4 things to watch: Seahawks vs. NY Giants
After an early bye week, the Seahawks return to action Sunday against a one-win Giants team at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
The Giants are coming off a Sunday night win over Denver while the Seahawks are coming off a week of rest that allowed them to watch the Giants closely last Sunday night.
This also marks the return to MetLife Stadium for the Seahawks, MetLife was the host of Super Bowl 48 won by the Seahawks. The venue at the Meadowlands has been nothing but good for the Seattle team, they are 4-0 all time at MetLife.
Here are four things to watch in Sunday's game against the Giants.
1) RUSSELL WILSON
Through the first five games of this season we have been reminded that a healthy Russell Wilson, one that can scramble and evade would-be tacklers, is important to the Seahawks' success. He could be on the run often Sunday against a Giants' defensive line that will cause some problems for what will be the Seahawks' third different offensive line combination this season.
Wilson, however, is showing some chemistry with his receivers. Not only did he finally connect with Jimmy Graham for a touchdown against the Rams, but Wilson spent the off week down in California where he threw passes and worked out with teammate Paul Richardson. The workouts in California had been in the works for a while.
"Both of us are always talking about doing stuff together." said Wilson this week at the VMAC. "He was down in California. I was down there too as well. We were able to connect and go down there. Typically what happens is we talk about with everyone, you know 'hey, what are you guys doing? What are you doing for the bye week? What are you doing for the offseason?' to kind of know where guys are. We definitely connected on that and wanted to make sure that we got our work in and stayed fresh and like I said, he is having a great great season so far. We want to make sure that he continues and we continue to really build off that and what he has been able to do."
If the Wilson-Richardson connection gets rolling it could lead to some points against the Giants. Wilson and Richardson have connected twice this season for touchdowns and Richardson is 2nd on the Seahawks in receiving yards with 208.
2) OFFENSIVE LINE
Luke Joeckel had arthroscopic knee surgery during the bye week and will miss the next four to five weeks. That has opened the door at the left guard spot for Mark Glowinski or Ethan Pocic to join what will be the 3rd different starting offensive line combination for the Seahawks this season.
Glowinski played the left guard spot all of last season so he is familiar with the demands of the left side. Pocic was drafted out of LSU to pretty much play anywhere along the offensive line.
Wilson had nothing but praise for Pocic this week at the VMAC, "He is a guy that is really passionate about learning. He has come in very early and he has played, I think, four different positions already. He has played center, played right guard, I believe he has played right tackle, left guard, and so he can really do it all. He played a lot of positions in college too as well at LSU. Being in the SEC, so that is a tough conference to play in. He really really showed himself in the preseason we felt like and I think he will do a great job when he gets a chance to play this week."
Improving the offensive line every week is a challenge and they have shown signs of getting better. This week, the challenge will be communicating and finding a rhythm with a new member on the line. The Seahawks rank 23rd out of 32 teams rushing the football, look for the Hawks to try and get the running game going early.
3) Frank Clark
Cliff Avril is unfortunately done for the season with a neck/spine injury suffered in the game against the Colts October 1st.
Injuries test the depth of every team in the NFL every season and lucky for the Seahawks, Avril had time to rub off on Frank Clark, who will now see significantly more playing time with Avril injured.
“Yeah. It does extenuate Frank’s opportunity, he gets more play time and we’re excited for him to get as many snaps as we can," Pete Carroll said this week.
Clark will go from a situational pass rusher to an every play defensive end working against the run and the pass. Clark is energetic and has a motor that does not quit. When he gets rolling and finds a rhythm he is a menace to opposing offensive lines. Now that the every down role is his, he can embrace it and make Eli Manning's day miserable.
4) DOUG BALDWIN
Doug Baldwin spent the off week penning a letter along with NFL Commish Roger Goodell to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The letter addressed length of prison sentences and criminal justice reform. Baldwin continues to work tirelessly to promote social reform.
Baldwin got back to football this week and will look to make an impact on the field Sunday against the Giants. Baldwin leads the Seahawks in receptions and receiving yards and how he connects with Wilson every week has a huge impact on a Seahawks offense that has found it difficult to score points.
While the Giants have struggled this season to a 1-5 record, their defense hasn't been too bad, including in the secondary where Baldwin will battle Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Janoris Jenkins on Sunday. If Baldwin can get himself open and make some big plays that could keep the pressure off Wilson and lead to points as the Seahawks look to improve to 4-2.
KOMO Sports will be live from MetLife right after the game with locker room reaction from the Seahawks and Pete Carroll.