With any playoff aspirations now in the rear view for the New York Giants, these last three games should be telling about the character of this team. After losing two straight games to the Dallas Cowboys and San Diego Chargers, will this team play with resilience and pride? Or have they packed it in mentally and accepted that they are indeed the type of subpar football team that their 5-8 record shows.
According to ESPN’s power rankings, the Giants are ranked No. 23out of 32 teams. Their three remaining games will prove if they are better or worse than that assessment. This week, the No. 1 Seattle Seahawks are coming to town, angry and fired up after losing to their division rival San Francisco 49ers last week in a tight game.
“It’s a tremendous gauge for our team and any team to play against a team with the kind of record and which has accomplished the things the Seahawks have,” said head coach Tom Coughlin.
Considering Eli Manning’s struggles against beatable defenses of late, the ‘legion of boom’ that is the Seahawks secondary is going to be Manning’s toughest test of the season. It’s no question that having such a physical and talented team as the Seahawks coming into your stadium is a huge motivating force, playoffs or not.
“I don’t think there’s any question about the fact that we’ll be motivated because of the nature of the team that’s coming in here,” said Coughlin.
They are the first ranked pass defense in the league, allowing only 15.8 points per game. They’re second in the league in creating turnovers with 28. With big, physical cornerbacks and safeties, Giants wide receivers will have to do their best to avoid contact at the line of scrimmage and not fall for the psychological game that Richard Sherman likes to play.
“This team isn’t one that is going to crumble inside, we play for pride” said Victor Cruz.
Last time Cruz faced off with this Seahawks defense in 2011, he hauled in eight catches for 161 yards and a touchdown. Cruz will likely see a heavy dose of Sherman, which will be a great matchup to watch for.
It is crucial that the Giants do not stagger out of the gate against this ferocious defense, as they have most of the season. You don’t come back from a two score deficit against a team like the Seahawks. They can control the ball on the ground offensively with Marshawn Lynch leading their third ranked rushing attack.
All signs indicate that it will most likely be a long day for Big Blue this Sunday. A home game as seven point underdogs against arguably the best team in the NFL are two motivating factors that should drive this Giants team to play their hearts out. An unlikely win would be a bright spot for a team who has underachieved all year long. It would also be a nice way to help set the foundation of confidence and belief for next season; knowing that you can still play with the best, and win.