The Raiders are just one game back of the floundering Kansas City Chiefs with the lowly New York Giants traveling to Oakland this weekend. Now is the time for the Raiders to make a statement.
Last week, the Oakland Raiders caught a break when they beat a train-wreck of a Denver Broncos team that had moved on to a second-year quarterback in Paxton Lynch. He played pretty much like what you would expect for a guy that couldn’t even beat out Trevor Semian for the top spot.
This week, the Raiders get to host a possible even bigger train wreck in the New York Giants, who had started Eli Manning for the past 210 straight games in favor of….former New York Jets starter Geno Smith?
On the one hand, the Giants were no great shakes with Manning under center. They enter the game at 2-9. They are only scoring 15.6 points per game (31st in the league) and allowing 24.3 points per game (22nd).
“Geno, in particular, we saw him back in ’15 here when he came in, and I think he had 40-plus throws in that game and completed a good number of them,” coach Jack Del Rio said of the Giants new starter this week. “We know he’s very capable.”
Still, even with a deteriorated Manning, Smith is not the quarterback of the future in the Big Apple. The Giants drafted Davis Webb in the third round out of Cal in 2016 and he is hailed as the quarterback of the future. Yet, the Giants inexplicably are starting Smith. The Raiders will look to exploit his shaky history and beat up on a Giants team who will most likely have a new coach and quarterback next season.
New York’s leading rusher is Orleans Darkwa, who played collegiately in New Orleans at Tulane, with 519 yards. That might not seem very impressive, however, the Raiders would love to have someone over 500 yards carrying the ball as leading rusher Marshawn Lynch has only 457. Despite that, Lynch is doing what team brought him in to do.
A win would put the Raiders back at .500 at the season as they currently sit a 5-6. However, they are still only one game back of the first-place Chiefs, who are in a freefall at 6-5.
The Raiders receiving corp is a bit depleted as Michael Crabtree will sit out with a one game suspension (reduced from two on Monday) for his role in a fight in last week’s game. Also, Amari Cooper hasn’t practiced yet this week as he is in concussion protocol. Add Coradelle Patterson, who was limited with a hip injury, and the Raiders need similar production out of Seth Roberts and Johnny Holton as they did against Denver. Tight end Jared Cook would be well advised to eat his Wheaties this week as he should play a larger role due to the injuries and is a good matchup against the Giants muted defense.
Cornerback David Amerson is listed a limited, although he hasn’t played in a while, as was guard Gabe Jackson. At this point in the season, most NFL teams run at less than full strength.
The Giants linebacker Jonathan Casillas (neck/wrist), defensive tackle Damon Harrison (elbow) and offensive lineman Justin Pugh (back) did not participate in Wednesday’s practice.
Gamete in Oakland is 1:25 p.m. The Raiders opened as a 7.5 point favorite, but that has since been bet up to 9 points. The over/under opened at 40.5 points, but it is now 42.