The Oakland Raiders should beat the New York Giants on Sunday. Here are five ways they can ensure the correct outcome.
It may not have seemed like it, because the season has been unexpected, bumbled mess in Oakland, but the month of November wasn’t bad for the Oakland Raiders.
They went 2-1 and improved to 5-6 in the month that also featured a blowout loss to the much better New England Patriots in Mexico City and the bye week for the Raiders. Oakland’s two wins came by a total of 10 points against the Miami Dolphins and Denver Broncos, who went a combined 0-8 in the month.
Also in Oakland’s favor was a complete collapse by the Kansas City Chiefs, who once owned a three-game lead over Oakland. The Raiders now trail the 6-5 Chiefs by one game in the AFC West. Making things even more possible for Oakland is they continue to play a weak schedule. Next on tap for the Raiders are the 2-9 New York Giants at home.
Here are five keys for Oakland against the Giants:
5. Act like the better team
The Raiders are 5-6 for a reason. They are an uneven team that doesn’t always fire on all calibers. There are issues on both offense and defense. However, Oakland does have ability. It is capable of winning games. Oakland has played its best games this season against weaker teams. Denver looked very much like a team on a seven-game losing streak in Week 12 against Oakland. The Raiders did enough to win. That same approach should work against the Giants, who are 2-9 for a reason – they stink in all phases of the game.
4. Smother on defense
The Raiders’ defense is lackluster. But it does perform decently against bad offenses. The Giants have a bad offense. Oakland had success against Denver in the first game with John Pagano as defensive coordinator. He was promoted when Ken Norton Jr was fired. The Raiders’ defensive success had more to do with the Broncos than Pagano. But there is confidence in the Raiders’ defensive room this week. If they play inspired defense, it should be enough.
3. Keep feeding Lynch
The Raiders’ offense is the best when they’re running the ball. Oakland running back Marshawn Lynch ran the ball a season-high 26 times against Denver. His previous season-high was 18 carries in a Week 1 win at Tennessee. Those two games were similar because Oakland jumped out to an early lead. That approach would work this week against the Giants, who have the 31st ranked run defense and it is allowing 131.7 yards a game on the ground. Lynch hasn’t been great. He had just 67 yards on those 26 carries against Denver. But if he can grind down the Giants it will go a long way to helping Oakland snuff the Giants out.
2. Harass Geno
The Raiders have just 19 sacks this season, which is tied for 28th in the NFL. Nine of those sacks have come in two games against Denver’s woeful offensive line. Pagano is going to continue to send the dogs and new Giants’ starter Geno Smith can be an easy prey. The Giants have allowed 26 sacks this season. Smith has been known for being jumpy. Oakland needs to get to him.
1. Don’t turn over the ball
The Raiders are the better team. They’re at home. They should cruise in this game and get to 6-6. Barring major injuries, the only way the Giants can win this game is by getting a load of turnovers. Oakland has to hold onto the ball to keep this game from going sideways.