Seattle Seahawks vs. Cincinnati Bengals: Prediction, preview, pick to win

By The Sports Xchange  |  Oct. 19, 2017 at 4:41 PM
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SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (3-2) AT NEW YORK GIANTS (1-5)

KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, MetLife Stadium. TV: CBS, Andrew Catalon, James Lofton.

SERIES HISTORY: 18th regular-season meeting. Giants lead series, 9-8. The Seahawks have won the last three meetings, including the last two at MetLife Stadium. Seattle is 4-0 at MetLife, including their victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.

KEYS TO THE GAME: Seattle's defense is geared to stop opposing passing attacks. With an offense as ravaged by injuries at wide receiver as the Giants bring into this matchup, the Seahawks need to slow a rushing attack that found success last week against Denver and force the game into Eli Manning's hands. A lead built by the offense wouldn't hurt either, though the Seahawks have struggled to do so through the first five games of the year.

The Seahawks have struggled to run the ball ever since losing Chris Carson to a season-ending ankle injury. Eddie Lacy and Thomas Rawls are averaging 3.0 and 1.8 yards, while quarterback Russell Wilson (5.1 yards per rush average) has had to take up the cause.

The Giants' run defense, which had been giving up over 100 yards per game in the first five games, managed to shut down the Broncos, holding them to 46 yards on 17 carries.

The Seahawks' offensive line has struggled to create rushing lanes; so, if the Giants can replicate the success they had last week with plugging up the running lanes, they will give themselves a good chance at making the Seahawks one-dimensional.

Offensively, the Giants' best bet might be to continue riding the running game, which last week exploded for a season-high 148 yards on 32 carries (4.6 yards per carry). This year, the Seahawks run defense has allowed six runs of at least 25 yards -- two more than they allowed in 16 games last season.

The Giants are expected to stick with the same offensive line configuration of Ereck Flowers, John Jerry, Brett Jones, D.J. Fluker and Justin Pugh this week, and the same one-two running back punch of Orleans Darkwa (5.7 yards ypc) and rookie Wayne Gallman (4.1 ypc). If the running game can continue to find success, that could ensure things remain open for tight end Evan Engram, who last week had his best performance of his young career.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH:

--Giants TE Evan Engram vs. Seahawks SS Kam Chancellor. The Seahawks will likely try to avoid this matchup as much as possible as Engram is more a receiver than a tight end. However, Engram could wind up drawing Chancellor in man-to-man situations occasionally and Chancellor will have to find a way to cover the Giants' best receiving option.

--Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin vs. Giants CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Baldwin leads the Seahawks with 27 receptions for 284 yards and a touchdown. When Baldwin moves to the slot, he'll likely face Rodgers-Cromartie, who is returning from a one-week suspension. Rodgers-Cromartie will need to put behind him the events of the past week to focus on disrupting the Wilson-Baldwin slot connection.

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Seahawks DE Frank Clark. Clark has 2.5 sacks this season, including a strip-sack of Jared Goff in the Seahawks' win over the Los Angeles Rams two weeks ago. He'll get a chance to shine in primarily facing off against Giants left tackle Ereck Flowers this week. With Cliff Avril going on injured reserve, Clark will continue to start.

FAST FACTS: Seattle QB Russell Wilson has run for a TD in four of the past six games vs. the NFC East. He ran for a TD in the last meeting with the Giants. ... WR Doug Baldwin has 14 receptions for 207 yards (103.5 per game) and two TDs in two New York games vs. the Giants. He has 22 receiving TDs since 2015, third-most in the NFL. ... TE Jimmy Graham has 10 catches for 140 yards and two TDs in two games vs. the Giants. Since 2010, he ranks second among NFL tight ends in receptions (520), yards (6,459) and TD catches (60). ... DE Michael Bennett has 3.5 sacks in his past four road games. He has two sacks and a forced fumble in his past two meetings and eight sacks and two forced fumbles in his past nine vs. the NFC East. ... S Earl Thomas had seven tackles, a forced fumble and an interception in Week 5. He has picked off a pass in three straight vs. the Giants. ... CB Richard Sherman had two interceptions in the last meeting in New York. He has 26 INTs since 2012, most in the NFL. ... Giants QB Eli Manning has thrown for 1,028 yards (342.7 per game), six TDs and one INT in his past three games vs. the NFC West. He ranks third in the NFL with 148 completions. ... RB Orleans Darkwa led New York with 117 rushing yards last week, his first 100-yard game. He has 202 scrimmage yards in the past two games. ... TE Evan Engram is tied for third in receptions (24), ranks second in yards (282) and is tied for second in TD catches (2) among NFL rookies. ... DE Jason Pierre-Paul led New York with eight tackles and tied a career-high with three sacks last week. He has 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in his past three home games. He has 12 tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble in the past two meetings. ... CB Janoris Jenkins forced a fumble and returned a pick 43 yards for a TD last week. He has six career TDs off interceptions, tied for second most among active players.

PREDICTION: The Giants will have a tough time carrying over their Week 6 offensive success against the Seahawks' stout defense.

OUR PICK: Seahawks, 23-13.

--Chris Cluff

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