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Countdown to kickoff

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.Y. – Greetings from MetLife Stadium, where the Seahawks will play for the first time when they matchup against the New York Giants this afternoon (or morning, if you’re in Seattle). The kickoff and coverage on Fox (channel 13 in Seattle) is schedule for 10 a.m. PDT.

It’s a gorgeous early-Autumn day, so we figured this was a good time to revisit what has been a lightning-rod issue for the Seahawks: Tarvaris Jackson.

Coach Pete Carroll has been saying since the club signed the former Vikings QB that, given time, Jackson could be productive passer in the offense that he learned under coordinator Darrell Bevell the past five seasons in Minnesota.

Some fans, however, weren’t willing to give Jackson the time to allow that to happen. But in the past six quarters, Jackson has not been sacked and the improved protection has allowed him to take more shots down the field – like on his 52-yard TD pass to Sidney Rice in the second quarter of last week’s two-point loss to the Falcons; and go to this second and even third options – like on his 8-yard TD to Ben Obomanu in the fourth quarter last week.

In those six quarters, Jackson has completed 34 of 53 passes (64 percent) for 408 yards, with three touchdowns. He also ran for a TD against the Cardinals.

It might be difficult for the line or Jackson to continue this productive pace today, because of the pressure the Giants are able to generate on the passer. It’s unlikely that Justin Tuck will play because of a neck injury. He practiced on Thursday, but was unable to go Friday. The Giants got Osi Umenyiora back for the first time last week, after he had arthroscopic knee surgery in August, and he responded with two sacks and a forced fumble.

But even in their absences, the Giants have been able to generate pressure off the edges with Jason Pierre-Paul, who has 4½ sacks; and Dave Tollefson, who has three.

“We just need to take care of the football,” Jackson said this week. “They’re going to rush the passer. They’re going to get to you sometimes. So you’ve got to make sure that when they do you don’t do anything stupid and make any big mistakes, like turn the football over.

“Make sure you secure the ball in the pocket. That’s pretty much it.”

Another problem for the Seahawks is that the Giants have not had to blitz much because they’re able to get the job done with a four-man rush – regardless of who those four might be. That will allow them to use more players in coverage against the Seahawks receiving corps that will be missing Mike Williams (concussion).

So, will Jackson be able to continue making plays when he has less time?

“We’ve been together such a short time and we feel like we’re growing,” Jackson said. “Everybody is looking forward – as a team, and as an offense – to see what we can do.”

On the defense, it’s looking like the Seahawks won’t have to deal with 264-pound running back Brandon Jacobs, who has averaged 8.2 yards against them in the past. He is listed as doubtful because of a knee injury.

But there’s still leading rusher Ahmad Bradshaw, who had 57 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries during the Giants’ 41-7 victory in Seattle last November; and D.J. Ware, who ran for 66 yards on 13 carries in garbage time in that game.

It’s imperative that the Seahawks put the Giants in third-and-long situations so they can try to pressure Eli Manning into making mistakes. Manning has thrown only two interceptions – compared to a career-high 25 last season. Manning was 21 of 32 for 290 yards, with three TDs and no picks, in that Week 9 game at Qwest Field (now CenturyLink Field). And the Seahawks did not sack him.

So the pressure points in this game will intersection at the QBs.


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Cyber surfing: Sunday

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Oct. 9:

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times examines the Seahawks’ no-huddle offense that has served them so well in the second halves of their past two games. Offers O’Neil: “Hurry up. That’s been the key to whatever offensive success Seattle has found this season. ‘I’ve felt us being much more aggressive in that mode,’ coach Pete Carroll said. So expect Seattle to try to squeal its tires Sunday in New York against the Giants. The Seahawks will attempt to sustain the momentum that was generated last week in a defeat that had a silver lining.” He’s also got a preview box for today’s game.

Dave Boling at the New Tribune looks at the recent death of former Seahawk Joe Tofflemire, who was only 46. Says Boling: “Heart failure was considered the cause of Joe Tofflemire’s death last week. But football contributed. ‘Heart failure, yes, but in truth, Joe was dealing with a lot of things,’ said his brother Paul. ‘In some ways, his whole body was shot.’ The painful effects of surgeries to fuse vertebrae and rebuild his shoulder with titanium parts left him struggling to get out of bed and walk. And, Paul said, doctors had started tests for the onset of early dementia caused by the numerous concussions Joe suffered in a lifetime of football.”

