For the second straight week, the NFC West-leading Seattle Seahawks will be matched up against the first-place team from the NFC East.
Or, as some have referred to their divisions, the NFC Best and NFC Least.
After knocking Philadelphia out of first place with a 23-17 victory on the road Monday night, the Seahawks (8-3) will host the New York Giants (4-7) on Sunday afternoon.
Consider if the Seahawks played in the Giants’ division, Seattle would have a four-game lead. Even San Francisco (5-6), the last-place team in the West, would be leading the NFC East.
The Giants might be without starting quarterback Daniel Jones after the 2019 first-round draft pick suffered a strained right hamstring in last Sunday’s 19-17 victory against Cincinnati and is questionable against Seattle.
“I certainly want to play and want to be out there,” said Jones, who missed practice Wednesday. “So where that puts me or how I recover depends on what I do day-to-day.”
Without Jones, the job would go to 34-year-old Colt McCoy, who has made 28 starts in his NFL career. Just three of those, however, have come in the past five years.
“He’s gonna step in. He’s gonna do his thing,” Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard said of McCoy. “That’s the world we’re living in right now, and I feel like he’ll execute and step up and make plays.”
The Giants have won three games in a row, their longest streak since 2016. Those victories have come against Washington, Philadelphia and Cincinnati — teams with a combined record of 9-22-2.
“I don’t really care who we are playing,” said Shepard, the last player left on the roster from 2016. “We are focused on our abilities and what we can do.”
Wayne Gallman Jr., filling in for the injured Saquon Barkley and Davonta Freeman, rushed for 94 yards and a touchdown against the Bengals, and Graham Gano, fresh off the COVID-19 list, kicked four field goals.
That likely won’t be enough against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks, who are averaging 31 points per game, third in the NFL. DK Metcalf leads the league with 1,039 yards receiving and the running back duo of Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde is back after injuries sidelined both for a month.
Carson had a team-high 41 yards on just eight carries Monday, including a 16-yard, tackle-busting scoring run.
“Great to see Chris Carson back,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “Ran like a monster out there. That touchdown run was fantastic.”
Seattle’s defense, which has been ranked last in the league for most of the season, has shown signs of progress, allowing just 250 yards against the Eagles while sacking Carson Wentz six times.
“From the beginning we knew what we had, we knew what type of talent we had,” Seahawks safety Jamal Adams said. “It was only a matter of time.”
Recently acquired defensive end Carlos Dunlap, who has four sacks in as many games with Seattle, suffered a foot injury Monday night. Carroll said the injury wasn’t as serious as initially feared and Dunlap might play against the Giants.
–Field Level Media