Giants vs. Raiders: Preview, prediction

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Will the Giants beat the Raiders Sunday?

Can the New York Giants really do what has thus far proven impossible throughout the glorious history of the NFL? Can they really start a season 0-6 and end up in the playoffs? Shooting a little lower, can they really actually become true contenders after that dreadful start?

Well, who knows what the answer is when it comes to reaching the playoffs? In reality, probably not. If, however, they are going to make the second half of the season truly interesting, and at least make the division-leading Dallas Cowboys pay attention to them, they have to beat the Oakland Raiders on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

Oddsmakers think they can, listing the Giants as 7.5-point favorites. I have to be honest -- the way the Giants have played they shouldn't be 7.5-point favorites over anybody. If you are betting this game and taking the Giants then you are one of the fortunate who has truly disposable income.

That said, the fact that I would bet the Raiders to cover doesn't answer who I think wins the game. Raider Nation believes the Raiders will jet east and come out of MetLife Stadium with a victory.

Not me. I hardly think the Giants will do to the Raiders what they did the last time the two teams met. Don't remember? That was Oct. 11, 2009 and the Giants shellacked the Raiders, 44-7. I do, think, however, that the Giants win this game.

True, despite two straight wins the Giants have yet to play a solid game. Those two victories had as much to do with the inept play of the Minnesota Vikings (thank you again, Josh Freeman) and Philadelphia Eagles as with anything the Giants did.

Maybe Terrelle Pryor torches the Giants with his legs Sunday. Maybe Eli Manning fails to summon his inner Nick Foles and has an awful day against the Oakland secondary. Maybe the Giants special teams coverage units continue to forget that tackling is part of the job.

Who knows what will happen? The Giants have for years been a team that succeeds when you think it should fail and fails when you think it is set up for success. So, your guess is as good as mine when it comes to how the rest of the season plays out.

I believe that eventually, however, the Giants' offense will remember its way to the end zone and that -- led by the extraordinary powers of the alternate white pants they will be wearing Sunday afternoon -- this will be the week when they play something resembling a complete football game.

Prediction: Giants 27, Raiders 24

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