Also at the News Tribune, Eric Williams also takes a look at the Seahawks’ no-huddle. Says Williams: “As Carroll suggests, the reason Seattle is using the no-huddle more is simple – they have been better converting third downs and staying on the field when the offense is sped up. Opponents’ offenses have a 35:27 to 24:32 time of possession advantage per game over Seattle. And the Seahawks have run 39 fewer plays than their opponents this season.”

John Boyle of the Everett Herald looks at why the second half last week might be a turning point for the offense. Says Boyle: “For the Seahawks to have a chance in New York today, they’ll need that suddenly confident offense to pick up where it left off against the Falcons. Slow starts have been an Achilles heel for the Seahawks this season, and falling behind on the road against a good Giants team would likely be a recipe for another loss and a 1-4 record heading into the bye.”

Christian Caple at PI.com has five things to watch in today’s game. At No. 3: “Giants quarterback Eli Manning and coach Tom Coughlin each spoke at length this week about how much better Manning has been this year at not making poor decisions with his throws. That’s important for New York, because Manning’s penchant for picks last season was one of the reasons the Giants failed to make the playoffs. He threw 25 interceptions last season. So far this year, Manning has tossed eight touchdowns and two picks, a much more acceptable pace. And his 105.6 passer rating is the third-highest in the NFL.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we take a look at the plight of the Seahawks in today’s game. We’ve also got the usual matchup box, as well as Tony Ventrella’s video preview.

The big news around the league, of course, was the death of Al Davis on Saturday. Gil Brandt of NFL.com remembers the Raiders’ owner. Says Brandt: “One of the reasons the NFL is the NFL is because of Al Davis. The league is as successful as it is today in large part because of things Davis brought to the game. He created rivalries, was influential as part of the new league’s competition committee, became an innovator in the passing game and always thought years in advance as to what trends would emerge.”


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Cyber surfing: Saturday

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Oct. 8:

Mike Sando at ESPN.com has his “Final Word” for all the teams in the NFC West heading into Week 5, including this item on Marshawn Lynch: “The Seahawks’ offensive line took pride in allowing no sacks in its most recent game. A repeat performance on the road against the New York Giants isn’t realistic. However, this game does give the Seahawks an opportunity to improve their unproductive ground game. The Giants have allowed 100-yard rushers in their past two games. The Seahawks have failed to top 64 yards rushing in three of their four games. Marshawn Lynch has gained 61 percent of his rushing yards after contact this season, the fourth-highest percentage in the league, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Seattle’s line needs to keep defenders off him a little longer.”

Sando also has an item on how the Seahawks are better prepared to play without Mike Williams, last season’s leading receiver who won’t play against the Giants because of the concussion he got last week.

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times has more on Williams’ situation, as well as the team’s other injuries. Offers O’Neil: “Nine different players caught passes for the Seahawks last Sunday. Seven finished with three or more receptions. Seattle is going to need every bit of that receiving depth in New York on Sunday with starting wide receiver Mike Williams out because of a concussion, tight end Zach Miller coming back from a sore knee and rookie Kris Durham slowed by a hamstring injury.”

Dave Boling at the News Tribune has the word on cornerback Marcus Trufant, who did not practice for the second consecutive back on Friday because of back spasms. Says Boling: “The other major injury issue facing the Hawks as they prepared to fly to New Jersey for their first visit to the new MetLife Stadium was that of cornerback Marcus Trufant, who encountered lower back spasms. ‘It happened in the (Atlanta) game, and it didn’t really tighten up until Wednesday at practice,’ (coach Pete) Carroll said. ‘So we’ll see how he’s doing. He looks like he’ll be OK.’ Trufant had been playing well, with nine tackles against Atlanta and an interception the previous week in a win over Arizona. Second-year corner Walter Thurmond will get the start if Trufant is sidelined.”

