The Oakland Raiders travel to MetLife Stadium on Sunday to face off against the New York Giants in a must win for both teams if either has any kind of aspirations of making the postseason.
The Raiders are coming off a 49-20 shellacking at home to the Philadelphia Eagles in a game where head coach Dennis Allen most likely just burned the video footage. The Giants had a bye and two weeks to get ready for Oakland.
The (2-6) Giants have won two games in a row after losing their first six games of the season. They have done that by playing much better defense, allowing just 7 points to Minnesota and Philadelphia. The (3-5) Raiders are looking to rebound from an awful loss to the Eagles.
“You always have a nasty taste in your mouth when you lose, and you get a real nasty, disgusting taste in your mouth when you get beat like that,” RB Rashad Jennings told Raiders.com on Friday. “The only way to get it out is to make plays. It starts in the preparation Wednesday and you get to prove it on Sunday. The only way to continue to move forward is to erase what you did wrong. You build on your strengths, but you get better off of marking your weaknesses and excelling at them.”
Jennings will be the man at running back for the Raiders after Darren McFadden is out again with a nagging hamstring injury. Jennings ran for 102 yards (on 15 carries) and a touchdown against Philadelphia and also had 7 receptions for an additional 74 yards. Jennings is averaging 4.7 yards per carry on the season and has been their most effective RB. McFadden was averaging just 3.6ypc.
Expect Marcel Reece to get some additional carries and passes thrown his way as well as they fill McFadden’s absence by a RB-by-committee approach. Reece has shown the ability to make plays with his feet and hands during his tenure with the team. Not to mention, quarterback Terrelle Pryor who will give New York fits. The Giants defense is used to facing Robert Griffin III and Michael Vick, but Pryor’s size (6-feet-4 and 233 pounds) and speed is a combination that could give them trouble. NY’s pass rush has been nearly non-existent this season, racking up just 10 sacks in 8 games.
Pryor will be testing NY’s defense with cornerback Corey Webster out with a groin injury and CB’s Trumain McBride and Jayron Hosley questionable. So, Pryor will need to locate and find Denarius Moore (32 catches, 27 First Downs, 16 yards per catch and 4 TD’s) and Rod Streater (28 catches, 17 FD’s, 14.9ypc) to be able to stretch the defense and score some points.
NY’s defense is ranked 9th against the run (and have only allowed 5 TD’s on the ground), so the Raiders will have their work cut out for them. However, the pass defense has allowed 14 passing TD’s. So, if Pryor gets time to run around he’ll need to be looking downfield for his receivers.
The Oakland defense will need to step up and stop the Giants running attack (69.9 yards per game, 30th) and force Eli Manning to throw the ball. He has thrown 10 TD’s, but has also thrown an NFL-high 15 interceptions. Eli doesn’t always make great decisions when he’s under pressure, despite being sacked just 19 times this season So, stopping the run and forcing him into obvious passing downs is a priority. They just can’t allow him to look like Peyton Manning or Drew Brees like they made Nick Foles look like last week when he tied an NFL-record with 7 TD’s and threw for over 400 yards.
“Eli is dangerous. He”s always dangerous,” LB Nick Roach told Raiders.com. “He’s an NFL MVP-quality quarterback, Super Bowl champion guy. He’s just a guy that you don’t want to get hot. If we can do our best job of getting some pressure on him and try to keep him guessing, I think we’ll be all right.”
Eli has weapons in Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Reuben Randle so the Oakland veterans in the secondary (Charles Woodson, Mike McKenzie and Tracy Porter) need to be ready so a repeat of last week doesn’t occur again.
This game will come down to who makes the fewest turnovers and controls the time of possession in my opinion.
My prediction: Giants win, 24-16.
-This will be the first matchup betweeen the 7 two teams since 2009. Oakland leads the all-time series winning, 7 games to 4 losses.
-Safety Tyvon Branch continues to miss time with an ankle injury, the Raiders will also be without WR Juron Criner (shoulder), and tackles Matt McCants (toe) and Tony Pashos (hip).
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