won't be playing the same dominating force the Seahawks were a year ago. Seattle is 5-3 and trails the Arizona Cardinals its own division by two games. The Seahawks are tied with the Packers for the second wild card right now, owning the tiebreaker with a win in Week 1 over Green Bay. Seattle has lost to the Chargers, Cowboys and Rams.
The big difference maker could be the noise created by Seattle's "12th Man." which is something the Giants have focused on in practice this week, pumping in "special noise" according to coach Tom Coughlin. Whether or not the Giants can deal with the noise and a still very good Seattle team will depend on how well they can succeed in our keys to victory below.
If they succeed, it will be a brand new season with revitalized expectations. If they can't, the Giants will be one step closer to playoff elimination. Read our Giants-Seahawks game predictions here, wager real money on all NFL games here and follow us on Twitter for all of our Giants analysis and picks.
Block Out The Noise
Seattle has gotten the reputation as one of the toughest places to play, mainly because of the noise levels generated by the fans, a source of pride for the group known as the "12th Man." That would rattle any offense, but the Giants might be more susceptible due to their youth on that side of the ball. Quarterback Eli Manning is as cool and calm as they come, but he'll have a rookie running back behind him, two young wide receivers on the outside, including a rookie as the top option, and an offensive line that has struggled greatly in the quietest of stadiums. If the young players can't block out the noise, this could turn into a nightmarish trip for the Giants. Last year, the Seahawks won 23-0 at MetLife Stadium. That might be considered low if the Giants lose their way mentally on offense. The Giants practiced for the noise all week, so there should be no surprises. They just have to handle it now.
Get Pressure On Wilson
The Giants have a sudden talent void in the defensive backfield, as cornerback Prince Amukamara was lost for the season last week and fellow corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie can barely stay on the field anymore dealing with his own injuries. Zack Bowman might not be a factor in the game either, as he was in the hospital this week for an abdominal problem. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson could have a big day picking on players the Giants typically wouldn't be playing with in the secondary Sunday. To combat that, the Giants have to get pressure on Wilson. If they can't, the Seattle offense should be able to pick apart a makeshift defensive backfield. The Giants need a big day from Jason Pierre-Paul, who has just 3.5 sacks this season, Robert Ayers, who had a sack and seven quarterback hits against the Colts last week, and Damontre Moore and Mathias Kiwanuka. If the Giants rediscover their pass rush, they could force Wilson into bad throws and capitalize with a turnover or two. The Giants will be that much closer to pulling the upset if they can bring the heat on Wilson.
Run The Ball
In the Seahawks' only loss at home this season, 30-23 to Dallas, the Cowboys rushed for 162 yards on 37 carries, a 4.4-yard per carry average. DeMarco Murray went for 115 yards and a touchdown and Joseph Randle added 52 yards on five rushes. Dallas ended up out-gaining Seattle 401-206 overall. The Giants don't have a running back as good as Murray, but if they follow the same blueprint, which is controlling the game on the ground, they can pull the upset. To do that, Giants rookie running back Andre Williams has to play a lot better than he has since taking over for the injured Rashad Jennings, who did not make the cross-country trip with the team. In his last three games, Williams has rushed 47 times for 132 yards, a 2.8-yard per carry average. That obviously won't get it done, and not surprisingly, the Giants lost all three of those games. Manning will have to make the most of his opportunities to get the ball to Odell Beckham Jr., Rueben Randle and Larry Donnell, but if Williams, and to a lesser extent Peyton Hillis, can't run the ball effectively and control the clock on the ground, the Giants will have little chance to win the game.
Read our Giants-Seahawks game predictions against the spread here