Christian Caple at PI.com looks at the acting debut of Sidney Rice. Says Caple: “Rice appeared in the opening scene of the season premier of FX’s “The League,” a comedy about a group of friends who are hyper-competitive about their fantasy football league. One of the show’s characters, Ruxin (played by Nick Kroll), celebrates his 2010 championship by filming a parody of the 1985 Chicago Bears’ “Super Bowl Shuffle” titled “Shiva Bowl Shuffle.” The Shiva Bowl is the name of the fantasy league’s championship game. (As for where that name comes from, it’s a long story. A funny one, but long nonetheless.)”

Here at Seahawks.com, we take a look at the success the run defense has had, and the task that awaits them against the Giants. There’s also a look at Friday’s travel-day practice in words and video.

Clark Judge at CBSSports.com looks at this weekend’s games in the NFL with his “Peek at the Week.”


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Seahawks at Giants

When: Sunday, 10 a.m. PDT, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.

Records: Seahawks 1-3; Giants 3-1

TV: KCPQ/13, with Thom Brenneman, Troy Aikman and Pam Oliver

Radio: 710 ESPN and 97.3 FM, with Steve Raible, Warren Moon and Jen Mueller

The rest of the West: 49ers (3-1) vs. Tampa Bay; Cardinals (1-3) at Minnesota; Rams (0-4), bye

Matchup microscope

Seahawks DEs Chris Clemons and Raheem Brock vs. Giants QB Eli Manning: This is actually the Seahawks’ entire defense vs. Manning, who is on a roll with a 105.6 passer rating and eight TD passes compared to two interceptions. In his past two games against the Seahawks, Manning has been even better – with a 130.5 rating while completing 40 of 57 passes for 557 yards with five TDs and no interceptions. The best way to disrupt the Giants’ 13th-ranked passing game is to disrupt Manning. That, of course, starts with Clemons and Brock being able to pressure the Giants’ QB off the edges. Neither had a sack last week, and that needs to change this week.

One to watch

Seahawks CB Brandon Browner vs. Giants WR Hakeem Nicks: In his first four NFL games, Browner has matched up against the 49ers’ Michael Crabtree, the Steelers’ Mike Wallace, the Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald and the Falcons’ Julio Jones. As coach Pete Carroll put it last week, “Every week it’s monster players.” This week, it’s Nicks, who caught 10 passes for 162 yards in the Giants’ come-from-behind win at Arizona last week. Nicks leads the Giants with 24 receptions, and 14 of his catches have produced first downs. The Giants will move Nicks around, flanking or splitting him to either side and also lining him up in the slot. But when matched against Nick, Browner needs to win those matchups.

Fun to watch

The Seahawks run defense vs. Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw and maybe Brandon Jacobs: The 264-pound Jacobs has averaged 8.3 yards in his previous matchups against the Seahawks, including a 136-yard, two-TD performance the last time the teams met on this site – Oct. 5, 2008. But he’s listed as doubtful with a knee injury and this Seahawks’ run defense is not that Seahawks’ run defense. In fact, only three players remain from that unit that gave up 254 rushing yards to the Giants: DT Brandon Mebane, LB Leroy Hill and CB Marcus Trufant. This season, the Seahawks’ run defense ranks 14th in the league and has yet to yield a 100-yard rusher. Bradshaw is the Giants’ leading rusher. He’s not as big as Jacobs, but is just as tough to bring down.

One tough task

Seahawks LT Russell Okung vs. Giants DE Osi Umenyiora: Seahawks QB Tarvaris Jackson has not been sacked in the past six quarters, after being sacked 14 times in the first 2½ games. Umenyiora returned last week after sitting out the first three games with a knee injury, and he had two sacks and a forced fumble. The Seahawks’ passing game is visibly – and statistically – better when the line keeps Jackson “clean,” but Okung will have his hands full in trying to get that done on Sunday.

