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Seahawks provide little reason for confidence heading to New York

The Seahawks' defense has had issues at times this season against the run. (AP)

The Giants have lost five games, their top two receivers and they’re scoring fewer points than all but four teams in the NFL.

The Giants are also coming off a victory that was more complete than any game the Seattle Seahawks have played this season, which is part of the reason that Sunday afternoon will be so interesting.

Clayton: 5 things to watch in Seahawks-Giants

I think the result is going to turn out to be very concerning here in Seattle.

The Seahawks are coming off their bye at 3-2, which isn’t bad. We just don’t know if they’re any good, either. They have yet to put together a full four quarters on either side of the ball this season, and while they’re known for starting slower than they finish, we’re more than halfway through October now, which means it’s time for Seattle to get going.

That’s true for the offense and Russell Wilson, who hasn’t been as good in the regular season as he looked in August. It’s true for the defense, which has allowed two runs of more than 60 yards in the first five games.

Sunday’s game in New York isn’t a test for Seattle so much as a progress report. Is the offense going to gain some semblance of consistency? Is the defense ready to stop teams from moving the ball so they don’t have to dodge bullets in the red zone?

The Giants started somebody named Roger Lewis at wide receiver last week. Their running back was Orleans Darkwa. And yet they’re coming off a road victory over the Denver Broncos, who managed just 46 yards rushing in a game where New York never trailed.

It was a more complete game than any the Seahawks have managed so far this season, which is a really bad sign for Seattle.

Seattle wins if … the Seahawks hold the advantage in time of possession. That has been the magic decoder for the Seahawks’ success this season or the lack thereof. They have held the ball longer than their opponent in all three victories and been at a disadvantage in the two losses.

Coach Pete Carroll has a blueprint he wants his team to follow. It starts with eliminating big plays on defense above all else, carries through playing well on special teams and then a power running game has completed what he calls the circle of toughness for his team. Well, through five games, Seattle’s defense has been more vulnerable than ever to big plays, especially in the run game, and the Seahawks have yet to have a player rush for 100 yards this season.

The Seahawks’ clearest path to victory is to control the tempo of the game. It’s just the first five games have provided very little evidence that Seattle is capable of doing that on the road.

New York wins if … the Giants don’t have a deficit in turnovers. Of course that’s easier said than done. The Seahawks had five takeaways in Los Angeles two weeks ago. The last time the Seahawks played the Giants in New York, they intercepted Eli Manning five times. Given the inconsistency of Seattle’s offense, the Giants will be halfway to winning the game if they simply hold onto the ball.

The series: Seattle has won the last three meetings against the Giants, two of those games having been played in New York. This will be the Seahawks’ fourth game at Met Life Stadium. They are 3-0 having beaten three different opponents at the site by a combined score of 93-25. They beat the Giants 23-0 in December 2013, the Broncos 43-8 in Super Bowl XVIII and the Jets 27-17 last season.

The prediction: Giants 20, Seahawks 16