Three keys for the Giants to come away with a "W" on Sunday:
It has been an emotional week for the New York Football Giants, but there is still a game to play this Sunday in Oakland.
Playing with a new starting quarterback for the first time since 2004, Big Blue travels to face the Raiders of the AFC West, which is the division both of the Giants' wins have come against this season. This will be the last time the Giants play in Oakland before the franchise moves to Las Vegas.
"It's obviously emotional," coach Ben McAdoo said of the change from Eli Manning to Geno Smith. "A lot of reactions out there. I get the reactions and I understand the emotions. I understand the responses. It's been a tough couple days. We feel we have to put our emotions aside and make the best decision for the New York Football Giants, and I'm at peace with the decision."
With that said, here are three keys to victory for the Giants:
TURN OFF BEAST MODE
In his last game against the Giants in 2014, Marshawn Lynch tied a Seahawks record with four rushing touchdowns. Now with his hometown Raiders, Lynch is coming off a season-high 26 carries and looks to be featured more with a depleted receiver corps (Michael Crabtree is suspended and Amari Cooper is in the concussion protocol and dealing with an ankle injury). In their five wins, the Raiders averaged 28.2 rushing attempts. In their six losses, they averaged 18.3.
MORE PRODUCTION FROM RECEIVERS
According to STATS LLC, the Raiders and Giants rank second and third, respectively, for the most dropped passes in the league this season. Playing a clean game is essential for both teams on Sunday. The Raiders will miss their top two receivers this week, while the Giants have played that way for six games now and are breaking in a new starting quarterback this week. Big Blue likely will get a lift with the probable return of Sterling Shepard, who was coming off a career game before missing the last two weeks with migraines. That will also take some of the pressure off rookie tight end Evan Engram. But, first, the Giants need to keep Smith protected from reigning Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack.
BEND BUT DON'T BREAK
Big Blue's defense and Oakland's offense have their deficiencies, but few are better in close quarters on their respective sides of the ball. The Giants have allowed touchdowns on just 55.6 percent of opponents' goal-to-go series, tied with Jacksonville for the second-best mark in the NFL. On the offensive end, the Raiders are third in the NFL, finding the end zone 85.7 percent of the time. That success expands to the entire red zone, where Oakland has a touchdown efficiency of 64.0 percent. The problem for the Giants, though, has been allowing the big touchdowns, which negate their goal line and red zone numbers.
A look at the key playmakers on the Raiders' roster