The Seahawks entered last week's game against the Raiders relatively healthy, and with apparent advantages in a number of key spots. I never once felt confident or comfortable about the game, and the feeling got worse as time ticked closer to kickoff. Today, the Seahawks face the consensus best team in the NFC with key injuries at key positions. Charlie Whitehurst will make his first career start against a defense that destroys opposing QBs. The Seahawks offense has stumbled along when it was healthy and facing lesser teams. Despite all of this, I am looking forward to this game more than the Raiders game last week.
Everyone expects a blowout, so the worst thing the Seahawks can do is meet expectations. Whitehurst showed absolutely no courage facing the pass rush in the pre-season, so he should make some terrible decisions today. He also may take chances that other QBs would never take, and allow our receivers to make plays. The offense should not be able to run or pass against this Giants defense, so Jeremy Bates has reason to get creative. Not cute, creative. The Giants walk into this game brimming with confidence and swagger. They are coming off of a bye. It is hard to imagine them respecting the Seahawks. Bates can use this to his advantage. Screen passes, draws, end arounds and every other quick-hitting play that uses the defenses aggression against them should be used today. Giants lineman will expect to beat the Seahawks offensive line. The setup for "rope-a-dope" is perfect. Don't be surprised to see more of Leon Washington in the backfield for screen passes.
The defense is going to smack some good looks into Eli Manning. The Giants will be expecting a broken, depressed team that will be lacking heart. Seattle is missing key players on defense, but Lawyer Milloy, Roy Lewis, Chris Clemons, Lofa Tatupu, Earl Thomas and David Hawthorne are still playing. Each of them capable of rising up and making the big play.
Every minute that Seattle leads or is close is a minute the Giants will start to get uncomfortable. Every time the defense stops a run without Cole or Bryant, the Giants offensive coordinator will get frustrated. Tiny success can lead to bigger success.
Expect the unexpected, and have some fun!