The Oakland Raiders (3-5) head to MetLife Stadium to take on the New York Giants (2-6) in Week 10. The head to head all-time record stands at 7-4 in favor of the Silver and Black, but more importantly the Raiders need this game to salvage their sinking season. A week after being stomped on by the Philadelphia Eagles, the Raiders will try to get their first win against the NFC East. Lets examine five things we can expect from the game:
1. The Giants own the 28th-ranked offense and the 29th-ranked defense
The Raiders head into this game better on paper, but in the NFL the better team on paper doesn’t necessarily win. The Raiders will have to exploit the many weaknesses of the G-Men. Last week the Raiders went into the game with a chance to reach .500 against a struggling team, this week they face another struggling team fighting for wins. This game will present the Raiders with a greater challenge than most fans anticipate, the Giants have a two-time Super Bowl winning coach and quarterback tandem. Such a pair won’t give up on a season even with a 2-6 record, but most importantly because in the weak NFC East they are still in reach of the Dallas Cowboys (5-4).
2. Giants Wide Outs
After getting burned outside the numbers last week, the Raiders will face an even better receiving threat in Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. It will be interesting to see how Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver plays the two lethal wide outs after getting burned in man coverage last weekend. Rookie D.J. Hayden got burned for 139 yards and two touchdowns last week and i expect him to get targeted more by Eli Manning. Victor Cruz lines up in the slot in the three-receiver formations and that will line him up with Tracy Porter; the Raiders will feel they have a disadvantage. It will be interesting to see if the Raiders throw in some zone dogs to mitigate the shallow crosses that Cruz runs and to help out Porter in coverage.
3. Giants Offensive Line vs. Raiders Blitz
The Raiders find it difficult to apply pressure on the quarterback without bringing blitzes. It will be interesting to see if the Raiders are able to exploit a porous Giants offensive line. The Giants face a similar challenge on the offensive line as the Raiders do. While the Raiders offensive line has played well of late, the Giants line has played miserably. Tarver won’t be shy to blitz even after last week and the Giants line will have trouble protecting Manning. Lamar Houston is in line for a good game against a weak line and the Raiders will be glad for all the help they can get right now, especially from their better players.
4. Raiders Running Game vs. Giants Front Seven
The strength of the Giants has been on defense in stopping the run. They rank eighth in the league in rush defense and the Raiders will have to get their ground game going to stay in better passing situations. The Giants will try to stop the run game and force the Silver and Black into passing, which isn’t exactly their strong suit. If the Raiders can get their rush attack going, they will be able to carve out the loose secondary of the Giants.
5. Terrelle Pryor vs. Eli Manning
Manning has been a turnover machine this season, but Pryor has been ineffective in the pass game. The Raiders need to create turnovers and give the offense more chances to get points on the board. Pryor, as poised as he is in pressure situations, will need help from his receivers to beat the secondary. Manning will look to exploit the Raiders’ secondary as the Eagles did last week. The Raider corners will have to hold their own in single coverage.
If the Raiders’ offensive line holds against the Giants pass rush, the Raiders should be able to hold on for a vital road win. Rashad Jennings has to contribute to the run game and fill in for the injured Darren McFadden. Rookie Manelik Watson is in line for his first regular season start and look for the former Florida State product to hold up against Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul.