Giants (2-6) vs Raiders (3-5)
Last Sunday the Raiders welcomed the Philadelphia
Eagles to their stadium. That was a big mistake as they were trounced 49-20. Eagles
quarterback Nick Foles made NFL history at their expense, becoming the first player
to complete 7 passing touchdowns before the beginning of the 4th quarter.
Two weeks ago the Giants got their record up to 2-6 by defeating the Eagles in
Philadelphia 15-7. Now the Giants are coming off a bye week, hoping to build on
the improvements they've made during their two game win streak. They'll have to
dig in fast as all the rest of the teams in their division won games while they
General manager Reggie McKenzie hired head coach Dennis Allen,
who is in his second year and has his team at 3-5 and it's remarkable that he's
achieved that. The Raiders won only four games last season and now have fallen
short of achieving their goal of being at least 4-4 by the half season mark. That's
happened only twice in the last decade. Last weeks big loss was no help, and reminiscent
of how last year they won three of their first seven games then dropped six straight
to finish at 4-12.
Before playing the Eagles, Allen had said that if the Raiders
were to make a run at ending their 10-year playoff drought, they couldn't afford
to lose any more ground in the AFC West. That's the same division where the Kansas
City Chiefs are now sitting with a 9-0 record. The Raiders don't want to lose
any more fans. They have already reduced their stadium capacity to just over 53,000
to prevent blackouts. Now they are on the road against the Giants and it doesn't
help that the Raiders don't travel well. They have dropped 10 of 11 road games
since the start of last season, including seven straight by an average of 15.7
The team took a beating
last week, but don't forget that they were also able to accumulate 560 yards of
total offense. The Raiders weren't able to translate that into many points though.
Quarterback Terrelle Pryor recently set an NFL record for the longest run by a
quarterback with his 93-yard touchdown against Pittsburgh. Pryor has 485 rushing
yards, which is more than his starting running back, Darren McFadden (352), who
will be out for this game. McFadden left early in the second quarter against Philadelphia,
but his backup, Rashad Jennings, came in and rushed for 102 yards.
are ranked fourth in the league with their ground game and Jennings is also the
third most targeted receiver and the only player to catch more than six passes
in a game. Denarius Moore is their top receiver
with 32 catches and 4 touchdowns. Pryor has
had only eight career starts and his offensive line has been shuffled around quite
a bit. He's taken 25 sacks, but it hasn't stopped him from completing 61.1 percent
of his passes, mostly the short quick hit West Coast variety.
What Happened? The 10-ranked defense
in the NFL was torched by Eagles quarterback Nick Foles to the tune of 7 touchdown
passes. The defense was so poor they dropped to the 18th spot. The real mystery
is that the Raiders were actually performing so well up to last week. Lamarr Houston
is the only defensive starter remaining from last season and he's playing in a
different position having switched from left to right end. One reason for their
success is the blitzing schemes they use and Houston has 4 sacks.
a team that puts pressure on quarterbacks so much so that 14 different players
have at least one sack. The secondary had real problems last week and cornerback
Tracy Porter said that they couldn't match the tempo the Eagles set and were out
executed. The Giants are hardly a fast paced offense. Still they can expect Eli
Manning to take some deep shots on them. Manning might be extra tempted considering
the Giants have trouble converting in the red
zone. Why not score from 30 or 40 yards out instead?
The Giants won their last game,
but the offense was unable to punch the ball into the endzone. The offensive line
is improving, but still struggling and Manning seems to have gone to a shorter,
safer passing game to avoid making mistakes. Eli Manning threw 15 interceptions
in the first six games and none the last two. Running back Peyton Hillis has been
a good outlet and Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz each caught 7 passes last game.
Cruz is the leader with 77 catches for 677 yards and 4 touchdowns, and Nicks has
34 catches for 524 yards, but is still looking for his first touchdown.
from injured reserve, Andre Brown had been practicing and could start along with
Peyton Hillis. That could be a boost to an offense that ranks 30th in the NFL
with only 69.9 rushing yards per game. Brown averaged 5.3 yards a carry, rushing
73 times for 385 yards and 8 touchdowns even with missing the last six games of
the season. Brandon Jacobs has the most carries of the active running backs and
has the best average (3.5 yards a carry), but is listed as doubtful for this game,
dealing with hamstring and knee issues.
In the past two games the defense
has been very effective at stopping the run (Adrian Peterson 28 yds, LeSean McCoy
48 yds) and that's led to a noticeable improvement in the pass rush. The defense
had a season high 4 sacks in their last game,
including one by safety Antrel Rolle. Rolle has been a standout player on defense
all this season. In the eight games played, Rolle's had three interceptions, a
forced fumble and a sack.
Also last game, cornerback Terrell Thomas had 11
tackles, a sack and he forced a fumble. Thomas was outstanding enough to be named
the NFC Defensive Player of the Week. Coming off the bye week, Jason Pierre-Paul
said that he's feeling real good and that he had his best practice of the season.
If they can contain Pryor in the pocket, he'll have to resort to passing and that's
not his strength.
Before the bye week the Giants were just two
games back in the division with eight more to play, including a home game against
the first-place Cowboys. As they say, 'you snooze you lose' and that's just what
happened to the Giants by virtue of the other division teams winning all their
games. The Giants saw how the Eagles played against the Raiders last week. Is
Eli Manning a better quarterback than Nick Foles? Do the Giants have better receivers
and a better defense than the Eagles? If you're shaking your head 'yes' then you
know what the Raiders are feeling and thinking as they travel a long way cross
country to face the Giants in the Meadowlands.
The Redskins played their game in
Minnesota on Thursday night. On Sunday afternoon at 1:00pm, at the same time the
Giants are playing, the Eagles will be in Green Bay up against the Packers. Later
at 8:30pm the Cowboys will be playing in New Orleans against the Saints. The Giants
and Eagles are favored to win in their games, the Cowboys are not.
Giants Store, and see some of the really unique items we put together.
There are some items you certainly haven't seen elsewhere, and each sale helps
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TeamGiants on Twitter.Notes.
Giants have only five cornerbacks named NFC
Defensive Player of the Week.
Everson Walls (1990), Jason Sehorn (1997), Phillippi
Sparks (1998), Aaron Ross (2008), and Terrell Thomas (2013).
have the fewest sacks in team history through eight games since 1971.
Eli Manning has tied his career high 8 penalties (groundings, delay of games)
in 2008 and 2011.
Giants defensive unit
has not allowed a touchdown in 10 quarters.
are 2 1/2 games behind Dallas and 1 1/2 in back of the second-place Eagles.
Raiders are 7-25 in November since 2005.
have allowed the second-most sacks in the NFL.
haven't finished with a winning record since winning the AFC championship in 2002
Nov 17- Packers at Giants.
Nov 24- Cowboys at Giants.