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Why Jimmy Graham could be in for a big game vs. Giants

The Seattle Seahawks (3-2) return from their bye to face a New York Giants (1-5) team coming off its first win of the season. Kickoff is set for 4:25 p.m. ET Sunday from MetLife Stadium, where the Seahawks have had plenty of success (more on that later).

Here's what you need to know from Seattle's perspective, starting with three key matchups:

1. TE Jimmy Graham vs. Giants' pass defense. Graham has become a much bigger factor in Seattle's offense after a forgettable first two games, which consisted of four catches for nine yards, a costly drop and an ankle injury. In three games since then: 17 catches on 25 targets, 170 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown came on a jump ball into the end zone, which was the latest instance of the Seahawks trying to get Graham involved near the goal line, where he hasn't been as much of a factor as expected in his first two-plus seasons with Seattle. As ESPN.com Giants reporter Jordan Raanan pointed out, the Giants have allowed a touchdown to a tight end in all six of their games this season, including one apiece to a pair of Tampa Bay tight ends. Graham will have a good chance to extend that streak, and don't forget about backup Luke Willson, who has two touchdown receptions this season.

2. Seattle's left guards vs. DT Damon Harrison. That's not a typo. Left guards -- plural. The Seahawks plan to use both Mark Glowinski and Ethan Pocic there Sunday. Those two are competing to replace Luke Joeckel, who's expected to be out another month or so following knee surgery, and they'll have their hands full Sunday against Damon Harrison, who's one of the NFL's better run-stuffing defensive tackles. Glowinski was Seattle's starter at left guard all last season, so he's got experience, but he's been inactive the past three games after losing his starting job at right guard. Pocic, meanwhile, is a rookie second-round pick who has only played on special teams over the first five games and didn't play much left guard in college. The fact that neither has played a full game in a while is one reason by Seattle plans to use them both on Sunday.

3. Seahawks DBs vs. TE Evan Engram. Engram, the Giants' rookie first-round pick, is a tight end with wide receiver speed. He was clocked at 4.42 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the scouting combine. For comparison, Golden Tate had the same 40 time coming out of college. Tyler Lockett (4.40), Paul Richardson (4.40) and Earl Thomas (4.43) are other comparables. Bobby Wagner (4.45 at his pro day) may be Seattle's only linebacker with enough speed to match up with Engram, so that job will probably fall more on Seattle's defensive backs. With Jeremy Lane (groin) doubtful, rookie Shaquill Griffin is in line to start again at right cornerback opposite Richard Sherman with Justin Coleman handling the slot in nickel situations. Safety Bradley McDougald is another option off the bench. The Seahawks' defense has at times been vulnerable against tight ends in recent seasons, and Engram's speed presents a new challenge. He's coming off his best game, with five catches for 82 yards and a touchdown on seven targets, all team-highs. The Giants leaned on him last week with several injuries to their wide receivers. That group could get Sterling Shepard back on Sunday but will still be without Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall, who are out for the season. So Engram could again be Eli Manning's go-to guy.

By the numbers

123.9. Russell Wilson's passer rating against the blitz (five or more rushers) this season. According to ESPN Stats & Information, that's second in the league only to Minnesota's Case Keenum at 128.8. The Giants run a blitz-heavy defense under coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, something Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell mentioned this week, saying this matchup "has the chance to be one of the most challenging in terms of the pressures that they bring. He's not afraid to bring backers, safeties, corners, so that's something that we're going to have to really deal with this week.”

148. Rushing yards for the Giants last week against the Broncos, who had allowed an average of 50.8 yards on the ground over their first four games, the fewest in the league. The Giants only passed for 118 yards in that game. Their offense is a bit of an unknown right now after head coach Ben McAdoo handed over play-calling duties last week to offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan. Given the success the Giants had on the ground and how they're still without their top two receivers, running the ball might be their best bet against Seattle.

4-0. The Seahawks' record at MetLife Stadium. They've beat the Giants there twice (2011, 2013) and the Jets there once (2016). It was also the site of their victory over the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. Seattle has won those four games by a combined score of 129-50.

Injury notes: Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was optimistic that Michael Bennett will be available even though he's listed as questionable because of a plantar fascia foot injury. Bennett's availability is significant any week but especially now that Cliff Avril, Seattle's other Pro Bowl defensive end, is on injured reserve. Running back C.J. Prosise is also questionable because of an ankle injury. if he can't play, look for J.D. McKissic to help fill in for Prosise on third down.

Weather check: As of Friday, Weather.com's forecast for game-time in East Rutherford, N.J. shows a temperature of 72 degrees with no chance of rain.

Prediction: Even with the Giants notching their first victory of the season in impressive fashion in Week 6, this matchup still heavily favors the Seahawks. They're coming off a bye, and their defense has started to hit its stride, allowing only 26 points over the past two games while forcing six turnovers. And the Seahawks are returning to a place where they've had nothing but success. Their 4-0 record at MetLife Stadium includes a 23-0 shutout of the Giants in 2013, when they picked off Manning five times. A surging Seattle defense with a week of rest against a Giants offense without Beckham is a recipe for a drama-free victory. Seahawks 27, Giants 14.