The New York Giants will try to enter their bye week on a high note when they host the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
The Giants fell to 2-6 on Monday night in Kansas City; and three of their losses have been decided by a combined total of seven points. The Raiders (5-2) enter the game fresh off their bye week and consecutive double-digit victories over Denver and Philadelphia.
"In talking about this team, this is a very well-balanced, very well-coached, very explosive team," coach Joe Judge said of the Raiders. "They've got a lot of weapons on offense. They've got some playmakers on defense that can really get after you in the pass game and can play very advantageous in coverage and they're very well-coached and they've got a very good special teams corps."
Here are three keys to victory for the Giants:
Clean up penalties, especially in big spots
If you watched Monday Night Football, you know this is where to start. The Giants had 10 penalties for 88 yards, and while the Chiefs had 12 for 103 yards of their own, Big Blue's mistakes will be remembered because they contributed to the loss. The backbreakers down the stretch were taunting on fullback Eli Penny after a 16-yard gain and an offside penalty on linebacker Oshane Ximines that negated a game-sealing interception.
"It's never acceptable to do that," Ximines said of his infraction. "And it goes against everything we're building as a team."
Play complementary football
The first four drives on Monday Night Football went takeaway, giveaway, touchdown allowed, and three-and-out. Fast-forwarding to the fourth quarter, the Giants couldn't get a boost from their special teams, either. Instead of pinning the Chiefs on what became their game-winning drive, a 34-yard Riley Dixon punt and an illegal touch penalty on Cam Brown spotted Kansas City, which only needed a field goal in a tie game, at its own 29.
Meanwhile, Judge specifically pointed to this area as a strength of the Raiders under Rich Bisaccia, the NFL's first interim head coach to win his first two games since Dan Campbell with the Dolphins in 2015. Gary Moeller (2000 Lions) is the only interim head coach in the Super Bowl era to win his first three games.
"Richie's a guy I've known for some time now, and he's done a terrific job," Judge said. "He's very situationally aware. He's very fundamentally sound in terms of how he coaches. He believes in a good balanced offensive attack and good complementary football. That's shown up in a couple of games he's been in charge and I think there's good carryover obviously from what Jon [Gruden] was doing systematically in terms of who they are as a team."
Defend the deep ball
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has 16 deep completions (20+ air yards) this season, the second-most in the NFL. His 118.5 passer rating on deep pass attempts ranks fourth among all quarterbacks with a minimum of 20 such attempts. On the other side, the Giants are allowing a 112.3 passer rating on deep attempts, the fifth-highest rate in the league.
"He's got great command," Giants safety and defensive co-captain Logan Ryan said. "That game against the Eagles was a clinic, an offensive clinic. He's got great command of his system and the quarterback has a lot on his plate at the line of scrimmage. I know in that system he's calling a lot of plays at the line of scrimmage. When he knows what you're in, he's calling a good play against that defense and he's taking the profit. He's an accurate thrower, he's a smart thrower of the football, he's taking care of the ball. Like I said, he's operating the quarterback position at one of the highest levels in the league right now. You've got to give him his respect. Again, a staple of what we do is we've got to make it difficult on him pre-snap in what he does and what he's seeing, and not let it be the truth all the time, only the truth some of the times."
View rare photos of the history between the Giants and Raiders ahead of their Week 9 matchup.