Newly renamed Lumen Field will play host to a pair of division leaders when the Seattle Seahawks battle the New York Giants on Sunday afternoon. These two teams come into this game with plenty of momentum as the Seahawks (8-3) have won two straight games and the Giants (4-7) have won three in a row to get themselves into first place in the often-mocked NFC East.
It was payback time once again on Monday night for DK Metcalf, who caught 10 passes for 177 yards while absolutely owning Darius Slay all night long, as Seattle cashed in on Metcalf's performance in a 23-17 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Russell Wilson took his share of hits as the offensive line was not great against the Eagles' pass rush. However, Wilson did improve to 29-8-1 in primetime games after completing 22 of 31 attempts for 230 yards, one touchdown, and zero turnovers. The defense started fast with five three-and-outs and put together another good performance for the second straight week in a row. They also sacked Carson Wentz six times and limited them to just 250 total yards of offense. Thankfully, for Wentz and the Eagles, there were not any fans in the stands since it would have gone worse than the time Philadelphia fans booed Santa Claus.
New York took over first place in the NFC East by grinding out a 19-17 win over the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium last Sunday. The win did come at a significant cost, as quarterback Daniel Jones left the game with a hamstring injury that could cost him a shot to play this week and at minimum limit his mobility. His absence means that Colt McCoy would have the keys to the offense, which showed promise last week. Wayne Gallman rushed for 94 yards and a touchdown, while Evan Engram was a matchup problem all day for Cincinnati with six receptions for 129 yards. The defense had a field day as they limited the Joe Burrow-less Bengals to 155 yards of total offense.
New York at Seattle
Kickoff: Sunday, Dec. 6 at 4:05 p.m. ET
Spread: Seahawks -10
Three Things to Watch
1. Can the Seattle defense overcome a limited or absent Carlos Dunlap II?
Dunlap continues to be a force to be reckoned with for Seattle with 3.5 sacks, 5.0 TFLs, and seven QB hits since arriving from Cincinnati, so his injury concern regarding a sore foot will be something to watch. If this foot problem ends up being something that requires a couple of weeks off, then this would be an optimal time to rest Dunlap. The Seahawks' next three opponents — both New York teams and Washington — have a combined record of 8-25.
Head coach Pete Carroll is optimistic about the team's health and mentioned in his Wednesday press conference that, so far, the sore foot issue doesn't appear to be overly serious. Jamal Adams continues to round back into form following a shoulder injury, too; he was all over the place in the Eagles game causing problems. Adams is sitting at 6.5 sacks, which ties his career high, and getting to 10 this season is not out of the question. Bobby Wagner is going to be another force to contend with for New York after he registered five tackles on Monday night to get him up to 100 tackles for the ninth straight season.
2. What might the New York offense look like with Colt McCoy?
It is going to be interesting to see how offensive coordinator Jason Garrett is approaching this week with Colt McCoy as the potential starting quarterback. Garrett will have the benefit of not having fans present in Seattle, which should open up the playbook some.
Darius Slayton can ill afford to have another game with zero catches like he did last week in Cincinnati. Slayton has caught 38 passes for 584 yards and three touchdowns on the season, but there needs to be more consistency every week from him. Gallman will see plenty of early touches to test the Seahawks defensive line in the running game.
As for the offensive line, they need to keep negative plays to a minimum and allow McCoy time to find an open receiver. If the offensive line loses the battle against the emerging pass rush of Seattle, then it'll be a long afternoon for them. It will be a tough matchup since the Seahawks rank eighth in the NFL with 31 sacks and the Giants rank 26th with 31 sacks allowed.
3. How much of the Seahawks' offense will run through DK Metcalf?
This will be a great opportunity to try and establish more balance on this side of the ball. The offensive line is going to be under siege once again with an aggressive attacking pass rush by the Giants. Thus, it's going to be crucial for Wilson to get the ball out of his hands quickly to Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and the rest of his playmakers.
Metcalf received a ton of praise this week from Giants head coach Joe Judge as he said that Metcalf "is a rare guy" and then elaborated further about the difficult challenge he presents from a preparation standpoint. The Giants know that Metcalf is going to make some plays, but the key is going to be limiting the backbreaking "moon balls" that Wilson and Metcalf are notorious for punishing defenses with this season. In addition, look for Wilson to try and get Lockett rolling early by targeting him in one-on-one matchups.
Seattle should end up being able to methodically pull away from New York this week since the lack of Daniel Jones will end up being too much to overcome. Wilson should end up taking care of the ball like he is supposed to, which will eliminate the opportunity for easy scores for the Giants. The running game with Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde will get into a nice rhythm this week and pick up 130-plus yards on the ground. New York will put up a good fight as Joe Judge will have his guys ready to play this week. In the end, the Seahawks defense will force a couple of turnovers and string together a third straight quality performance to give Seattle a ninth victory and maintain their NFC West lead.
Prediction: Seahawks 27, Giants 16
— Written by Scott Whittum, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow him on Parler @Scottwhittum.