Crushed Optimists

We are twin brothers who grew up in Central Washington. This blog is devoted to the life of Seattle sports fans, as well as various other topics that we will espouse for your enjoyment. We could be called another OFFICIAL SEATTLE SEAHAWKS site, but we'll take our uneducated crack at the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies as well. A Seattle Sports Blog? Must be the land... of crushed optimism!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Week Three: NY Giants at SEATTLE

This game is going to be crazy.

That pretty much sums it up. Every other little item, albeit absurdly clever, that I could write about this game fails to describe it accurately. These two teams are going to play some football.

Flashback to last season...

Every year the Seattle Pacific University choir has a Choral Extravaganza at Benaroya Hall, and it happened to fall on the particular Sunday the 8-2 Hawks were going up against the Giants with home field advantage in the playoffs up for grabs. With a family member singing (love you, Jess!) I was only able to watch the first half, and tape the second. The first half was a decidedly underwhelming effort by the Hawks, and I wasn't looking forward to watching the recorded rest upon getting back to my apartment.

I successfully made it back without hearing the final score, and I turned on the game with the rest of the family. The Giants comeback was simply excruciating, as the refs gave the Giants two touchdowns (have to remember that), and as Jay Feely set up for that field goal at the end of regulation, I pressed the fast forward button... and then watched incredulously as the fans in the stadium started to celebrate. As the overtime continued and the field goals continued, the situation got more and more surreal, as Tom Coughlin refused to press the attack once he crossed the 30 yard line, and frankly, setting up Jay Feely to have to hit difficult field goals. I will never forget the shot of Jeremy Shockey hamming it up to the camera during one of those attempts, and then turning in shock as it was missed. We rewound that particular moment about fifty times over the next week.

All that to say, these teams remember, and these teams will be there to play.

Five "Gut" Reasons for Optimism

1. Julian Peterson will provide some underneath coverage we didn't have last year. Jeremy Shockey ate us alive over the middle, and we simply could not stay with him, and could not stay with many tight ends over the season. Our coverage on short routes this season so far has been unbelievable. Remember, Marcus Pollard of Detroit was their leading receiver last season, and we really shut him out. If Shockey can be contained, that offense will be hamstrung.

2. Welcome Deion Branch! He may not make a tremendous impact, but the Giants will have to account for him on the field, and that will stretch that weak secondary all the more.

3. Welcome Chris Spencer! Anyone who watched the game last week noticed the impact Spencer had on the second half of that game. Shaun may be able to cut back far more this week, and Spencer will help Walter Jones with that Osi Umenyiora fellow.

4. Shaun Alexander is due. Look... there is nothing statistical about this, but he is far too good a running back to not have a 100 yard day. This will be the day.

5. Hasselbeck can't be worse. We beat the Cardinals by a bunch with Hasselbeck really struggling. Look for him to take advantage of that weak Giants secondary (more on that later).

Five "Gut" Reasons for Pessimism

1. Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer. We may have been able to limit Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, but Burress and Toomer have been utterly on fire, catching balls they have no business coming down with.

2. Tiki Barber. It might have taken into overtime, but he was the first 100 yard back our defense allowed, and it's behind the same offensive line. Small quick backs give us trouble, especially in pass routes. We have to be disciplined in our gap coverage and blitz schemes.

3. The Pass Rush. They may not have been great in the first couple of games, but Strahan and Umenyiora dominated us, especially Walter Jones. I hadn't seen him get beaten that badly in years. I'm sure Walter remembers it, but he has looked shaky the first couple of weeks and needs to step it up and give Hasselbeck time.

4. Special Teams have been awful. In a game that's going to be close, we can't have blocked field goals and 15 yard punts. At some point this needs to get a lot better, at least to mediocre.

5. The refs. Two touchdowns last year, my friends, including one the league actually copped to later.

It's All About The Stats

1. Five false starts last week. 11 last year. This crowd is going to be absolutely nuts. I know it. I'll be there.

2. Hawks are ranked 4th in DVOA against the rush after the first two weeks. Giants are 15th against the rush. Advantage: Alexander.

3. The Giants and their revamped secondary are 28th against the pass in DVOA. This HAS to be a huge deal, and right now is why I think we win this game.

This game is going to be crazy and could be the game of the week. Everyone must watch.

The Hawks will win.

posted by Gavin @ 12:28 PM  0 comments

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