EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -The NFL probably should have considered moving the New York Giants' game against the Seattle Seahawks to the Bermuda Triangle on Sunday.
It would have been a far more appropriate spot for two of the league's oddities to converge in this post-bye week for the teams.
The Giants (3-0) are one of the league's worst teams after a bye. How can one explain the 4-15 record, that includes a 1-3 mark under current coach Tom Coughlin?
The Seahawks (1-2) don't handle travel well, especially when the destination is the East Coast. Mike Holmgren's group is 1-5 in its last six trips, and 3-7 in its last 10 games away from home. The one cross-country trip this season resulted in a 34-10 loss at Buffalo.
``If I were a fan this one would be hard to pick,'' Giants defensive tackle Barry Cofield said, noting that both streaks are inexplicable.
Holmgren seemed to have fun when questioned about his team's travel woes.
hat do you mean?'' he said playfully banging his fist on a table. ``It's something we know we have to do. You coach in Seattle, we're on the West Coast, you know you're going to travel. That's the deal. It is a frustration that we have not played as well as I think we're capable of playing at times on the road. That's the frustration.''
The oddities aside, this is a game that might be decided by the receivers - the addition of two for Seattle and the absence of one for the Super Bowl champions.
Leading receiver Plaxico Burress has been suspended by the Giants for missing a team activity on Sept. 22, the day after they beat Cincinnati in overtime. Burress, who blamed his absence on a family issue, is the team's deep threat and the top receiver in scoring position. He led the team with a career-high 12 touchdown catches last season.
Third-year pro Domenik Hixon will make his first NFL start, replacing him at split end.
``I am not worried about it,'' Giants middle linebacker Antonio Pierce said. ``If anybody has been watching whenever those guys get their number called - Steve Smith, Hixon, Mario Manningham if he is playing - all those guys are capable of putting up big numbers. They are all explosive. They all, I think, are pretty much itching for the opportunity to go out there and showcase what they have.''
had success stopping the run. It is ranked No. 4 in the league, yielding an average of 88 yards.
The Giants are averaging 157 yards rushing, which has allowed Eli Manning to pick and choose when to throw.
``They are putting eight guys up in the box sometimes where they are making you throw,'' Manning said. ``That is what we are going to have to do. We are going to try to establish the run and hopefully we will get that going. But if they are putting too many guys up there, then we will have to throw it, and we have to find completions and make some plays.''
The Seahawks have been running the ball better than the Giants. With Julius Jones posting two consecutive 100-yard games, they have averaged 166.3 yards on the ground.
Matt Hasselbeck and the passing game have only produced roughly 170 on average, but this week the offense gets back veteran receivers Bobby Engram and Deion Branch for the first time this season.
Branch, who had 49 receptions and four touchdowns in 11 games last season, is coming back from knee surgery. Engram, who had 94 catches for 1,147 yards and six touchdowns, is returning from a shoulder injury.
those two are back. So they will be at pretty much full strength.''
While the Giants and Seahawks have downplayed their problems with the bye and travel, a lot of New York players will be looking for a little payback. The Seahawks ripped the Giants 42-30 two years ago in a game in Seattle that was not that close. Hasselbeck had a career-high five touchdown passes, helping his team build a 35-3 halftime lead.
What made the game more memorable for New York was that former tight end Jeremy Shockey compounded the loss by saying Coughlin and his staff were outcoached.
``It's exciting for us,'' tackle David Diehl said. ``In '05 and '06 those five-hour flights coming home from Seattle were not fun. Those games left a terrible taste in our mouths, and now it is time to do something about it.''
Center Shaun O'Hara said it will be fun not hearing all the noise the Seattle fans make.
``My only request is that our fans return the favor and bring their noisemakers and do their part to get them to have 15 false starts,'' he said.
Backup Giants guard Grey Ruegamer smirked when asked about the Giants' bye-week blahs and the Seahawks' travel woes.
``It's poppycock,'' he said. ``You can look at stats and everything else. It's irrelevant. The game will be decided on the field.''

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