Originally published on Silver & Black Report on Nov. 7, 2013
The Oakland Raiders (3-5) head to New York to take on the Giants (2-6) after an embarrassing 49-20 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles where the defense witnessed quarterback Nick Foles throw for a record-tying seven touchdown passes.
Like the contest against the Eagles, the Raiders have not faced the Giants since 2009 when they traveled to New York and returned after a drubbing that day as well, falling 44-7.
But that was 2009, and the Giants certainly aren't looking like the same team that they were four years ago coming into the contest with just two wins after nine weeks.
The Giants come into the game struggling to find any rushing attack and are averaging just 69.9 rushing yards per game, third-worst in the NFL. After losing Ahmad Bradshaw to free agency in the offseason, the Giants hoped that young running back David Wilson would be able to carry the load. Wilson suffered a herniated disc in his neck and has been out since, forcing the team to turn to veterans Peyton Hillis and Brandon Jacobs. Both Jacobs and Hillis have largely proven ineffective in their place.
The Giants will be getting help in their offensive backfield by getting Andre Brown on the active roster for the first time this season after he broke his leg in the preseason. Brown appeared in 10 games last season and averaged 5.3 yards per carry.
The Raiders linebackers and defense will need to keep some strong gap-discipline in order to maintain their sixth-best rush defense.
Much of the Giants' demise stems from their struggling quarterback Eli Manning and his passing attack. Manning, in his 10th year, has a 55.7-percent completion percent while throwing for 2,167 yards, 10 touchdowns and a league-leading 15 interceptions.
Manning's inability to protect the football has helped lead to the Giants' league-worst turnover ratio at -12.
Much like they needed to do last week with DeSean Jackson, the Raiders secondary needs to contain wide receiver Victor Cruz and limit any big plays. Ranking just 26th in the league in pass defense, the Raiders defense is susceptible to giving up lots of yards threw the air as became apparent last week.
There's no doubt that the Raiders defense needs to be much improved this week after such an embarrassing performance against the Eagles last week, giving up 542 total yards.
One way to disrupt the Giants offense is to get into the backfield and disrupt the ball carrier or quarterback, something they were unable to do last week. Despite New York's offensive line has been banged up for much of the season, Manning has largely been able to stay off his back as he has been sacked just 19 times. The Raiders enter the game tied for 13th in the league with 23 sacks on the season.
Though the Raiders offense gained 560 yards last week, they were largely ineffective in trying to get into the end zone, scoring just 20 points in the contest.
The Giants defense isn't quite what it has been previous years but it still is strong at defending the rush, allowing 102.3 rushing yards a game, ranking in the top ten.
To make things tougher for the Raiders, the offense will once again be without running back Darren McFadden who suffered a hamstring injury once again last week. In place will be Rashad Jennings who filled in nicely last week and rushed for 102 yards and one touchdown on 15 carries.
Should Jennings be able to revive the rushing attack, things will open up more the Terrelle Pryor and the Raiders passing game. Pryor and his receivers are averaging just 197.8 yards per game through the air, third-worst in the NFL. The Eagles defense is allowing 242.0 passing yards per game, giving Pryor another favorable match-up to get the aerial attack on the right track again.
The Raiders will remain on the road and travel to Houston to take on the struggling Texans in week 11.
MILESTONES TO WATCH FOR:
WR Jacoby Ford
• Needs 20 kickoff return yards to pass George Atkinson for seventh place on the Raiders’ all-time KOR yards list.
DE Lamarr Houston
• Needs four sacks to enter the top 20 in Raiders team history.
K Sebastian Janikowski
• Has now converted on 142-consecutive PAT attempts.
• Needs just 67 points to reach 1,500 for his career.
RB Darren McFadden
• Needs 315 rushing yards to eclipse 4,000 yards for his career.
• Needs 470 receiving yards to eclipse 1,500 yards for his career.
• Needs one rushing TD to move into sole posession of ninth place on the franchise’s career list, and two to tie No. 8 Charlie Smith (24, 1968-74). McFadden enters the game with 22.
WR Denarius Moore
• Needs 128 receiving yards to reach 2,000 for his career.
QB Terrelle Pryor
• Is currently first amongst all quarterbacks with 485 rushing yards. Pryor could eclipse the Raiders’ single-season mark of rushing yards by a quarterback with just 44 more yards. Rich Gannon set the mark in 2000 with 529.
WR Rod Streater
• Needs 499 receiving yards to reach 1,500 for his career.
S Charles Woodson
• Needs five interceptions to tie Ed Reed for first on the interceptions list among all
active players with 61.
• Needs one INT-TD to pass Rod Woodson for first on the all-time list with 12.
• Needs one defensive touchdown to pass Rod Woodson and Darren Sharper for the
most defensive touchdowns in NFL history with 13.