SEATTLE — Forgive Brian Dabola if he’s essentially walking around with earplugs and shades on, doing his best during the week to avoid the avalanche of attention on the New York Giants.

Even if such attention in this case is good.

“I can only talk about the games. The games were great,” said the head coach of the Giants. “I get in the car, go home and drive here. I don’t really do anything anymore.”

The Giants (6-1) are one of the most popular teams in the NFL, riding a four-game winning streak heading into Sunday’s game against the equally surprising Seattle Seahawks. The Giants’ streak is the second-longest active streak in the league, while Seattle (4-3) has won its last two to move into first place in the NFC West.

Both Seattle and New York were expected to be among the NFC’s throwbacks this season, with the Giants due to a new coaching staff taking over a franchise that won just four games in 2021; The Seahawks because they traded away a franchise quarterback with no clear replacement at the position.

But something happened to get in the way of those preconceived notions.

Thanks to smart decisions from quarterback Daniel Jones and a dynamic season from Saquon Barkley, New York has found a surprising way to win a bunch of close games. And Seattle found it already has a replacement quarterback in Gene Smith, who is one of the best in the league through seven games.

This is the only matchup this week in which both teams have winning records. If that statement had been made before the season, good money could be made betting on the improbability of that being the case.

“It was an interesting year. I think there are a lot of surprises in the league as far as the game and the way the ball bounces and the wins and the losses,” Seattle tight end Will Disley said. “We kind of know who we are and we’re excited.”

Runaway train

The Giants and Seahawks are two of the best running teams in the NFL. As for New York, it was a lot of Barkley leading the way.

He leads the NFL in yards from scrimmage and is second in yards through seven weeks. But they’ve had an added element to the way Jones has run the ball, including a career-high 107 yards last week against Jacksonville, and Seattle has struggled to stop the quarterback at times this season. The Giants are ranked second in the league.

On the other hand, after Rashaad Penny was lost for the season with an injury, there was no slump with rookie Kenneth Walker III. Walker rushed for 167 yards and two touchdowns last week against the Chargers and has averaged over 6 yards per carry over the past two weeks.


For the second week in a row, Smith will face one of his former teams. In 2017, Smith was with the Giants for one season and notably started in place of Eli Manning, ending his streak of consecutive starts. Smith threw for 212 yards and a touchdown in a 24-17 loss against the Raiders, his only start since the end of the 2014 season and the start of the 2021 season.

“Being in the same room with Eli Manning and learning from him and learning with him and competing with him was great,” Smith said.

Permutation of lines

The Giants are expected to make significant changes on the offensive line after right tackle Evan Neal and left guard Ben Bredeson both suffered knee injuries last week against Jacksonville. Neither is expected to play against the Seahawks, especially with New York having a bye next week.

If Nick Gates is ready to play, the Giants could get an extra boost. Gates was added to the active roster this week after missing most of last season following a major injury that fractured both bones in his left tibia. Gates underwent seven surgeries to repair the injury.

Gates started all 16 games in 2020 for New York and worked primarily at guard and center.

Close wins

The Giants are the first team since 2000 and the third team in history to win six of their first seven games with all games decided by eight points or less.

Minnesota in 2000 and New Orleans in 1988 are the other two. Minnesota won their division and New Orleans ended up missing the playoffs despite finishing 10-6

Frequent flyer

It’s hard for any team to come close to the number of trips the Seahawks face in a season.

But the Giants are, at least for the first half of this season. The Giants already visited London for a win over Green Bay, and now it will be back-to-back weeks from last week’s game in Jacksonville to this week’s game in Seattle.

The Giants are expected to drive about 20,000 miles this season. But even that seems small compared to the Seahawks, who will draw nearly 30,000 by the end of the year, including next month’s trip to Munich.