Giants (2-6) Raiders (3-5)
The Raiders did not play well in their Monday
night game in Detroit against the Lions, and were trailing 16-7 at the half. Their
defense came up with an interception return for a touchdown soon after, but they
failed to score again and let town with a 26-14 loss.
On Sunday the Giants
struggled in a low scoring game with the Jets, who held a 7-3 lead at the half.
The Giants scored a touchdown in the third quarter, but couldn't close out the
game in the final seconds when the Jets tied the score at 10-10. The Jets were
the first to score in overtime, and had a 13-10 win.
Al Davis was the principal owner
and general manager of the Oakland Raiders from 1972 until his death in 2011.
The team won Super Bowls in 1976, 1980 and 1983. In 1998 Jon Gruden became the
head coach of the Raiders, and the team improved to 8-8 in both his first two
years. In the next two years the Raiders finished first in the AFC West Division,
and were 2-2 in the playoffs. Davis then decided to cash in on Gruden, and traded
him to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two first-round draft picks, two second-round
picks and 8 million dollars. The following year the Raiders, with Bill Callahan,
promoted to head coach, were in the Super Bowl. Gruden was there too, and he coached
Tampa Bay to a 48-21 Super Bow win over his former team.
From 2003 to 2017
the Raiders had only one season where they finished higher than third place, and
that one second place finish got them to a wildcard game which they lost. After
years away from coaching, in 2018 Gruden was finally persuaded to come back by
Mark Davis, who had taken over when his father passed away. Gruden agreed to a
10-year, $100 million contract which included a no-trade clause. Gruden had the
team headed in the right direction when they finished second in the division in
2020, but five games into the 2021 season, Gruden resigned due to some issues
that were raised regarding some of his former emails.
Rich Bisaccia stepped
up and led the Raiders to another second place finish, and this time a wildcard
playoff game which they lost. Last year Josh McDaniels became the new head coach,
and the Raiders finished with a 6-11 record. General manager David Ziegler released
long time quarterback Derek Carr, and signed Jimmy Garoppolo to a three year contract.
McDaniels was the offensive coordinator for three seasons with the New England
Patriots when Garoppolo was there. After Monday night's loss the Raiders dropped
to 3-5, and the next day Ziegler, McDaniels, and offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi
were all fired, Linebackers coach Antonio Pierce, a former Giant, was named as
the interim head coach.
Jimmy Garoppolo struggled this year in the six games he started, during which
he suffered a concussion and a back injury. In his comeback on Monday Garoppolo
was sacked six times, threw one interception, and had trouble connecting with
top receiver Davante Adams. Garoppolo completed just 10 of his 21 passes for 126
yards. Adams was targeted the most in the game, 7 times, and there was just one
completion. So far this season, Garoppolo has thrown 7 touchdowns, and leads the
NFL in interceptions with 9. Garoppolo has been benched, and rookie Aidan O'Connell
has been named the starting quarterback going forward. O'Connell has thrown 1
touchdown and 2 interceptions, and has run for one touchdown in the one game he
started. Adams was the top receiver for the Raiders in 2022, catching 100 passes
for 1516 yards and 14 touchdowns. Though Adams leads the team now with 47 receptions
for 539 yards, and has 3 touchdowns, that's still a big drop off from his first
year with the Raiders when Derek Carr was the quarterback. Jakobi Meyers joined
the team this year, and he is the second leading receiver with 38 receptions for
404 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Josh Jacobs was the NFL's rushing leader last
year, and had a career high 340 carries for 1653 yards and 12 touchdowns. Jacobs
also had 53 catches for 400 yards. The Raiders hit him with a franchise tag, and
Jacobs sat out training camp, but the two sides agreed to a new contract. Jacobs
is also having a down year with 133 carries for 408 yards and 3 touchdowns, after
scoring one on Monday. Jacobs currently has a career low 3.1 yards per carry dropping
from 4.9 last season. The Raiders are averaging just 16 points a game, and their
highest to date is 21.
