When: Sunday, 1:05 p.m., Qwest Field
Record: 5-2, first in the NFC East and riding a four-game winning streak coming out of their bye week
Where they rank: No. 3 on offense (4th rushing, tied for 8th passing); No. 2 on defense (3rd rushing, 2nd passing)
Series: Giants lead 8-5, including a 44-6 win at Giants Stadium in the meeting (Oct. 5, 2008). But the Seahawks have won the past two games at Qwest – 42-30 in 2006 and 24-21 in overtime in 2005.
Star power: Ahmad Bradshaw. Eli Manning might be the face – and arm – of the franchise, but Bradshaw provides the legs. Despite being off last week, he ranks fourth in the league in rushing (708 yards) and is averaging 5.3 yards per carry. He’s also eighth in combined rushing and receiving yards (813). So even though the Giants are passing (239) more than they’re running (212), Bradshaw has been a productive factor in both phases. That’s because he has emerged as the feature back. His 134 carries in seven games are 29 fewer than he got all of last season.
“We always knew he had the potential,” running backs coach Jerald Ingram said of Bradshaw, a seventh-round draft choice in 2007 who runs bigger than he is (5-9, 198). “And the more carries you get as a running back, the better you are. He just now took it to a point to where he wants to be fed. He wants that on his back, and he wants to be the guy that makes a difference in what he does and he wants to win.”
Prior to the Giants’ bye, Bradshaw was leading the NFL in rushing, with 24 yards more than the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson and 46 more than the Titans’ Chris Johnson – the backs who led the league in rushing the past two seasons.
Unsung hero: Osi Umenyiora. Unsung? How can a guy who has been voted to the Pro Bowl twice and led his team in sacks in five of the past six seasons be unsung? It’s all relative. Last season, Umenyiora was benched because of his play against the run and finished with seven sacks. This season, he already has eight sacks to rank second in the league and seven forced fumbles to lead the league. All this despite playing with a bothersome right knee that causes him to sit out practice on Wednesday and get limited reps on Thursday and Friday. Umenyiora’s rejuvenated play as prompted linemate Chris Canty to wonder “if this guy has a cape on or something.”
On the spot: Manning’s receivers. The Giants’ QB has thrown 11 interceptions, which ties for most in the league. But seven of them hit the intended target before being intercepted. The best of those intended targets, however, has been Hakeem Nicks. He is tied for second in the league in touchdown catches (eight) and tied for sixth in receptions (45).
Burning question: Who is Adam Koets? Sunday, he’ll be the Giants’ starting center because Shaun O’Hara is sidelined with a sprained ligament in his right foot. Koets was a sixth-round draft choice in 2007, but made his first starts this season when O’Hara was out with an injured left foot.
Familiar faces: SS Deon Grant started for the Seahawks the past three seasons and also was a defensive co-captain. DT Rocky Bernard started for the Seahawks from 2006-08.
The last word: “We feel that we have an explosive offense. Sometimes you’re going to throw the ball over the middle and you know if it gets tipped up it’s going to get intercepted. There’s a little risk in it. We have to be smarter in some of those things.” – Manning, who also has thrown 14 TD passes, on the interceptions