- Associated Press - Sunday, October 9, 2011

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - There seems to be a common feeling among the New York Giants and Seattle Seahawks relating to last year’s meeting between the teams.

Just forget it.

The Giants went to Seattle and did everything right in posting a 41-7 victory in a game that was over by halftime.

Nothing is going to change that, so it’s time to move on.

“There are no gimmes in this league,” Giants guard David Diehl said. “Just because last year was lopsided will have no effect on this game and this year. We’re not taking it that way. We know we need to make improvements. We’re going to have to go out there and earn this one.”

The Giants (3-1) are coming into Sunday’s game at MetLife Stadium against the Seahawks (1-3), riding a three-game winning streak that has been highlighted by fourth-quarter comeback wins over Philadelphia and Arizona the past two weeks.

Seattle is coming off a tough loss to Atlanta and will be playing its final game before a bye. Entering the week with a fourth loss is not the way to go on vacation.

“It is really important,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of getting a win.

“It was important last week and it will continue to be every week. Every game is enormous and every game is a championship game for us. You just have to do everything you can to get that opportunity going your way. With the bye coming up, it would be great to go into the bye with a win and feeling like we are growing. We are such a young team and we need all the confidence builders we can get.”

The Giants are going to have to do a lot of studying to prepare for the Seahawks, who have changed roughly half of their starters since last season.

Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck signed with Tennessee as a free agent and he has been replaced by the more nimble Tavaris Jackson, the former Viking who posted a 2-1 record as a starter against the Giants.

Leon Washington, the former Jet who gives Seattle one of the top returners in the league, said the Seahawks have turned over more than personnel.

“These guys here, they’re young, they’re eager, they’re hungry, they’re ready to go,” Washington said.

“We’re looking to improve. The past few weeks we’ve been improving every game. I know our record doesn’t show it, but we have been improving. We’re looking to improve and like I said, last year doesn’t dictate anything that’s going on this year. This is a whole different season from last year.”

The one player the Seahawks have to contain is Eli Manning. The Giants‘ quarterback has completed 40 of 57 for 557 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions in helping the Giants beat Seattle in their past two games by a combined 85-13 margin.

“He’s really the guy,” Carroll said. “And when you play him you have to recognize that. If we can’t affect his play then they’re going to be successful, so it’s a big challenge for us.”

Seattle safety Earl Thomas said last year’s game was a learning experience.

“It always helps you the second go around, just to get the feel for the quarterback and what’s his mindset,” Thomas said.

“He’s a smart quarterback and last year he got me, a couple of times. You just learn from the bad things and stay with what worked for you the first time and go from there.”

Giants coach Tom Coughlin has reminded his team several times that Seattle is much improved.

It’s gotten to the point where many of the players not only echo what their coach says about Seattle, it seems they are convinced that the Seahawks are one of the NFL’s elite, believe it or not.

Giants linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka believes the coaching staff doesn’t want them to overlook Seattle, so they are making sure everyone is prepared.

“If you watch them on film, maybe their record doesn’t show how they actually play,” Kiwanuka said.

“I just think that it’s going to be one of those situations where we know we are going to have to battle and we know we are going to be in for a fight. But as long as we do what we’re supposed to do, then we’ll be good.”

The area the Giants have to shore up this week is their run defense. Philadelphia and Arizona have averaged 166.5 yards the past two games and Coughlin wants that trend to end.

New York, however, may be without one of its top run stoppers with defensive end Justin Tuck still bothered by a neck injury. The two-time Pro Bowler missed the season opener and last weeekend’s game at Arizona.

The good news is that Seattle is next to last in the league in rushing.

“I don’t think it’s a problem with our run game,” Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch said.

“I think we just don’t get to run it enough in order for it to be as effective as we like, but from lining up from Week 1 to right now, I would look at our offensive line as two different lines as compared to where they are right now from where they started.”

The Giants also haven’t run as well as they would like, and there might be a change on the offensive line. Center David Baas has a stinger and he is expected to be a game-time decision. Kevin Boothe would replace him.

“We haven’t had the right touches and that is just the way the game goes,” said Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw, who ran for two touchdowns against Seattle last season.

“We have had to open up our passing game with a lot of opponents and I think the running game is fine where it is at. It will be great once we get the amount of touches we expect in later games.”

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