What will be a bigger factor on Sunday? The New York Giants getting quarterback Daniel Jones and potentially starting left tackle Evan Neal back, or the Las Vegas Raiders getting an emotional boost after the firing of Josh McDaniels as head coach? Let’s see what the Big Blue View staff thinks in the staff picks for Week 9 of the 2023-24 NFL season.
Flip a coin. Will the return of Daniel Jones and maybe AT kick-start the Giants’ offense, or will Maxx Crosby be a pain in the neck for Jones and whoever plays RT? Will Aidan O’Connell be flummoxed by Wink’s disguised rushers, or will he connect deep a few times with Davante Adams and underneath with Hunter Renfrow, both M.I.A. this season? Will Josh Jacobs find a soft middle to exploit with LW gone or will A’Shawn and Nacho plug it up? Giants...with little confidence.
Season Record: 72-49
Call me crazy, but I have the Giants winning the game. The game will be won by the defenses, and the Giants’ pass rush should hold the Raiders’ offense in check.
Season Record: 71-50
Has the feeling around a game shifted so much, so quickly as this game? Sunday afternoon this game felt like it would be a repeat of the pug fugly game we saw between the Tommy DeVito-lead Giants and the Jets. Then Daniel Jones returned, the Raiders hit reset on their franchise (again), and benched their starter in exchange for a 4th round rookie.
Now, this game feels like the Indianapolis game a year ago, as the Giants get a team in the process of blowing it all up and giving up on the season.
The Giants will be without the traded Leonard Williams on defense and likely the injured Darren Waller on offense, and will still have to contend with Maxx Crosby and Davante Adams. But this is still a game the Giants should absolutely win, and things could get very ugly indeed if they don’t.
Season Record: 37-24
Daniel Jones is finally back. The Raiders have benched Jimmy Garoppolo for some rookie fourth-rounder who couldn’t initially beat out Brian Hoyer for the QB2 role. That quarterback mismatch is too large for me not to pick the Giants.
Season Record: 66-43
This is more of a gut pick than anything else. It’s possible that the Giants’ defense will regress without Leonard Williams. Daniel Jones’ return is welcome with the loss of Tyrod Taylor, but uncertain in terms of whether it will help or hurt the offense. I think Saquon Barkley and Dexter Lawrence will be the difference-makers in another ugly, low-scoring affair.
Season Record: 62-43
I’m going with the Giants here, but the turbulence in Las Vegas with the firing of Josh McDaniels is a wild card. It’s a difficult week for the Raiders, but the removal of the disliked McDaniels and the motivational ability of interim coach Antonio Pierce, which Giants fans are familiar with, are concerns.
The game gives the Raiders a chance to exhale, and Pierce will have them inspired. It is a Vegas home game, and Raider Nation will want to get behind their team. From the football side, though, it has to be advantage Giants. The Raiders are on a short week with a new coach, new offensive coordinator and will start a rookie quarterback. Wink Martindale’s defense could feast.
On offense, Daniel Jones is back. Andrew Thomas and Evan could be, as well. Saquon Barkley is healthy. Even though Darren Waller isn’t, this could be the most intact the Giants’ offense has been all season. That should lead to improved performance. I do worry about the motivational factors being on the Raiders’ side, but I think this is a game the Giants can and should win.
Season Record: 76-48