Eli Manning’s quest to protect the football won’t be so simple at Qwest Field.
Seattle has one of the most opportunistic defenses in the league, especially in the red zone. Sunday’s a perfect matchup for Pete Carroll, as the Giants lead the NFL in giveaways with 21. Manning already has 11 interceptions, coming off a 2009 campaign when he only threw 14 all season.
“They’re not giving away anything,” Manning said yesterday of the aggressive Seattle defense, particularly in the red zone. “They have sacks down there and they have some turnovers. Any time that you get down to the red zone, everything has to be perfect. You have to block things up, the routes have to be very precise, and the throws have to be on the money.”
Interceptions aren’t the Giants’ only problem, as they’ve lost 10 of their 14 fumbles this season. That number could climb in Week 9. Seattle has forced seven fumbles — recovered four — to go with their six picks, including a team-high four from rookie safety Earl Thomas.
“The way we look at them is that they are 3-0 at home,” coach Tom Coughlin said. “They have an incredible plus-eight in turnovers at home, 12 of their 13 takeaways are at home, they’ve averaged 27 points a game, and given up 12 points a game [at home].”
Carroll attributes the home success to the college atmosphere of Qwest Field and its “12th man.”
“It has been pretty clear that our ability to get turnovers has all happened here, so it’s just been a big factor,” he said.
Early interceptions have been a big factor for Manning, who threw two first-quarter picks at Dallas.
“We have to make sure we are watching everything and not running before we catch the ball or looking at the defenders,” Manning said about errant passes and tipped balls, which have lead to six of his interceptions. “I have to make sure the ball is down low and I’m not leading them into headaches.”