Worth noting

The Giants are 6-1 against the Seahawks in the Meadowlands, but this will be the first time the Seahawks have played at the new stadium that opened last season. … The Giants have outscored their opponents 36-14 in the fourth quarter, a plus-22 margin that ranks third in the league behind the Lions (plus-51) and Falcons (plus-22). … The Seahawks have been outscored 53-10 in the second quarter and 67-13 in the first half. … FS Earl Thomas leads the Seahawks with 26 tackles, while FS Antrel Rolle leads the Giants with 29. … Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul has 4½ sacks to rank fourth in the league; and the Giants have 12, which ties for the third-highest total in the league. … The Giants are plus-4 in turnover ratio, the Seahawks minus-4. … The Giants and Seahawks rank 1-3 in the NFC in scoring percentage in the red zone. The Giants are at .900 (10 possessions, eight TDs, one field goal); the Seahawks at .875 (eight possessions, five TDs, two field goals). … They also rank 1-2 in the conference in average gain allowed on first downs. The Seahawks are at 4.32 yards; the Giants 4.89.


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Friday in Hawkville

A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Oct. 7:

FOCUS ON

Ben Obomanu. The focus shifts to the sixth-year wide receiver because Mike Williams will not play in Sunday’s game against the New York Giants in the Meadowlands. So Obomanu will start opposite Sidney Rice.

Williams got a concussion in last week’s game against the Atlanta Falcons and has yet to be cleared to practice.

“Ben’s a really good football player,” coach Pete Carroll said after today’s 100-minute practice. “We’d love to have Mike. But Obo is a very, very capable football player.”

Obomanu has 11 receptions, which ties him with Rice was second on the team – one behind slot receiver Doug Baldwin.

OPPONENT WATCH

Victor Cruz. He doesn’t even start, but the Giants’ second-year wide receiver is cutting into the snaps that Mario Manningham has been getting. Cruz is averaging 20.5 yards on his 11 catches, including touchdown receptions of 74 and 28 yards against the Eagles two weeks ago as part of his three-catch, 110-yard day. Last week, he had a career-high six catches for 98 yards against the Cardinals.

“Victor has played well for us the last couple weeks,” quarterback Eli Manning said this week. “He’s just a guy that’s learning, a guy that we’ve put in the slot some and he’s been playing outside. He does a good job once he catches the ball of making guys miss, making some big plays.

“He’s a tough guy and he wants to learn. He wants to get better. He’s putting in the effort in practice and in the meeting rooms to understand what he needs to do.”

INJURY REPORT

The official end-of-the-week status report, as released by the team:

Out

OG Robert Gallery (groin)

WR Mike Williams (concussion)

Doubtful

LB Malcolm Smith (hamstring)

CB Byron Maxwell (ankle)

Questionable

CB Marcus Trufant (back)

SS Kam Chancellor (quad)

WR Kris Durham (hamstring)

Probable

DT Anthony Hargrove (hamstring)

TE Zach Miller (knee)

Trufant did not practice for the second consecutive day, but Carroll said he expects the veteran corner to play against the Giants. Trufant tweaked his back against the Falcons, but it did not stiffen until Wednesday.

Chancellor participated in every phase of practice after being limited on Thursday. He is expected to start. Durham injured a hamstring during practice, but Carroll expects him to be able to play on Sunday.

For the Giants:

Out

CB Prince Amukamara (foot)

C David Baas (stinger)

Doubtful

RB Brandon Jacobs (knee)

DL Justin Tuck (neck)

Probable

DT Rocky Bernard (ribs)

DE Osi Umenyiora (knee)

LB Michael Boley (knee)

STAT DU JOUR

The Seahawks have been a very good pre-bye week team – as in 16-6 good the week before their byes. Here’s a look at their previous pre-bye performances as they get ready for their bye next week:

Year     Outcome

1990    W, Kansas City, 19-7

1991    W, San Diego, 20-9

1992    L, at New York Giants, 23-10

1993    W, San Diego, 31-14

W, Cleveland, 22-5

1994    L, Denver, 16-9

1995    W, Cincinnati, 24-21

1996    W, at Miami, 22-15

1997    W, Tennessee, 16-13

1998    L, Denver, 21-16

1999    W, Oakland, 22-21

2000    W, at Jacksonville, 28-21

2001     W, Denver, 34-21

2002     W, Minnesota, 48-23

2003     W, St. Louis, 24-23

2004     W, San Francisco, 34-0

2005     W, Dallas, 13-10

2006     L, at Chicago, 37-6

2007     W, St. Louis, 33-6

2008     W, St. Louis, 37-13

2009     L, Arizona, 27-3

2010     L, St. Louis, 20-3

UP NEXT

The team flew to New Jersey today and will hold a walk-thru there on Saturday.

