For the 12s: New York Giants

Seattle’s Cortez Kennedy tackling New York’s Rodney Hampton in a game prior to 2012

For the 12s is a recurring installment at Seattle Sportsnet. Every week we’ll preview the Seahawks’ upcoming opponent, with each gameday primer geared towards those individuals who have been fans of the Seattle Seahawks since no earlier than 2012.

The only thing giant about New York’s second-best football team right now is the number of losses they’ve accrued in the season’s first six weeks. At 1-5, the lowly G-men somehow managed to escape their winless start to 2017 with a wholly unexpected road victory in Denver a week ago. The thin air, it seems, must have kept Eli Manning’s passes from being intercepted.

Once upon a time, however, the Giants were quite good! They’ve won a pair of championships in the last decade and are the only thing besides Roger Goodell and fully inflated footballs that seem to slow down the New England Patriots.

Interestingly enough, the rise of New York’s Super Bowl contending teams coincided with the evolution of the Seahawks as we know them today.

Back in 2005, the Giants and Seahawks were a pair of up-and-coming NFC contenders who met on a cold November night in Seattle for what would become an instant classic of a contest. That evening, Giants kicker Jay Feely famously missed three field goals, including the potential game-winner late in regulation. Shortly thereafter, Josh Brown, a kicker who played for the Seahawks prior to 2012, notched the decisive three points for Seattle when his attempt sailed through the uprights and secured the win. The Seahawks would use the momentum from that victory to help propel them to an NFC title and a trip to Super Bowl XL.

As fate would have it, the Giants surpassed the Hawks in excellence in the years that followed. Behind a stout offensive line and a solid defensive front, New York quickly emerged as a perennial postseason fixture.

One key contributor on those Giants teams of the 2000s was defensive lineman Michael Strahan, who many 12s likely recognize as the former male half of Live! with Kelly and Michael. Before he was hosting talk shows and game shows, appearing in since-canceled sitcoms, and carrying Terry Bradshaw’s kegerator to the set of Fox NFL Sunday, Michael Strahan was indeed a football player. Crazy, I know.

Perhaps no one has been more synonymous with the Giants franchise in recent years than the aforementioned quarterback, Eli Manning. The brother of the guy who stars in those Papa John’s ads, Eli was selected first overall in the 2004 Draft by the San Diego Chargers. After holding the team hostage and threatening to never play a down of football in San Diego, the Chargers quickly turned around and dealt their selection to New York in exchange for quarterback Philip Rivers.

Blessed with youthful good(?) looks, Eli grew up in the shadows of his more famous dad and brother, who themselves had plied the trade of signal-calling prior to 2012.

Manning’s career in the Big Apple has been enigmatic, to say the least. At times, he is simply one of the best passers in the game. Of late, though, he has typically been far from elite.

Beset by injuries and underperformance, the 2017 Giants have already lost their most explosive playmaker for the season in wideout Odell Beckham, Jr. Arguably the top receiver in the game when healthy, Beckham, Jr. is the son of former LSU running back Odell Beckham, who carried the ball for the Tigers some twenty years before 2012.

Rookie tight end Evan Engram has recently come on strong for New York. The first-year pass-catcher was selected 23rd overall in the 2017 Draft out of the University of Mississippi and possesses a hefty amount of talent to go along with lofty expectations. Coincidentally, Engram also shares a last name (though no apparent relation) with former wideout Bobby Engram. Bobby Engram was a standout slot receiver who played for the Seahawks prior to 2012.

The running game has been a trouble area for the Giants this season. Tailback Paul Perkins, a UCLA product, began the year as the starter before struggling so badly that his ribs injured themselves. Rookie Wayne Gallman, a fourth-round selection out of Clemson, then picked up the slack and capably toted the rock for a while. Finally, it was Orleans Darkwa, a veteran backup from Tulane, of all places, who emerged in recent weeks as the starter. Though not known as a football power by any means, Tulane University has produced a handful of decent NFL players over the years. Among the most notable Green Wave alums is former quarterback J.P. Losman, a one-time Buffalo Bills starter who briefly played for the Seahawks in Pete Carroll’s first season at the helm. This, of course, came prior to 2012.

The Giants are coached by Ben McAdoo, who has the body of a dad, the mustache of the last guy you’d ever want to see staring at you in a bar, and the hairstyle of Pat Riley, an NBA legend who coached the Lakers, Knicks, and Heat well before 2012. The slow start to the season has put McAdoo squarely on the hot seat in New York. A loss to the Seahawks on Sunday could eliminate what little job security he has left.

The Giants and Seahawks have only met 17 times in their respective histories, with New York leading the series by a slim margin of 9-8. Seattle has won both meetings between the clubs since 2012, however, and a victory this weekend would extend the Seahawks’ winning streak to four and even up all the all-time record.

Coming off a bye, the Seahawks should be well-rested and ready for action. Enjoy the game, 12s!

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