Giants vs. Raiders: Breaking down Sunday's game

Al Bello

An in-depth look at Sunday's Giants-Raiders match-up.

The New York Giants need a victory on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders to maintain any real hope of catching the front-running Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East. Can the Giants, favored by 7.5 points, get one? Let's break the game down and see it shapes up for the Giants.

[Related: Complete Giants-Raiders Hub Page]

When The Giants Have The Ball

The Giants are not counting on doing to the Raiders what the Philadelphia Eagles did last Sunday when Nicks Foles threw seven touchdown passes as the Eagles stomped the Raiders, 49-20.

"Each week is different.You can't just say what happened to a team the week prior, and automatically assume it's going to happen again. Usually it doesn't," said Giants' quarterback Eli Manning. "They come with something to prove and come out with a better performance."

Still, with targets like Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, Rueben Randle and Brandon Myers the Giants might be able to take advantage of Oakland, ranked 25th in the NFL against the pass.

The Giants, ranked 30th in the league running the ball (69.9 yards per game), get Andre Brown back Sunday for the first time this season. If Brandon Jacobs (hamstring) is healthy enough to contribute the Giants will be deeper at running back than they have been at virtually any time this season.

Manning still leads the league in interceptions with 15, and the Giants -12 takeaway/giveaway ratio is last in the NFL.


New York Giants

Pts Yrds Pass Rush
Offense 17.6 327.8 (22nd) 257.9 (13th) 69.9 (30th)
Defense 27.9 344.3 (14th) 242.0 (16th) 102.3 (9th)

When The Raiders Have The Ball

The Giants are allowing only 3.6 yards per rushing play against, fourth in the NFL. They have successfully defended running backs like LeSean McCoy and Adrian Peterson, and have faced running quarterbacks like Cam Newton and Michael Vick this season. Terrell Pryor of the Raiders poses a formidable challenge, though, because of his running skills. Pryor leads the Raiders, and all NFL quarterbacks, with 485 yards rushing this season. He averages 7.7 yards per rush.

"With Pryor as a quarterback, have a whole new dimension in terms of their offensive football," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "He has tremendous speed, tremendous ability and a strong arm. They do run an option style offense with him. He may average 10 to 12 runs per game."

The Giants have shown excellent discipline in run defense so far this season, and that will have to continue Sunday. With Pryor leading the way the Raiders average 147.8 yards rushing per game, fourth in the league.So, this is strength against strength and which team succeeds here will have an excellent shot at winning the game. The Giants will be without veteran defensive tackle Shaun Rogers, who was placed on IR Thursday due to a knee injury.

The Raiders appear likely to be without running back Darren McFadden (hamstring), so that might put even more of the rushing load on Pryor, who averages 13.4 carries per game.

Oakland's leading receiver is Denarius Moore, who has 32 catches for 513 yards (16 yards per catch) and four touchdowns. The Giants could be thin in the secondary Sunday as both Trumaine McBride and Corey Webster have missed practice time this week with groin injuries.


Oakland Raiders

Pts Yrds Pass Rush
Offense 18.3 345.5 (14th) 197.8 (30th) 147.8 (4th)
Defense 24.9 357.3 (18th) 262.6 (25th) 94.6 (6th)

Special Teams

Counting the errant snap by long-snapper Zak DeOssie that resulted in a Philadelphia Eagles' touchdown two weeks ago the Giants have now surrendered four punt return touchdowns this season. Awful is the only way to describe that. The Giants are middle of the pack in kickoff return, allowing 25 yards per return.

"It's the same guys blocking and what's the difference? It frustrates you. You can do one end of it and play real fast and the other end and play tentative. So we're trying to create guys playing fast and confident on both coverage teams," said Giants' special teams coordinator Tom Quinn.

The Giants have faced several top-flight returners this season. The Raiders don't appear to have one, however. Oakland averages 9.2 yards on punt returns and 21.4 on kickoff returns.

Rueben Randle averages only 6.5 yards returning punts for the Giants. Jerrel Jernigan averages 23 yards per kickoff return.

Oakland placekicker Sebastian Janikowski, one of the best kickers in the league since being drafted in the first round in 2001, is 9-of-13 in field-goal attempts this season. Two of those misses, however, are from outside 50 yards. Josh Brown of the Giants is 12-of-14 with a long of 46 yards.

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