Game Preview - Seahawks vs. Giants

Sunday will be the 13th meeting between the Seattle Seahawks and New York Giants, with the Giants holding the series edge, 7-5. Seattle has won the last two meetings.

Injury Report

Seattle Seahawks

Questionable: RB Maurice Morris (knee), WR Koren Robinson (knee)
Probable: WR Deion Branch (knee), WR Bobby Engram (shoulder), CB Kelly Jennings (rib), T Walter Jones (hip), DT Craig Terrill (back), QB Seneca Wallace (calf), T Floyd Womack (hamstring)

New York Giants

Out: WR Plaxico Burress (suspended)
Probable: WR Mario Manningham (illness), DE Jerome McDougle (knee), CB R.W. McQuarters (calf), CB Terrell Thomas (hamstring), K Lawrence Tynes (left knee)

Statistics and Rankings

Seattle Seahawks

Offense
Total: 11th (336.7 yards per game)
Passing: 22nd (170.3 yards per game)
Rushing: 2nd (166.3 yards per game)
Scoring: 11th (25.7 points per game)

Defense Total: 12th (314.3 yards per game)
Passing: 25th (226.3 yards per game)
Rushing: 9th (88.0 yards per game)
Scoring: 26th (26.6 points per game)

Turnover Ratio: -3

New York Giants

Offense
Total Yards: 4th (400.3 yards per game)
Passing: 8th (243.3 yards per game)
Rushing: 4th (157.0 yards per game)
Scoring: 6th (27.7 points per game)

Defense

Total: 4th (252.3 yards per game
Passing: 5th (167.7 yards per game)
Rushing: 7th (84.7 yards per game)
Scoring: t-2nd (14.3 points per game)

Turnover Ratio: 0

Five to Watch

Here are five items worth keeping an eye on when the Seahawks face the New York Giants today.

Deion and Bobby Are Back- The Seahawks should receive a boost with the returns of veteran wide receivers Deion Branch and Bobby Engram. Branch is coming off a torn ACL and will start at flanker. Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren has indicated that Branch is likely to get 35-40 snaps on Sunday. Engram is returning from a broken shoulder suffered in the preseason opener in Minnesota. Engram led the Seahawks in receiving in 2007, setting a franchise-record with 94 receptions. Engram will be back in his familiar position in the slot.

No Plax Zone – Plaxico Burress, who has led the New York Giants in receiving ever since he arrived in the Big Apple in 2005, has been suspended by head coach Tom Coughlin for this game. Burress will be replaced in the starting lineup by Domenik Hixon, but Seattle's secondary can expect to see a lot of Amani Toomer, Steve Smith (no, not that one) and perhaps even rookie Mario Manningham on Sunday. The Giants are also expected to get second year tight end Kevin Boss more involved in the passing game.

Seahawks Ground Game – After two seasons of the ground game going nowhere, the Seahawks decided that enough was enough. After adding long-time Kansas City Chiefs offensive line coach Mike Solari to the staff, Tim Ruskell added left guard Mike Wahle and running backs Julius Jones and T.J. Duckett in free agency. Through three games, the Seahawks rushing offense ranks 2nd in the NFL, but Holmgren views this game as an opportunity to see just how good their ground game really is.

Seahawks Run Defense vs. Brandon Jacobs – With Burress suspended, the Seahawks can expect to see a lot of Jacobs on Sunday. The 6-4, 264-pound running back is averaging 4.9 yards per carry this season, and in his career, when he goes for over 100 yards, the Giants are 5-1. Seattle's run defense has played well this season (88.0 yards per game), but stopping Jacobs will literally be their biggest test to date.

Justin Tuck vs. Walter Jones/Sean Locklear – Tuck has emerged from beyond the shadows of Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora to become one of the NFL's top defensive ends despite Sunday being just his 7th NFL start. Tuck had 10 sacks a season ago, and already has three this season to go along with a 41-yard interception return for a touchdown. Tuck moves around a bit, so Jones and Locklear, who will be making his first start in 2008, will be responsible for keeping Tuck away from Matt Hasselbeck.

Programming Notes

FOX's "B" team will be on the scene, with Kenny Albert and Daryl Johnston in the booth, and former NFL defensive tackle Tony Siragusa checking the line splits from the field level. This same crew called the Seahawks' Week 2 loss to San Francisco.

Bye Week Blues

Head coaches Mike Holmgren and Tom Coughlin haven't enjoyed much success in games following the bye week. Holmgren is 2-7 after the bye with the Seahawks, while Coughlin is 1-3 with the Giants. Since the NFL implemented the bye week in 1990, the Giants are 4-15 after the bye. Seattle is 5-14.

Prediction

Playing an early game on the East Coast against the defending Super Bowl champions isn't ideal for the 1-2 Seattle Seahawks. Everything about this game screams "loss" for the Seahawks, but with Plaxico Burress out, and the Seahawks getting some veteran receivers back, I like the Seahawks chances to even up their record, and with some help, move back into 1st place in the NFC West. Mac's Pick: Seahawks 24, Giants 20

Brian McIntyre writes about the Seahawks and blogs daily about the NFL. You can reach him via e-mail by clicking here.

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