The Seahawks are entering game No. 2 of their month-long stretch against subpar competition. This Sunday, they’ll host the Giants in Week 13 of the NFL season. A win will ensure that they maintain sole possession of first place in the NFC West.
Here are our five burning questions for the week with storylines you should be monitoring during the game.
1. Can Cedric Ogbuehi have a bounce back game at right tackle?
Ogbuehi was dreadful against the Eagles in Week 12. His holding penalty negated a Carlos Hyde touchdown run, and Pro Football Focus gave him a horrific game grade of 36.7. Brandon Shell (ankle) is listed as doubtful and is expected to miss his second-straight game. Pete Carroll said he expects a better performance from Ogbuehi this time around.
2. Will Chris Carson continue to have his touches limited?
Carson had just 10 total touches against the Eagles while getting out-snapped 41-25 by Carlos Hyde. Seattle is wisely in preservation mode with their top running back as it’s imperative that Carson remain healthy for the remainder of the season. The Seahawks can likely get by these next three weeks while continuing to limit Carson’s touches. But Hyde’s toe injury throws a wrinkle into things. Hyde is listed as questionable and won’t be 100% even if he does play. Carroll said he’d like to see Carson get additional work against the Giants. Now we wait to find out just how much more that ends up being.
3. Will DK Metcalf dominate James Bradberry like he did Darius Slay?
Metcalf posted 177 yards on 10 receptions against the Eagles with most of that production coming against Slay. Bradberry has been arguably the Giants top player this season and has three interceptions through 11 games. He’s Pro Football Focus’ 13th-ranked corner (min. 50% of snaps) and could make his first Pro Bowl in 2020. He’ll likely shadow Metcalf and will hope to have more success than Slay, although that won’t be an easy task against the 6-foot-4, 230-pound wideout.
4. Can the pass rush continue to produce if Carlos Dunlap is on a rep count (assuming he plays)?
Dunlap (foot) is officially listed as questionable. Assuming he plays, which isn’t a guarantee, of course, it’s possible that he’s on a strict rep count. That means guys like Benson Mayowa, Rasheem Green and Alton Robinson would have to pick up more of the slack.
Seattle is on a torrid stretch with 19 sacks in the four games Dunlap has been in the lineup. He’s been the catalyst for the Seahawks supercharged pass rush that now ranks tied for seventh with 31 sacks on the season. But can that pace continue without Dunlap at 100%?
5. How much will Geno Smith play?
I say this mostly seriously. This is a game that shouldn’t be about if Seattle will win, but by how much. There’s zero excuse for a Super Bowl contender to lose to a four-win team led by backup QB Colt McCoy. Staying healthy and potentially getting the chance to rest Russell Wilson, Carson and other starters should be a priority this weekend. The Seahawks can’t look past the Giants, of course. They still have to execute. But they should be able to do so in what should be a comfortable victory.