Saturday, October 8, 2011

InReeseWeTrust: New York Giants vs. Seattle Seahawks Week 5 Game Preview

Seattle Seahawks (1-3) at New York Giants (3-1), 1pm Eastern at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey
By Ben Kelly - 10/8/11

What happened last week?
Seattle hosted the stumbling Atlanta Falcons and mounted a furious second half rally before losing at home, 30-27. After scoring a total of 37 points in three and a half games, Seattle’s offense finally clicked with 20 second half points, missing a 61-yard field goal attempt with 13 seconds remaining to seal the loss. The improved offense in Seattle’s second half was quarterback Tarvaris Jackson finding rhythm in the no-huddle offense. Jackson tossed two second half touchdowns to finish the day with a career high 319 yards, three scores and two picks on 25 of 38 passing. Jackson’s production compensated for Seattle’s stable of rushers, who carried the ball thirteen times for 37 yards. On the season Seattle has only eclipsed 100 yards rushing once, coming away with 122 in a week three win against Arizona. Other rushing totals for the Seahawks are 64 yards and 31 yards in the first two weeks, both losses.

The Seahawks are not road warriors
In Pete Carroll’s first one and a quarter seasons, his Seahawks are 2-8 on the road, including two losses this year in San Francisco and Pittsburgh. Seattle has been outscored 166 to 291 on the road, and 17 to 57 this year, failing to establish an identity on either side of the ball in two years. Carroll has been persistent in acquiring personnel for a power running game, trading for running backs Marshawn Lynch and Leon Washington and drafting three offensive linemen in the first two rounds of the past two drafts. The results haven’t shown on the field yet for Seattle, which is currently ranked 31st in rushing after finishing 31st in 2010. Seattle’s biggest road test this season came in Pittsburgh, during which Tarvaris Jackson led the team to 164 total yards, eight first downs and zero points.

Gains of New York
Don’t look now, but Eli Manning is on pace his best statistical season yet after the season’s first quarter. His 105.6 rating is twenty points higher than last year; he’s thrown eight touchdowns to two interceptions (31:25 last year); he’s on pace for 4000 yards for the third consecutive year and his completion percentage is up to 64% from 62.9. Eli’s passer rating is third best in the NFL. His quiet success has taken the pressure off running backs Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw, who are both rushing for career low averages at 3.1 and 4.1 respectively. Jacobs is doubtful for Sunday after missing practice Wednesday, Thursday and Friday with an MCL sprain. Third-string running back Danny Ware has three carries this year, but will see an increased workload against Seattle.

The Giants have relied on their run game for a win only once this season, against St. Louis. In that game Jacobs and Bradshaw combined for 109, forcing Sam Bradford to throw forty-six passes. Since then its been all on Manning’s arm: Eli throwing four touchdowns in Philly, Eli throwing for 321 and two scores against Arizona with Jacobs and Bradshaw limping to 47 yards on twenty-one carries. Seattle gave up 297 yards in the air to Pittsburgh and 291 to Atlanta, who also have strong running games. The Giants’ formula this season is for an efficient running game that can power first downs. New York has one of the highest rushing first downs to passing first downs in the league at 26 rushing to 42 passing. Expect the running game not to miss a beat with or without a hobbled Brandon Jacobs, and another fine day through the air against Seattle’s secondary. Seattle’s defense has given up more touchdowns on the ground than through the air, so look forward to a breakout touchdown performance from Bradshaw and Danny Ware. Giants win, 31-20.

Ware may get chance to shine
DJ "Danny" Ware
By Mike Mazzeo - 10/8/11

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