Raiders have improved on their passing defense over last year when they were ranked
29th in the league giving up 243 yards a game. They're a top ten team in that
area, slipping a bit as they gave up 264 passing yards to Detroit on Monday. It
wasn't their best game by far as the Lions also ran on them for 222 yards using
their two running backs who averaged 5.7 yards a carry. That's their weak area
ranking 30th in the NFL allowing 140.6 rushing yards a game, while giving up 4.5
yards a carry. They know they will see a lot of Saquon Barkley coming their way,
as well as him being used for short passes as the middle field is one of their
Former Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham has had his
defense keep the Raiders in games. On Monday they forced the Detroit Lions into
three turnovers, and up untill then, the Lions had turned the ball over only seven
times all season. Their top defensive player is Maxx Crosby, one of the best pass
rushers in the NFL, and his 6.5 sacks is the most on the team. None of the other
players have more than one. Crosby's 47 pressures on the season is the most in
the NFL. The Giants offensive line will have to focus the most on keeping Crosby
away from Daniel Jones.
An unfortunate result stemming from
last Sunday's game is that tight end Darren Waller and quarterback Tyrod Taylor
have been placed on IR. Tommy DeVito will be the backup to Daniel Jones, who is
coming back after missing three games due to a neck injury. Jones will be stepping
into better circumstances than the last time he played in Miami. Jones was coming
off a game where he was sacked 10 times by the Seahawks, and the Dolphins hit
him with 6 more before he was done.
Now center John Michael Schmitz has returned
from a shoulder injury, and it's looking like starting tackles, Andrew Thomas
and Evan Neal will be back. Jones also gets to have Saquon Barkley available to
him to share the workload this time. As we can see from last week when Barkley
rushed 36 times for 128 yards, he is playing at full strength. Brian Daboll said
there would be no limitations on Jones, alluding to the thought that we might
see him take some runs.
A good running game will take some pressure off Jones
when he drops back to pass, and as we mentioned, Waller will not be playing. He
was the top receiver with 36 receptions on 51 targets. Daniel Bellinger is now
the lead tight end, and he's been targeted only 5 times, and has 4 catches. He
might also have to stay on the line for his blocking ability, especially with
Maxx Crosby testing it for openings. The Giants will have to figure out how they
plan to use receivers to move the ball downfield, and Darius Slayton has had the
second most targets in that area.
It doesn't matter that the top players
on the opposing team are not hitting their best numbers for various reasons this
season. Davante Adams, Jakobi Meyers and Josh Jacobs still have the skills they
need to make big plays. With the Raiders using a rookie quarterback, you would
expect to see Jacobs having a lot of carries to take the pressure off. It sounds
like a safe bet considering the Raiders new offensive coordinator has never called
plays before. What easier play to call than hand the ball off to the running back?
The Giants are not the best against the run, and now without Leonard Williams,
who was traded away this week, you have to wonder if they can hold up.
cornerback Deonte Banks has been doing a great job, but he is sure to be tested
this week. Davante Adams misses having a quarterback like Derek Carr throwing
to him, and the new coaches might like to see if they can foster a connection
between him and Aidan O'Connell, who is thought to be an accurate pocket passer.
Wink Martindale will be planning to confuse
the rookie quarterback, and the Giants might have more opportunities for turnovers.
The Raiders will have to provide protection, remembering the one game Aidan
O'Connell started against the Chargers. O'Connell was sacked 7 times with pass
rusher Khalil Mack coming up with six of them. The Giants have been improving
in that area, with outside backer Kayvon Thibodeaux leading the team with 8.5
sacks, coming up with 3 of them last week. Dexter Lawrence also had 1 to bring
his total to 3 on the season, and Bobby Okereke added nine tackles to bring his
team leading total to 73.
Aside from coming off a Monday night loss and a short work week, the Raiders have
had a lot to deal with. They suddenly have a new general manager, head coach,
offensive coordinator and starting quarterback. The Giants are the traveling team
for this game, but that seems minor by comparison to what the Raiders are going
through. The odds makers are favoring the Raiders, but you'd have to think that
the Giants are hitting them at their lowest disorganized point of the season.
Sunday at 1:00pm Commanders
(3-5) at Patriots (2-6)
Sunday at 4:25pm Giants (2-6) at Raiders (3-5)
at 4:25pm Cowboys (5-2) at Eagles (7-1)
The Eagles are the only NFC East team
favored to win in these games.
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12 Giants at Cowboys
Nov 19 Giants at Commanders