No team spends more of its salary cap on the defensive side of the ball than the Seattle Seahawks, but the runners-up are the New York Giants, who went on a major spending spree in the 2016 offseason. The defense-heavy acquisitions were key to the Giants making the playoffs last season, but that unit has largely underperformed this season, ranking an uninspiring 22nd in DVOA.
Perhaps spurred on by playing a mediocre offense last Sunday, the Giants were able to shut down the Denver Broncos and win 23-10, with Janoris Jenkins intercepting a Trevor Siemian pass and taking it back for a big touchdown just before halftime. The only TD allowed by the Giants was late in the 4th quarter to third-string TE Jeff Heuerman, which really isn’t a surprise, because New York has had a very difficult time covering tight ends even dating back to 2016.
After ranking 26th vs. TEs last year, the Giants are still only 20th through the first six weeks of this year. For a glaring statistic, New York’s defense has already allowed seven touchdowns to TEs, including at least one in every game this season.
Week 1 (vs. Cowboys)
Jason Witten: 7 catches/59 yards/1 TD (9 targets)
Week 2 (at Lions)
Eric Ebron: 5 catches/42 yards/1 TD (5 targets)
Darren Fells: 1 catch/3 yards (1 target)
Week 3 (at Eagles)
Zach Ertz: 8 catches/55 yards/1 TD (10 targets)
Trey Burton: 2 catches/7 yards (3 targets)
Week 4 (at Buccaneers)
Cameron Brate: 4 catches/80 yards/1 TD (6 targets)
O.J. Howard: 2 catches/63 yards/1 TD (4 targets)
Week 5 (vs. Chargers)
Hunter Henry: 3 catches/42 yards/1 TD (8 targets)
Antonio Gates: 2 catches/23 yards (3 targets)
Week 6 (at Broncos)
Jeff Heuerman: 2 catches/24 yards/1 TD (2 targets)
Virgil Green: 1 catch/24 yards (1 target)
A.J. Derby: 1 catch/10 yards (4 targets)
38 catches (on 56 yargets) for 432 yards (11.36 YPC) and 7 touchdowns
Seattle’s tight ends (Jimmy Graham, Luke Willson, and Nick Vannett) have caught 31 passes (on 48 targets) for 276 yards (8.9 YPC) and 3 touchdowns. A Seahawks TE has caught a touchdown pass in each of the last three games, with Graham finally getting his first score of the season in the win over the Rams. You better believe I’m hoping that this is a big day for Jimmy Graham, with supporting roles from Willson and (even less so) Vannett.
Also of note, the Giants are #23 in DVOA covering running backs. Sounds like a day to heavily involve J.D. McKissic and C.J. Prosise, if you ask me.
I don’t want to go too overboard with confidence given the inconsistencies of the Seahawks offense, but there are very favorable matchups against the Giants defense that Seattle should be more than capable of exploiting.