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Giants kickoff: Three things to watch for in week 4

The Giants look to get back in the win column against the Seattle Seahawks in the fourth installment of Monday Night Football in 2023. Kickoff is slated for 8:15pm EST from MetLife Stadium

The Giant defense must step up and make plays

I’ll be blunt, the Giant defense has been sub-par through the first three weeks of the NFL season and has forced a whopping zero turnovers in the process. They rank:

  • 24th in overall defense, surrendering 361.7 Yards/G

  • 28th against the run, surrendering 138 Yds/G

  • 19th against the pass, surrendering 223.7 Yds/G

The stats say it all and this defense is not playing to their full potential early on in the season. Opponents are converting almost 50% of 3rd down plays and 58% of red zone attempts. Those were the two areas in which the Giants thrived in 2022, with opponents converting 35.1% of 3rd down attempts and 49.2% of red zone attempts. For the Giants to be successful in Wink Martindale’s blitz/man-heavy defense, they will have to get better in those areas in which they were successful in 2022.

Their tackling has been horrendous, and horrendous may be an understatement. Just look at the below tweet from Nick Falato of Big Blue View, the Giants rank third in the league with 31 missed tackles. This is a glaring issue that needs to be corrected for the Giants to be successful and force stops on the defensive side of the ball.

The schedule doesn’t get any easier the next few weeks, with matchups against high-powered offenses in Miami and Buffalo coming in weeks 5 and 6, respectively. The Giants could be staring at a 1-5 record if all goes poorly come the end of week 6 if they do not clean things up on the defensive side of the ball.

Offensive game plan

The Giants have scored a collective 43 points over the first three weeks of the season, with the bulk of those points (31) coming in their improbable comeback win against the Cardinals in week 2. They are 30th in the NFL in yards (253.3) and 31st in points scored per game (14.3). Lack of points on the scoreboard from the offense has been a recurring theme not only in the 2023 season, but pretty much since Eli Manning took his last snaps with the Giants and that was four years ago.

With Saquon Barkley likely out for this one, Mike Kafka needs to find ways to get his other playmakers involved. This all starts with his quarterback, and the game plan must revolve around a steady balance of getting Daniel Jones going in the run game and through the air. There is a ton of talent on the offensive side of the ball with the likes of Jones, Isaiah Hodgins, Darius Slayton, Darren Waller, Jalin Hyatt and Wan’Dale Robinson all capable of making big plays. Emphasis on getting the ball into the Giants’ playmaker’s hands will be paramount to a clean ball game and, potentially, a win.

We all saw what the offense was capable of in the second half of the Cardinals game in week 2, and success does not come without taking risks. The coaching staff needs to be comfortable in taking risks and letting Daniel Jones play his game. Even with the Seahawks secondary banged up, the Giants have to be aggressive early and find ways to extend drives and put points on the board. Sometimes, wearing down a defense just by controlling possession will make or break a ball game.

Both teams are coming into the game with injury woes

Giants starting LT Andrew Thomas has already been ruled out and his status is up in the air for week 5 against Miami. Thomas tried to practice this past Thursday, but he just didn’t feel right. The hamstring injury that he suffered in week 1 continues to linger and will keep him out of play for the third week in a row. Saquon Barkley is doubtful and all signs point to him not playing. He made progress in practice this past week but it wasn’t enough for the Giants to give him the greenlight for Monday’s game.

The Seahawks come into this one with a flurry of injury woes. Their injury report from this past Friday felt like half the team was on it.

Tre Brown and Artie Burns have been ruled out and Coby Bryant is trending toward being out for this one. All three have pretty large roles as nickel corners in the Seahawk defense, and with them all possibly out, that could mean more opportunities for slot players like Wan’Dale Robinson and Parris Campbell. The pressure will certainly be on Pete Carroll and his staff to have other guys ready to step in with three corners most likely out. Starting tackle Charles Cross is doubtful with a toe injury and is another notable loss coming into this one. Cross has been fantastic holding down the LT position and protecting Geno Smith’s blindside. The 2022 first round pick will most likely be replaced by Stone Forsythe, a former sixth round pick from the 2021 draft, if he doesn’t play.

Final Thoughts

This is a winnable game for the Giants. Home game. Monday night. Trying to get back on track after two weeks on the west coast. This could be the game in which they try to build some momentum before heading back out on the road.

The Seahawks are certainly not a team anyone should be sleeping on though, they are strong on both sides of the ball and are led by future Hall of Fame coach Pete Carroll.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Giants have to stop the run, fill gaps and wrap up when tackling in order to be successful. Offensively, they must throw the ball and attack a Seahawks secondary that is limping into this one and missing key players.

This game will by no means be a snoozer and I expect points to be scored at a high clip. There should be a lot of questions answered come Tuesday for the Giants and it will end with the them either sitting at a balanced 2-2 or a paltry 1-3.


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