This offseason giants.com will take a closer look at each of the Giants opponents next season, and how they've changed this past offseason.
*Today, we'll take a look at the Oakland Raiders. The Giants travel to Oakland for a 4:25 game on Sunday December 3rd. The Giants will have had ten days off after playing on Thanksgiving against the Redskins. *
Last Season: 12-4, Tied 1st place AFC West, 1st Wildcard AFC
The Raiders had a coming out party led by young starts Derek Carr, Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper. They compiled a 12-4 record and barely lost out on the division title and a bye week to the Chiefs. A leg injury in a Week 16 win against the Colts forced Carr to miss the remainder of the season, and the Raiders lost their final regular season game (which cost them a bye) and their playoff game to the Texans to end an otherwise successful season.
Point Differential: +31
Key Additions: OL Marshall Newhouse, WR Cordarrelle Patterson, TE Jared Cook, LB Jelani Jankins, RB Marshawn Lynch
Key Losses: LB Malcolm Smith, DL Dan Williams, DL Stacy Mcgee, LB Perry Riley, TE Mychal Rivera
Draft Class: CB Gareon Conley, S Obi Melifonwu, DL Eddie Vanderdoes, David Sharpe, LB Marquel Lee, S Shalom Luani, OT Jylan Ware, RB Elijah Hood, DT Treyvon Hester
Overview: The Raiders are a young, up and coming team that hopes to build on their success last year. If they can build on their good play they have a real chance to challenge in the AFC this year. It will be difficult to repeat their +16 turnover margin, so a regression to the mean could eventually hurt their overall record.
6th yards per game
6th rush yards per game
13th pass yards per game
7th points per game
14th Red Zone %
T-1st Turnover Margin (+16)
The Raiders offense was one of the best in football last year thanks to a balanced attack of pass and run behind a strong offensive line. Derek Carr had a breakout season before his injury, completing nearly 64% of his for just under 4000 yards with 28 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions.
Amari Cooper continued to grow in his second year and was a perfect combination with veteran Michael Crabtree to form a formidable receiving tandem. Both went for more than 1000 and they combined for 13 touchdowns. The addition of Jared Cook at tight end is another weapon for Carr to play with.
Latavius Murray, DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard combined to rush for well over four yards per carry behind an offensive line that returns intact along with the addition of Marshall Newhouse. This year it is more likely that Marshawn Lynch will carry the load, though it will be interesting to see how much time Beast Mode has left.
There's no reason to think the Raiders offense won't be one of the best and balanced units in the league once again.
26th yards per game
23rd rush yards per game
24th pass yards per game
32nd sack rate
16th third down %
24th red zone%
20th points per game
Unlike their offense, the Raiders defense has a lot of work to do. They finished in the bottom third in most major categories and needed the offense to bail them out in many games. The Raiders went with a lot of youngsters on the defensive side but did not develop quite as quickly as they hoped.
The team is going to hope many of those same young players take that next step in their development this year. Jelani Jenkins was brought in to help the linebacker corps with the departures of Perry Riley and Malcolm Smith. The losses of veterans Stacy Mcgee and Dan Williams may hurt on the defensive line as well.
The team has two major playmakers in their front seven with Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin. The former may be the best defensive player in football, a terror against run and pass, while the latter is a versatile linebacker that does a lot to help the team. They need some help, particularly rushing the passer.
The secondary has names people will recognize with starters Sean Smith, David Amerson, Reggie Nelson and Karl Joseph. All four played well and very poorly at times last year and they need to be more consistent limiting teams through the air. Rookies Gareon Conley and Obi Melifonwu should help bolster this unit quickly.
*Conclusion: *The Raiders are going to be a dangerous team once again. If their defense can catch their offense (which should be even better than it was last year) just a little bit, they might be able to challenge the Patriots as the AFC's representative to the Super Bowl.
These opposing playmakers will appear on the Giants' schedule in 2017.