The New York Giants face a difficult Week 13 trip west to face the Oakland Raiders. The Dec. 3 match-up is sandwiched in-between a trip to Maryland to face the Washington Redskins and a home game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Let’s learn more about the Raiders.
AFC West: 2nd
Playoffs: Lost to Houston Texans in Wild Card round, 27-14
Offense: 7th in points scored, 6th in yards gained
Defense: 20th in points allowed, 26th in yards allowed
TE Jared Cook, WR/KR Cordarrelle Patterson, OT Marshall Newhouse, LB Jelani Jenkins, QB E.J Manuel, RB Marshawn Lynch
OT Menelik Watson, LB Malcolm Smith, DT Stacy McGee, RB Latavius Murray, CB DJ Hayden, TE Mychal Rivera, DT Dan Williams, WR Andre Holmes, QB Matt McGloin, LB Daren Bates, S Brynden Trawick, S Nate Allen
- Round 1 (No. 24) — CB Gareon Conley
- Round 2 (No. 56) — S Obi Melifonwu
- Round 3 (No. 88) — DT Eddie Vanderdoes
- Round 4 (No. 129) — OT David Sharpe
- Round 5 (No. 168) — LB Marquel Lee
- Round 7 (No. 221) — S Shalom Luani
- Round 7 (No. 231) — OT Jylan Ware
- Round 7 (No. 242) — RB Elijah Hood
- Round 7 (No. 244) — DT Treyvon Hester
Three Questions About The Raiders
Levi Damien of SB Nation’s Silver And Black Pride gives us some insight into the Raiders’ offseason.
Ed: What is your favorite thing that the Raiders accomplished this offseason?
Levi: Has to be acquiring Marshawn Lynch. There is nothing not to like about this addition. He is coming home to play, what he called "a childhood dream" and everyone should love a story like that. He's probably the best personality to cover as a sportswriter. Even at the age of 31, he's rested for nearly two years (injury shortened 2015 season), so there's plenty of reason to believe he can play at a high level, especially with this offensive line blocking for him.
Ed: What is the one thing they did not accomplish, or that happened to them, that has you the most concerned?
Levi: Still the defense. They got by on the strength of their offense last year and won despite a 26th ranked defense. They signed all of one defensive player in free agency (Jelani Jenkins), and there may not be a player in their draft who will start right away. What they seem to be hoping is that coaching was the problem. So, they brought in former Chargers DC John Pagano as Assistant Head Coach -- Defense to improve "communication," specifically between the secondary and the linebackers. It's a gambit that may or may not solve the issues they had giving up explosive plays last year. Middle linebacker seemed like the obvious choice to help out things, but they largely ignored that position this offseason.
Ed: Are you optimistic that this will be a good season for the Raiders or pessimistic that a down year might be coming?
Levi: I think the offense will be good enough to carry them to double digit wins and another trip to the postseason. They added some serious weapons to an already top flight offense -- most notably with the additions of Lynch and tight end Jared Cook. But without defensive improvement, they won't go far in the playoffs.
Biggest Storyline Heading Into Training Camp
It’s always Marshawn Lynch. Mainly because he’s such a strong personality, but also because he’s playing for his hometown team after coming out of retirement and everyone wants to know if he can return to his All Pro form at age 31.
Under-The-Radar Storyline Heading Into Training Camp
Will the Raiders add another inside linebacker? They still don’t have an answer at the position. Last year’s starter Perry Riley Jr hasn’t been re-signed and hasn’t signed anywhere else, so there is still a chance he could return or they could add another free agent linebacker. They cut two linebackers recently which adds to the possibility.
Notable Injuries Heading Into Training Camp
2016 2nd round pick Jihad Ward had offseason foot surgery and will miss part of camp. Austin Howard had offseason shoulder surgery and there’s a chance the team could release him once he passes his physical. If not, he will join the competition at right tackle with Marshall Newhouse who also missed offseason practices with an undisclosed injury. Other notable injuries include reserve center Jon Feliciano and defensive lineman Darius Latham. At this time only Ward is not expected to be ready for the start of camp.
The Raiders are one of the most interesting — and best — teams the Giants will play in 2017. How can they not be? They have the always interesting Marshawn Lynch making a comeback after a year in retirement. They have 2016 Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack. They have $125 million quarterback Derek Carr. They will be playing their final season in Oakland before moving to Las Vegas.
How will the Giants handle this trip, one they haven’t made since 2005? They have extra time to prepare for the Raiders since Week 12 game vs. Washington is on Thanksgiving night. Still, it is smack in the middle of two NFC East games.
More questions. How will the Giants deal with Mack? Will Lynch be able to run on the Giants? What will an Amari Cooper-Janoris Jenkins match-up look like? How good will the revamped Oakland defense be?