After their impressive victory in Denver last Sunday, the Giants return to Met Life Stadium late Sunday afternoon to host the Seattle Seahwaks in a 4:30 start.
Here are three things to watch on both sides of the ball:
NOT RUNNING ON EMPTY: The two most noticeable things on the Giants’ offensive attack last week was their offensive line and running game.
Up front, the line had its best showing of the season as they looked as solid at times last year during the playoff run. Justin Pugh’s shift from right guard to right tackle made a huge impact as he shut down Denver’s Von Miller. D.J. Fluker and Brent Jones have both done admirable jobs at right guard and center respectively. Sicne Fluker has been in the lineup the past three weeks, the Giants’ running game has averaged just over 130 yards per game. And Ereck Flowers hasn’t been harassed lately.
The line will have another test Sunday against Seattle. However, another stellar stint will fuel the offense.
Speaking of fuel, the Giants may have found their backfield duo with Orleans Darkwa and Wayne Gallman. Darkwa had a breakout game with career highs with 21 carries and 117 yards. His season-high 47-yard run helped the Giants to their first score.
Gallman continues to progress every week and his scatback style is a perfect complement to Darkwa’s forward plough.
In the air, rookie tight end Evan Engram also had a big game. He currently leads all rookie tight ends with 24 receptions for 282 yards. Engram showed his flexibility and speed when he lined up as a receiver. With the depleted receiving corps and Sterling Shepard still out with an ankle, Engram has the opportunity for another big game.
DEFENSE FOR REAL?: After five games, the Giants’ vaulted defensive unit finally surfaced. They got the push up front led by Damon Harrison and Jason Pierre-Paul, who had three sacks.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie returns after a one-game suspension. All appears to have quieted down regarding Cromartie’s alleged wrongdoings in the past. The secondary got a boost last week with Janoris’ Jenkins pick six and Eli Apple’s improved play.
Olivier Vernon will be out and Jonathan Casillas could be out at linebacker. But veteran Keenan Robinson stepped in last week and had a solid effort.
This will be another big test for the defense with the versatile Russel Wilson, who also is the team’s second-leading rusher.
“He’s like Houdini,” said safety Darian Thompson of Wilson. “You might think he’s down. If you don’t hear a whistle blow, you have to continue to cover because at that point, the receivers will change their routes and they know how to get open.”
SEAHWAKS FLYING HIGH OR A GIANT STEP?: Wilson will enter the game with 1,222 yards and eight touchdowns this season. A key figure in the Seahawks’ attack could be tight end Jimmy Graham, who is looking like his old self after a slow start. The Giants have had their troubles with tight ends all season.
Seattle defensive end Michael Bennett is questionable with a foot injury and they already have lost end Clint Avril for the season. Still, the Seahawks’ defense is beginning to round back into form and they are fresh coming off a bye week.
The Giants will look to put another victory in the books before a bye week ahead. This could be a crucial win and give them some added momentum. With a boost, their wild-card hopes have been resuscitated after their dismal 0-5 start. Green Bay won’t be the same without Aaron Rogers and Dallas doesn’t look like the team they were last season especially if they lose Ezekiel Elliot. Can the Eagles keep it going with Carson Wentz? Are the Rams for real? A Giants’ winning streak should thrust them back into the hunt.
However, the Giants will face another stern test and will need another maximum effort to gain an early-evening victory.