A Look Ahead to the NY Giants vs. Oakland Raiders

jethroBy Mike Garafolo/The Star-Ledger

October 09, 2009, 3:10PM

The Star-Ledger


SUNDAY’S GAME: vs. Raiders, 1 p.m., CBS

 PLAYERS TO WATCH: If QB Eli Manning plays or doesn’t, the Giants’ passing game won’t be at full strength. That means they’re going to have to run the ball against a Raiders defense that’s 26th in the league with 146.2 yards per game allowed. Last year, Oakland was 31st in the league and let up an average of 159.7 yards per game. Hey, that’s what happens when you play from behind most of the time. The Giants, meanwhile, are averaging 145.5 rushing yards per game on offense, which ranks them sixth in the NFL. But I still feel like a big part of their ground attack isn’t clicking as well as it did last year, and that’s their ability to run off the edges. Sure, they’ve had a few big ones off tackle and tight end, but a few of those were because RB Ahmad Bradshaw made something out of nothing. I don’t see enough runs like last season when a Giants’ RB had a free break off a huge lane on the edge or maybe only had to break through a diving arm tackle from behind. This year, they’re seeing too many defenders squared up. Even RB Brandon Jacobs’ 31-yard run against the Cowboys (his longest of the season) came only after he broke two tackles near the line of scrimmage. Credit opposing defenses for trying to take those runs away, but the Giants need to start clearing holes off tackle, especially on those counter runs that are such a big part of their offense. The reason I bring all this up in relation to Sunday’s game is the Giants will be hard pressed to get off the edge because one of the Raiders’ few strengths is the play of their DEs: Richard Seymour and former Cowboy Greg Ellis. The Giants will have their work cut out for them to block those two, especially since starting TE Kevin Boss likely won’t play because of his ankle injury. TE Darcy Johnson will have to show off the blocking skills he’s developed over the past two years while rookie OT William Beatty will have to be a big force as a second TE. (More on Johnson and Beatty on the site here later Friday.)

On defense, it could be a jailbreak up front. Seriously. The Raiders will be without starting RT Cornell Green and LG Robert Gallery, meaning Erik Pears will move to tackle for Green, Chris Morris will slide to from center to guard and Samson Satele, acquired from the Dolphins in the offseason, making his first start of the year at center. All that shuffling can’t be good for continuity, which is something the Giants’ OL has enjoyed with the same starting five over the past few years. Figure the Giants will test Pears with plenty of heat to the that side the way they attacked the edges in KC. The only problem is they don’t have LB Michael Boley, who was very effective on the blitz last week. Boley’s absence means one other player to watch on defense is S Aaron Rouse, who will have a bigger role this week. Without Boley, the Giants will have to play S Michael Johnson down low as a LB in their nickel package, meaning Rouse will be deep and asked to cover the Raiders’ corps of speedy WRs. QB JaMarcus Russell has a big arm, so he can get it downfield (though we can’t promise you he’ll be accurate). That means Rouse will have to do what he hasn’t done well in the past: cover in space.

THE LINE: Giants by 16, over-under 39.

Do you think the Raiders can score 12 points? If so, take the Raiders and the overs because you can’t lose both bets if Oakland scores 12 points. To cover, the Giants would then have to score 29 points, which would make the game go over. Of course, if you don’t think the Raiders are capable of reaching double digits…

I’m going to try keeping my streak of nailing the total going by predicting unders here. And I’ll venture a guess at the line and say that somehow Oakland keeps it within two touchdowns and a safety.

~ by Sactown Raider Boosters on October 9, 2009.

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