Moving close to the fifth game of the season, the Giants are 4-0. With four convincing wins, the Giants answered a lot of questions which were looming in the air since January. However, the storyline of the week is Eli Manning’s injury.
The Raiders, on the other hand, were penciled to be a better team than they were last year. With additions in the offensive line, the drafting of Heyward-Bey, and with Darren McFadden being more mature, the Raiders were not supposed to be this bad.
Continuing with the weekly preview, the Giants come back home this Sunday after three straight road games, and this is what lies ahead.
New York Giants vs. Oakland Raiders—October 11
Eli Manning hurt is not something you hear a lot. In his five year career, he is yet to miss a game. Eli is an incredibly tough guy, even though he looks like a geeky teenager.
This quality of Eli has his team, and especially his linemen, all confident that he will be able to play. Even so, Eli playing or not might not even matter, as David Carr is a quality backup, able to lead the team to victory if called upon, and, mostly, for the opposition.
The Oakland Raiders are, to say the least, a team in distress. Tom Cable has been questioned, and their franchise quarterback, JaMarcus Russell—the 2007 No. 1 Draft pick—is currently the lowest rated quarterback in the league.
The JaMarcus Russell case is actually an intermittent one. Ever since the beginning of the Raiders OTAs there have been reports of Russell being over weight, playing poorly, and not making the proper effort to improve himself.
This situation seems to extend to the running game, as the Raiders have averaged only 208.5 yards on total offense—good for 32nd in the league—in the first four games, and they only scored 19 points in the last three games.
The offense is not the only problem, though, as the Raiders’ defense, although not as bad as their offense is ranked 26th in rushing yards. Oakland’s pass defense is a lot better, ranked as 11th in the NFL.
The player who stands out in the Oakland secondary is cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, who is considered by many as the best CB in the NFL. This brings us to our Task One: Keep away from the Monster.
All teams playing the Raiders have adopted the strategy of not throwing to Asomugha’s side, and there is good reason for that. I really don’t see why the Giants should act any differently.
Interceptions can change the history of a game, and being upset by the lowly Raiders at home is not something any team wants. There is also another aspect of this task that could benefit the G-men, and that is Steve Smith.
Smith had been nothing but outstanding this season, being the leader in catches (34), receiving yards (411), and TDs (4), and this might lead the Raiders to line up Asomugha against Smith on every down.
Should the Raiders do that, expect big games from Mario Manningham and Hakeem Nicks.
Continue to talk offense, we reach Task Two: Run it down their throats. As mentioned before, the Raiders rushing defense is the 26th in the league, which means that the Giants o-line will have a pancake feast on Sunday.
Brandon Jacobs could finally have a huge game, and Ahmad Bradshaw is likely to hurt them too. This would also be a good thing for backup QB David Carr, as being able to lean on the running game will give him more confidence to make plays.
Being incredibly repetitive, and possibly annoying, I lay once again Task Three: Keep the Focus. Saying that in the last two weeks, I urge to point out that we cannot, by any means, have a meltdown like the one in Cleveland last year.
Too much focus can never hurt, and will only help us get things going.
Reverting to the defensive side of the ball there is Task Four: Just do what we do. The Raiders offense is terrible, and quarterback JaMarcus Russell is looking like an offensive lineman throwing the ball lately.
The Giants defense, on the other hand, is the league leader in points per game, so, if Big Blue is able to keep their defensive production, pressuring the QB, and making plays on the secondary, there shouldn’t be many problems with that part.
The Raiders, like almost all teams which face the Giants, will stack the line of scrimmage, trying to limit the Giants running game, especially is Manning does not dress up. This attempt is not likely to be effective, though.
Although they will stack the line, the probability is that this Raider defense will be manhandled by the giants bruising O-line and fullback. This will allow Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw both to have a 100 yard games.
The Raiders will continue to struggle on the offensive side, as the Giants defense will keep Russell under pressure all afternoon, and we can expect a few sacks on him.
I’m not really one for making predictions, I think everyone in the Nation agrees that there is little to no chance of the Giants losing this game.
Also Published in Blognyg – The Official Home of Giants Fans