The Giants.com crew reacts to Sunday's victory over the Raiders as the Giants enter the bye week on a high note.
John Schmeelk: If there was ever a game that showed the importance of situational football, it was the Giants' win against the Raiders at MetLife Stadium. Looking at the top-line numbers, it seems impossible the Giants could have won the game.
The Raiders outgained the Giants, 403-245. Derek Carr threw for 186 more yards than Daniel Jones. The Raiders had 24 first downs to only 16 for the Giants and ran 13 more plays. The Raiders punted only twice and had five drives travel more than 50 yards. The Giants only had one drive go for more than 50 yards and had two others go for 47 and 48 yards.
So how did the Giants win the game?
The converted 50% of their third downs and the Raiders converted only 33%.. Las Vegas scored only one touchdown in six red zone appearances, which is why they only had 16 points. The Raiders had three more penalties for 30 more yards than the Giants. The Giants were +2 in turnover ratio, including an interception returned for a touchdown. All of those factors swung the game the Giants way.
It's fair to ask whether or not this is a sustainable way to win football games over a long stretch of games, but that doesn't matter the Monday morning after a victory. The coaching staff put together a plan to give the team a chance to win the game and the players executed it.
Dan Salomone: Sundays typically reflect the week of practice in the NFL, but in this case, the Giants didn't show it as they navigated their share of distractions. The buildup was muddied by false-positive COVID-19 tests and players going in and out of the protocols, not to mention the uncertainty of which – if any playmakers – would return from injuries. Fans understandably don't want to hear coachspeak after losses, but it makes sense after wins, especially ones that were achieved under unconventional circumstances.
"We went into this week truly with everyone has to be ready, and we say that all the time," coach Joe Judge said. "This week was one of those deals where – normally, we're able to talk through some of the inactives early in the week, anticipating. Maybe it's through possible injury or game plan having to play something. This was a week I had to look the coaches in the eye in the staff meeting early in the week and say, 'Hey guys, just have them all ready. When we figure this out in terms of who's going to be available, we'll figure it out. But have them all ready.' And I think Zay [Xavier McKinney] was in that crew of obviously staying ready, doing a good job preparing, and obviously came out today and did his job well and made a lot of plays for us."
Lance Medow: The Giants have been searching all season for complementary football and they finally accomplished that feat in Week 9 vs the Raiders. Was it all pretty on offense? No, but Daniel Jones and Co. did enough to move the chains consistently, thanks to a strong run game, and scored on four (one touchdown, three field goals) of their eight possessions. The run game was so critical as it kept the Giants in mostly manageable third-down situations. Of their 12 third downs, seven were for seven yards or less and they converted four of them; and their success rate came via a season-high 16 runs for 5+ yards – something that haven't accomplished since Week 11, 2018 against the Bucs. The Giants took advantage of a run defense that was allowing 131 yards per game.
Although the offense only produced 16 points, the defense provided a lift with Xavier McKinney's Pick 6 off Derek Carr early in the third quarter. Patrick Graham's unit collected three takeaways against a Raiders team that was effective in protecting the ball (just five turnovers in their first seven games), turning their good fortune into 10 points.
If you're looking for one particular area to highlight, it has to be the red zone defense. The Raiders piled up 403 yards of total offense, but were 1-of-6 in the red zone (with three field goals). They held the ball for 28 snaps during a three-drive, 13-minute sequence and were outscored, 7-6, during that stretch. New York held a Las Vegas offense that was averaging 26 points per contest to just 16 and the Giants were only were flagged for four penalties.
View photos from the New York Giants' Week 9 matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders.