The Seattle Seahawks continue to impress, from rookies to quarterback, offensive start to defensive improvement, from coaching to culture. Finally, the play of the team has caught up to the decision-makers, and the Seahawks are favored against a team with a better record for the first time this season.
Seattle will host the 6-1 New York Giants, and are three-point home favorites according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
The Giants are one of the weirder NFL teams in a gloriously weird year. Daniel Jones is 5th in the league in unexpected categories like total QBR and even EPA (expected points added per play). Saquon Barkley has been the hero, alongside a stout defense and some fortuitous bounces.
Here are the biggest storylines and matchups of the Week 8 contest:
Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner
This is the only game in Week 8 in which both teams have a winning record. That means nothing as far as matchups or who holds the edge, it’s simply ridiculous.
Saquon vs Run Defense
After giving up over 110 yards on the ground every game to open the season, the Seahawks held opponents running backs to 36 and 76 yards the last two weeks.
Saquon Barkley currently averages 103.7 yards per game and has looked every bit like someone drafted 2nd overall. The new defensive mindset, about which Pete Carroll has been very cagey, involves being more aggressive attacking gaps. Seattle has to be able to continue this, and the re-arrival of Shelby Harris looked like it was a huge benefit against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Geno Smith vs the original play call
An absolutely unexpected component of Smith’s ‘22 emergence has been his wild success with audibles. Reportedly he did it with Rashaad Penny’s first big touchdown of the year, and the first TD to Marquise Goodwin is just one of many more examples.
I'm losing count of how many times Geno has audibled into the touchdown play this season. https://t.co/skvgIQ9BOG— Field Gulls (@FieldGulls) October 26, 2022
Smith’s been pretty consistent in his ability to do this, and will likely need a little creativity again to beat a good Giants defense.
Daniel Jones vs Jordyn Brooks & Tariq Woolen & Himself
Jones is coming off an NFC Player of the Week award, if you can believe it.
NFC Players of the Week! (Week 7)@Daniel_Jones10 | @MJW_era | @cairosantos19 pic.twitter.com/FxHlSHjOmZ— NFL (@NFL) October 26, 2022
It wasn’t his best game of the season and it wasn’t even his best game through the air. It’s driven in large part by his 107 yards on the ground.
This - and I can’t believe we’re here as a society - might be a good thing for Seattle.
The absolute desolation of Seahawks defense has often been mobile quarterbacks willing to scramble or take the check down. But things are changing under Clint Hurtt, and both of the previous two quarterbacks serve as a perfect example not named Lamar Jackson.
Kyler Murray was able to run against the defense, but it came as a willing sacrifice, while the team completely shut down all other elements of the run game as well as much of the deep pass. Justin Herbert with the Chargers was quite similar. While nobody would say Herbert is on top-5 running QB level, he is incredibly hard to bring down. Yet the Seattle defense had a season-high pressure attack against Los Angeles, sacked him the most this season, all the while decimating the rest of the run game. This new gap integrity by the defense, bolstered in the back by Jordyn Brooks team-high tackles and Tariq Woolen simply not allowing anything, is exactly what the Seahawks need to put forth.
In short, make the game about Saquon Barkley, and make that part of the game difficult. It’s a tall task but Seattle should be up for it.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
Prediction: Seahawks 27, Giants 20.