The X-Factor that can lead the Seattle Seahawks to victory in Week 8
By Jake Luppino
Who would have thought entering Week 8, the only matchup featuring two teams with an above .500 record would be between the Seattle Seahawks and New York Giants? In fact, these teams have been two of the more intriguing stories thus far in 2021. For Seattle, not many knew what to expect from a young roster led by Geno Smith.
So far, this rookie class has popped early, with guys on both sides of the ball making game-altering plays. The play by Geno Smith has taken the league by storm and 71-year-old coach Pete Carroll, is showing the football universe he knows a thing or two about winning.
The Giants on the other hand sit with a 6-1 record propelled by a resurgent Saquon Barkley and a very well-put-together coaching staff. The coaching carousel in New York seems to have finally been put to a halt. This team is figuring out ways to win late in the ballgames, allowing Brian Daboll to establish his culture early in his tenure.
A matchup between two even teams dealing with a similar amount of injuries will come down to which defensive unit is able to make the big play at the right time.
Seattle Seahawks: The X-Factor who can lead them to victory
Despite having one the best scoring defenses in the NFL, the New York Giants, similarly to the Seattle Seahawks, rank in the bottom half of rushing defense. As they currently allow just over 144 yards on the ground per game.
Many think the story of this game will be an epic dual between Saquon Barkley and Kenneth Walker III. However, I see the defense telling the story in this one. Both teams are dealing with injuries to key players.
My gut tells me D.K. Metcalf misses Sunday’s game, but Tyler Lockett plays. Nonetheless, the absence of D.K. Metcalf will have both of these offenses falling in the same trance. The Giants haven’t really had many explosive plays down the field this year and the Seahawks will likely experience that for the first time this season if Metcalf doesn’t suit up on Sunday.
Meaning, both teams can truly focus on stacking the box and stopping the run. For Seattle however, the task is more daunting as Giants QB Daniel Jones is quite mobile. This linebacker group led by Jordyn Brooks will have to be disciplined in its run approach. Specifically, on the run-pass option scenarios.
With Al Woods leading the charge up front, this young, versatile Seahawks linebacker group, including S Ryan Neal in certain packages, will end up being the difference makers in this game. Uchenna Nsowsu, Darrell Taylor, Boye Mafe and Bruce Irvin will have to keep Jones in the pocket when pursuing. If they are able to do that and the secondary does its job, they might be able to force Jones into a turnover.
Credit to Daniel Jones, his turnovers are down this year. Daboll and his offensive staff have done a good job developing this offense based on Jones’ strengths. However, pressure bursts pipes and this Seattle defensive front has really come along the past couple of weeks. If the Seahawks are able to win this game, it’s because their defensive front will have caused havoc.