YOU DON’T SAY

“They’re a difficult team. They do a lot of really good stuff and hard stuff, and they have really good players doing it. So it just taxes you.” – Carroll on preparing for the 3-1 Giants


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On the road again

The Seahawks will be spending the weekend in the New York/New Jersey area.

Following this morning’s practice, the team will depart this afternoon for New Jersey and spend the next 48 hours there. Here’s a look at the itinerary for the trip:

Friday
3:30 p.m. • Charter flight departs SEA
11:15 p.m. (EDT) • Arrival at Newark

Saturday
11 a.m. (EDT) • Meetings at team hotel
1 p.m. (EDT) • Walk-thru
7:30 p.m. (EDT) • Eve-of-game meetings
11 p.m. (EDT) • Curfew

Sunday
9 a.m. (EDT) • Wake-up call
9:30 a.m. (EDT) • Buses depart for MetLife Stadium
1 p.m. (EDT) • Kickoff
6:30 p.m. (EDT) • Charter flight departs EWR
9 p.m. (PDT) • Arrival at SEA


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Media watch

Wondering how to watch, listen to or otherwise follow Sunday’s game at New York? Here’s all the pertinent media information for the Seahawks-Giants game:

  • Kickoff: 10 a.m. PDT (1 p.m. EDT)
  • TV • FOX (regional telecast)
  • TV announcers: Thom Brennaman, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver
  • Radio • 710 AM and 97.3 FM (and 45 other networks in five states and southwest Canada)
  • Radio announcers: Steve Raible, Warren Moon and Jen Mueller
  • Online play-by-play: NFL.com Game Center
  • Complete online coverage: Seahawks.com

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Cyber surfing: Friday

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Oct. 7:

John Boyle at the Everett Herald looks at the how the Seahawks team that will face the Giants on Sunday is nothing like the one that played them in Seattle last season. Says wide receiver Ben Obomanu: “It has no bearing. A lot of things are changed — personnel wise, and both teams are at different stages. … You never know what this game will bring. It’s different circumstances for both teams, and both teams are still trying to find themselves.”

Percy Allen at the Seattle Times looks at a situation that has coach Pete Carroll flummoxed: The Seahawks lack of turnovers through four games. Says Carroll: “It’s one of my most frustrating issues because we understand how important it is and how it works toward winning. We’re trying to do everything we can.”

Christian Caple at PI.com checks in with Marshawn Lynch, who believes the running game is about to start producing. Says Lynch: “What we’ve been — the running game — I don’t see it being like this for that much longer, with those guys getting the confidence that they’ve got and the running backs believing in them as well and them believing in themselves.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we look at Lynch’s spontaneous TD celebrations. Says Lynch: “It’s just like the moment just kind of takes over, and you go from there.” We’ve also got Thursday’s practice covered in words, pictures and video. And Tony Ventrella’s “Seahawks Insider” focuses on receivers coach Kippy Brown.

Peter King at SI.com has his picks for the weekend, and there’s no love for the Seahawks. Says King: “Eli Manning’s higher rated than Drew Brees (105.6 to 102.9), more accurate than Matt Ryan (64 to 62 percent), with more touchdown passes than Matt Schaub (eight to seven) and fewer picks than Tom Brady (two to five). Let’s not get too excited, but he’s on his way to his best regular season.”


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On this date

A look at a memorable moment in Seahawks history that occurred on Oct. 7:

2007: Fullback Mack Strong, who is playing in his 201st game for the Seahawks, suffers a career-ending neck injury in a loss to the Steelers in Pittsburgh.


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The day in pictures

Check out some images from Thursday’s practice, brought to you by Seahawks.com’s Brian Pan:


Safety Earl Thomas knocks away a pass intended for wideout Kris Durham. [Photo by Brian Pan, Seahawks.com] 


Defensive end Chris Clemons closes in on tailback Leon Washington. [Photo by Brian Pan, Seahawks.com]


Tarvaris Jackson drops back to pass. [Photo by Brian Pan, Seahawks.com] 


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