Seattle Seahawks @ New York Giants: Thank Evan for Engram - tight end to star in tight game

Evan Engram was the key player in New York's win over Denver
Evan Engram was the key player in New York's win over Denver

The Giants only have one win, but it was a mighty impressive one. Can they make it two in a row against Seattle? Here's Neil Harvey with a look ahead to Sunday's late game...

"I simply can't shake the feeling that the Giants are the team to be with. They must be brimming with self-belief after stuffing the Broncos. And Seattle worry me in that they've had a really soft run of games"

Seattle Seahawks @ New York Giants
Sunday October 22nd, 21:25 BST
TV - Live on Sky Sports Main Event


Just a week ago, picking the winner of this contest would have looked a no-brainer. But New York's recent 23-10 win in Denver changed all that. The Giants' victory was as comfortable as it was surprising. And it proved that there are no easy games in the NFL this year. So the 1-5 Giants are finally up and running. But can they reproduce Monday's magic against 3-2 Seattle?

Key men for the Giants

Monday's triumph was largely down to three things. First, New York's defense, which we always knew was good, finally showed up - 'big time' as Donald Trump would say. Second, Evan Engram at last demonstrated that receiving talent we'd been hearing about. Dubbed a wide receiver in tight end's clothing, Engram single-handedly filled the void left by injuries to Sterling Shepard and Odell Beckham, weighing in with 82 yards and a touchdown. And third, we discovered that Orleans Darkwa is in fact Batman. Just when everyone had given up on New York's running game as a lost cause, Darkwa emerged from the shadows to save the day. His display of power running came as a shocking revelation, to both Denver and New York.

In hindsight though, which is always 20-20, much of this could have been foreseen. For while Paul Perkins was labouring along like a donkey on the beach, one couldn't help wonder why Darkwa, who averaged 8.6 yards a carry against the Chargers, wasn't getting more of a chance at running back. That chance came against the Broncos' number two ranked run defense - and Darkwa seized it with both hands. So his quote of 63 yards here looks totally achievable. Darkwa's sure to be the fulcrum of New York's attack, and could also be used to salt away the clock if the Giants get in front.

Likewise, I expect another big game from Evan Engram. Shephard may return in the slot, but Engram remains the obvious target outside, and a big-bodied bullseye in the end zone to boot. Seattle have conceded over 60 yards on average to tight ends, making Engram, who's an above average receiver, an absolute bargain to pass his quote of 59 yards.

Four's a crowd

It's Seattle who start as the clear favourites. But I'd feel uneasy about backing them, in a game that could easily descend into trench warfare. Without a clear lead running back, it's a war the Seahawks look ill-equipped for. Thomas Rawls, Eddie Lacy, CJ Prosise and JD McKissic are all prone to injury. And together they form the most fragile run committee I have ever seen.

Gimme Jimmy

Seattle's attack will depend upon quarterback Russell Wilson, with Doug Baldwin, and increasingly now Jimmy Graham, being his go-to guys. But it's Wilson's running ability that catches my eye here. He's averaging 30 rushing yards a game and now faces a defense that's allowed an average of 20 yards, and to much less agile QBs. Wilson's quote of 20 rushing yards looks an absolute must bet on the Sportsbook.

Jimmy Graham is the Seahawks receiver I like the best. Nobody in the NFL has conceded more yards or more touchdowns to tight ends than the Giants. And Graham is just hitting form. I expect him to go over 55 yards receiving and nab a score to boot.

Conclusion

But I simply can't shake the feeling that the Giants are the team to be with. They must be brimming with self-belief after stuffing the Broncos. And Seattle worry me in that they've had a really soft run of games to date. The 49ers, Titans and Colts were all easy pickings. The Giants though will ask much tougher questions. If Eli Manning can keep clear of Seattle's potent pass rush and avoid turnovers then New York could spring another surprise here. But I'll settle for backing them with the 3.5 points headstart and the insurance that offers, in a game that could well come down to a field goal.


Recommended Bets
5pts Back New York Giants (+3.5) to win @ 2.0421/20
4pts Jimmy Graham receiving yards to be Over 55.5 @ 5/6
4pts Russell Wilson rushing yards to be Over 20.5 @ 5/6
3pts Evan Engram receiving yards to be Over 59.5 @ 1.9620/21
2pts Orleans Darkwa rushing yards to be over 63.5 @ 1.9620/21
1pt Evan Engram to score 1st Touchdown @ 13.012/1
1pt Jimmy Graham to score 1st Seattle TD @ 5/1

Get a Free £/€20 Exchange Bet

  • Join Now - Open account using promo code VAL225
  • Bet - Place a £/€20 Bet on the Exchange
  • Earn We'll Refund You £/€20 If the Bet Loses

T&Cs apply.

Discover the latest articles

Read past articles