Raiders vs Giants: New York Will Mount Playoff Push After Win over Oakland

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIINovember 10, 2013

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 10:  Cooper Taylor #30 of the New York Giants celebrates his touchdown with  Allen Bradford #59 after Taylor scored with a blocked punt in the first quarter against the Oakland Raiders at MetLife Stadium on November 10, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

The New York Giants seemed down and out after a 0-6 start, but they have rallied to win their past three games after a 24-20 win in Week 10 over the Oakland Raiders.

Even though head coach Tom Coughlin's team has won only a third of their games in 2013 (even factoring in this recent run), the upcoming schedule and improving all-around elements set up the G-Men for a push toward the postseason.

But any quit in these Giants will make such an unprecedented rally impossible.

However, the persistence has paid off. In the next two games, New York faces a Green Bay Packers club without Aaron Rodgers, followed by the NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys.

America's Team may be atop the division, but the Cowboys face a road game on Sunday night against the NFC South-leading New Orleans Saints, which could drop them to 5-5.

That would put them in a tie with the Philadelphia Eagles, who capitalized on the Rodgers-less Packers in Week 10's 27-13 victory at Lambeau Field.

When Dallas comes off its bye, it will face the Giants in a showdown at MetLife Stadium, which will be no picnic.

At some point, Giants quarterback Eli Manning is going to have to step up his game, but considering his track record in the clutch and the receiving weapons at his disposal, it seems feasible.

That's especially so after Sunday's display in New York, where Manning wasn't at his best, yet the team rallied for a collective-effort victory.

Cooper Taylor returned a blocked punt for a touchdown, which helped the G-Men respond to an earlier Oakland touchdown off a Giants special teams turnover on the opening kickoff. Taylor's score knotted the score, 7-7, in the first quarter.

After Manning hit Rueben Randle for a five-yard touchdown in the second quarter, the Giants QB gave the points right back when Oakland cornerback Tracy Porter hauled in an interception and took it 44 yards to pay dirt.

When the Giants needed it most, their defense stiffened, with Terrell Thomas picking off Manning's counterpart Terrelle Pryor and returning deep into Oakland territory.

From there, Andre Brown—who carried the rock 30 times for 115 yards—punched it in on a one-yard score that proved to be the difference.

New York's rushing attack and defense were atrocious at the outset of the season, but both of those facets have improved during this three-game winning streak.

Brown's performance—in his first game back after having twice broken his leg—is a testament to just how tough this Giants team is:

As for the defense, B/R's Patricia Traina pointed out how stout the Giants were on third down today:

The Raiders aren't the stiffest competition, but nor were the Minnesota Vikings or the Philadelphia Eagles, who were quarterbacked for the majority of their contest against New York by rookie Matt Barkley.

But if Manning properly uses his weapons in Randle, Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz, the defense continues to play at a high level and Brown proves to be a viable workhorse, the Giants can't be counted out in the East.

As impossible as it may have seemed a mere month ago, these New York Giants could rise from top-five-in-the-draft territory to celebrating a divisional title.