It's week 10 and the beginning of the second half of the season for the Raiders. They head to the Meadowlands to face the Giants who are looking for their third straight win after starting the season 0-6. During which Eli Manning threw 15 interceptions.
The two-game win streak for the Giants can be a bit misleading considering they beat the Vikings starting a woeful Josh Freeman and the Eagles who were starting rookie Matt Barkley. Then again the Raiders were just torched at home by Nick Foles and the Eagles and are traveling to the East Coast where they always have trouble.
Somehow the Giants are 6.5 point favorites in this game but I expect it to be much less certain.
Where: Met Life Stadium, The Meadowlands, East Rutherford NJ
When: 10:00am Pacific Time, November 10, 2013
Radio: Bay Area 95.7 The Game
Online: NFL Game Rewind after 9pm Pacific Time
Let's catch up on last week:
The Raiders were torched by Nick Foles for a record 7 touchdown passes. It tied the NFL record and broke a previous 6 passing TD record against the Raiders set by Dan Fouts that stood for over 30 years.
The Raiders defense came in pretty high on themselves after defeating the Steelers the previous week even with no offense after the first half. That overconfidence undoubtedly played a part in their dismantling.
In that game, they lost several players to injury including RB Darren McFadden (hamstring), OT Matt McCants (toe), and WR Juron Criner (shoulder).
All told there are six Raiders officially ruled OUT for the game. See the entire Friday injury report here.
You can expect the inactive list to look something like this: S Tyvon Branch, RB Darren McFadden, CB D.J. Hayden, OT Matt McCants, WR Juron Criner, OT Tony Pashos, LB Kaluka Maiava, WR Lamar Mady
After returning from injury to take over for the injured Matt McCants, rookie Menelik Watson will be making his first start for the Raiders at right tackle.
Also starting this week will be Rashad Jennings in place of the injured Darren McFadden.
Returning this week after being out with a hamstring is Andre Holmes. He was supposed to see extended playing time due to the poor play of Brice Butler but that didn't happen. Expect to see more of him this week.
Another big addition is Andre Gurode who returns from a quad injury. He provides insurance for Stefen Wisniewski at center and I would also look for him to possibly step in at left guard. Lucas Nix, according to PFF, is literally the worst starting guard in the NFL so Gurode could prove to be an upgrade. It wouldn't take much.
With the injury to Matt McCants, the team again activated practice squad player Jack Cornell to back up both tackle spots. And again it was Brian Sanford who was cut to make room on the roster. Last time they did this, they cut Cornell on Monday and re-signed Sanford on Tuesday. We'll see if they do that again.
To see gain some greater insight into what makes the Giants tick, see my Five Good Questions with Giants blogger Edward Valentine from Big Blue View.
Also see their game scouting report which sees the match-ups from their perspective.
The Raiders had a pretty good pass rush going into last week when the stout Eagles' front nearly shut them out of the offensive backfield. The Giants don't have near the same level of talent on their offensive line and after a week of futility, I would expect players like Lamarr Houston and Vance Walker to play angry and have a much better performance.
Eli Manning hasn't thrown any interceptions in the past couple games but that is mainly because the Giants have played ultra-conservative on offense being that they were playing two teams with toothless offenses that weren't putting much of any points on the board. That means the Raiders must do what they did in their previous two losses and get a couple scores on the board early. This will force Manning to put the ball in the air and possibly into the hands of the wrong color jersey.
The trap here is that we know what Eli Manning is capable of. Even if the Raiders get a couple scores early, they cannot go conservative and lean on their defense down the stretch. Manning can turn it on at any time. He has a great receiving corps with Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, and Reuben Randle who can win battles against the Raiders' underwhelming secondary.
All this talk of scoring early is premature as well. After all, this is an East Coast game in a tough environment. The last time Terrelle Pryor had to line up behind center on the road was the debacle in Kansas City in which he threw three interceptions and was sacked nine times. He will have to dig deep and find some composure and run the Raiders offensive game plan with precision to keep that from happening again.
The Giants pass rush isn't what it once was but it isn't non-existent. They still have Jason Pierre Paul and the Raiders still don't have Jared Veldheer back to block him.
It should be a good game. Then again, it could be a blowout depending on which Eli Manning and Terrelle Pryor shows up.