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Seahawks-Giants: Top-6 things a win would mean for Seattle
Seaside Joe 1331/1332: Seahawks playoff odds increase dramatically with a win
How could any good team be as boring as the New York Giants?
Daniel Jones has already faced Aaron Rodgers, and won. He’s faced Lamar Jackson, and beat him too. Jones has been on the winning side against Ryan Tannehill, Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, and Baker Mayfield.
It is true that quarterbacks do not win games by themselves. It is also true that quarterbacks as underwhelming as Jones don’t tend to win very many games at all. How dare I criticize the reigning NFC Offensive Player of the Week, right?
But let’s also keep these facts in mind:
Jones is on pace to throw 15 touchdowns this season
His 6.5 yards per attempt is a career low
He has the same passer rating as Jared Goff, Marcus Mariota, and Andy Dalton
Good, bad, acceptable? All I’m saying is that it must be terribly boring.
There are caveats, as always. The Giants have a new head coach and general manager (Brian Daboll, Joe Schein) who are in the middle of undoing almost every move by the previous regime, with many of those problems centering around the passing offense: Kenny Golladay is the biggest free agent bust of 2021 and Kadarius Toney could be the biggest first round receiver bust of the 2021 class.
The result of those two moves: Golladay has two catches for 22 yards and is likely out this week. Toney has two catches for zero yards and is also expected to sit out against the Seahawks.
Instead, Jones’ top SIX wide recievers have been:
Richie James, 20 catches on 26 targets for 191 yards; but James only has 45 yards in the last four games
Sterling Shepard, 13 catches on 24 targets for 141 yards; Shepard is on IR
Darius Slayton; Jones’ top receiver in the last three weeks, Slayton has caught 10 passes for 155 yards in those games
David Sills, 10 catches on 15 targets for 101 yards; Once the top-ranked QB recruit in the country, Sills has stuck to New York’s roster as a wideout, but he only has 44 yards in his last four games
Wan’Dale Robinson, 10 catches on 13 targets for 92 yards; the Giants’ second rounder this year, Robinson returned from injury two weeks ago and he has 87 yards in those contests
Marcus Johnson, five catches on 10 targets for 60 yards; the former Seahawk has appeared in the last three games, but he had zero yards on three targets last week
As of now, it appears that Daniel Jones’ top two wideouts are going to be Slayton and Robinson, with James and Sills as the next up against the Seahawks this weekend. Running back Saquon Barkley leads the Giants with 30 targets and 25 catches, and his 180 receiving yards is second on the team. Tight end Daniel Bellinger is third in catches (16) and fifth in yards (152).
It is the rushing attack, led by Barkley and supported by Jones, that has gotten New York to a 6-1 record headed to the midpoint of the season. The Giants are second in rushing yards (726 for Barkley, 343 for Jones), seventh in yards per carry, and sixth by DVOA. In last week’s win over the Jaguars, Barkley rushed for 110 yards and Jones rushed for 101 yards in a 23-17 victory.
With a rushing attack, where would the Giants be? We don’t really know because they’ve been fairly consistent in that area. The Ravens did the best job, holding New York to 83 yards on the ground, but losing 24-20, largely due to late mistakes by Baltimore’s offense; Lamar Jackson was intercepted with 3:04 remaining when the Ravens had a 20-17 lead. Then Jackson lost a fumble when trailing 24-20 a minute later.
Barkley rushed for 83 yards and a touchdown. Bellinger led the Giants in receiving with 38 yards.
The key then for the Seattle Seahawks may not be to stop Saquon Barkley or to shutdown Daniel Jones. Instead, it may rest solely on Shane Waldron’s offense to protect the football, for Jason Myers to make his kicks, and for Ken Walker III to keep doing Ken Walker III things.
The Giants defense is 32nd in yards per carry allowed and 30th in run defense DVOA.
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I believe there is now some belief in Daniel Jones and it’s all because of winning. Yes, the wide receivers group needs an overhaul, Evan Neal hasn’t been of much help as a top-10 right tackle (yet and he’s also injured), and Jones isn’t getting any favors from his weapons other than Barkley.
But do I believe for a second that the Giants are going to keep Jones next year?
I do not.
Do I believe that the Seahawks are going to keep Geno Smith? After months of saying that it would not be any sort of priority, I now believe that it is.
In Week 8, the two biggest surprises (Pleasant Division) in the NFL face off in Seattle and the Seahawks have an opportunity to knock off a team that nobody expected to be a “cap feather” when the season started. Then again, nobody expected the Seahawks to be such a prize, either.
Here’s what a Week 8 win could do for the Seattle Seahawks.
1 - A win is a win
The best takeaway from any win is that you won. After winning three of their last four games, there is no more room for Seahawks fans who wanted to see Seattle get the highest draft pick possible next year. I mean, there is room for that because of the Denver Broncos, but the Seahawks’ own first round pick… at this point there’s no point to root for anything other than a trip to the playoffs.
Not that that should have ever been in question. I think teams should always want to win. At 4-3, Pete Carroll’s pre-season declaration that the Seahawks have a good team is looking to be more accurate than those who clowned him for it would have expected.
2 - First place in the NFC West
A win would keep the Seahawks in first place in the NFC West. The San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams play each other for the second time this season on Sunday and the winner of that game will either be 4-4 (if it’s the 49ers) or 4-3 (if it’s the Rams). The Seahawks would be 5-3 with a win.
If the 49ers lose, they’d drop to 3-5. If the Rams lose, they’d drop to 3-4.
Seattle’s win would give them a significant midseason advantage over one of their two NFC West rivals. The 3-4 Arizona Cardinals face the 5-1 Minnesota Vikings, so if bettors are right, the other NFC West team would be 3-5 barring an upset.
3 - Increased playoff odds
According to DVOA, the Seahawks have a 56.5% chance to make the playoffs, a 38.6% chance to win the division, and a 10.8% chance to earn the number two seed in the NFC. (Number one seed: 0.7%). Those are obviously the best odds in the NFC West now.
Not only would a win increase Seattle’s odds, but we’re guaranted to see either the Rams or 49ers lose this weekend and that will lower the odds for one of those teams. In the rare case that they tie, EVEN BETTER!
The wild card is looking like an almost definite if the Seahawks win. The best team in the NFC South is 3-4. The second-best team in the NFC North is 3-4. If Seattle improves to 5-3, they need only go 4-5 the rest of the way to guarantee a winning record and I’m fairly certain that there will be a 9-8 wild card team.
4 - Head-to-head win over Giants
Speaking of the wild card, the Giants are one of the most important NFC teams between the Seahawks and one of those berths, in case Seattle needs to make the postseason by that route.
By DVOA, the Giants have a 78.1% chance to make the playoffs, but only a 6% chance to win the division. Because they’re looking up at the 6-0 Eagles and trying to fend off the 5-2 Cowboys, the expectation is that the Giants will only be aiming for a wild card berth. Because of that, it’s even more important for the Seahawks to get a head-to-head advantage.
Consider this too: What if the NFC South sends a team to the playoffs at 8-9 but the Vikings reach the playoffs at 13-4? Seeding could be very important.
5 - A winning streak
A streak doesn’t start until three in a row. A win over the Giants would give Seattle three straight wins and four of their last five, headed into a Week 9 game in Arizona. The Cardinals is when the winning streak would have started, too.
The Seahawks haven’t had a winning streak since winning their last four games in 2020. If Seattle wins this one, they’ll be 9-5 in their last 14 games. That’s trending more like the Pete Carroll teams we’re used to.
6 - Keeps the Geno Smith endorsement going another week
Smith is 1-0 against former teams after beating the Chargers in Week 7. He still has the Giants (2017 team) and Jets (2013-2016) left to go.
While Daniel Jones has been enjoying the ride, Geno Smith’s resurgence feels to be more based on his ability and talent. I’m still going to be very conservative in endorsing Smith as anything other than a capable starter (unfortunately we’ve reached the point of some people calling him “elite” now, which is just premature, even if it turns out that the Seahawks are only scratching the surface of what he can do) but I’m open to all possibilities.
Another win with Geno going start-to-finish would presumably include another solid start by Smith, getting him closer to that contract extension that reinforces Seattle’s intentions to keep him beyond 2022. And of course, that would keep Drew Lock at bay as the backup, barring injury.
But here’s my scenario for everyone to consider for ANY quarterback: If that QB was absolutely abysmal for the next two weeks, as all QBs are capable of being, would there be any question if he should continue to start?
Justin Herbert isn’t getting benched if he struggles. Dak Prescott isn’t getting benched. Not even Derek Carr is going to get benched if he sucks for two weeks; he’s sucked for nine years, so what difference would it make now?
If Smith had two really bad games in a row, has he done enough already to secure his place as the starter for the rest of the year? The answer could be yes! But he definitely quells those doubts as he continues to stack good games, so another win this week would do more to secure his place as Seattle’s QBOTF.
I’ll be looking out for how the Seahawks perform in the second half once again. Geno has 10 touchdowns (and one rushing touchdown) in the first half. He has one touchdown (total) in the second half. Walker’s been the star in the second half recently, and Seattle may be relying on him to do it once again against the Giants.
If the Seahawks move to 5-3, the stakes for Week 9 will be even greater.
What would a win this week mean to you? Let me know in the comments!