Oakland Raiders take on the New York Giants with QB Geno Smith (not Eli Manning) at quarterback

New York Giants quarterback Geno Smith speaks with reporters at the NFL football team’s training facility, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Giants announced on Tuesday that Smith will start in place of Eli Manning when they face the Raiders in Oakland on Sunday. (AP Photo/Tom Canavan)

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
SRS Contributor

OAKLAND — Sunday’s matchup between the Raiders and Giants at 1:25 p.m. PT will begin a stretch where the Silver and Black will play three of their next four games against NFC East opponents, with the Raiders hosting the Dallas Cowboys on December 17 and then travel to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles on Dec ember 25. Oakland lost to Washington in Week 3 to start the NFC East portion of their schedule.

This will be the first time the Giants have played at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum since 2005.

Oakland (5-6) defeated the visiting Denver Broncos in Week 12 by a score of 21-14 in a game that the Raiders desperately needed to keep their playoff chances alive in the AFC. Oakland’s much maligned defense was the fuel that drove the Raiders to victory, holding the Broncos to just 219 yards of total offense and registering five sacks, two apiece by defensive lineman Denico Autry and linebacker Bruce Irvin.

Defensive end Khalil Mack recorded his 10th career sack against Denver, the most for Mack against any team in the league. Linebacker NaVorro Bowman collected Oakland’s first interception of the season, picking off Broncos starting quarterback Paxton Lynch in the end zone, stalling Denver’s scoring opportunity.

As a unit, the defense held Denver scoreless through three quarters before the Broncos scored 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. Oakland held Denver to 5-of-14 on third-down and made starting drives difficult for the Broncos as punter Marquette King pinned Denver inside their own 10-yard line four times.

Raiders starting quarterback Derek Carr had one of his better games of the season, throwing for 253 yards and two touchdowns on 18-of-24 passes while posting a 136.3 quarterback rating. Carr completed passes to nine different Raider receivers on the day. Wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson led all pass catchers with three receptions for 72 yards, including a 54-yard reception late in the fourth quarter to ice the game for Oakland.

Running back Marshawn Lynch had his best game by far for Oakland, racking up 111 yards of total offense (67 rushing and 44 receiving) with one touchdown.

The New York Giants (2-9) have had a tumultuous season to say the least.  A team that many prognosticators predicted would be a Super Bowl favorite in the NFC, has been a dumpster fire this season. Both of Big Blue’s wins came against teams from the AFC West, defeating Denver in Week 6, 23-10, and the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime, 12-9 in Week 11.

New York is coming off a 20-10 loss in Washington on Thanksgiving night to begin Week 12.

Injuries are part of the game, and the Giants have had the injury bug hit them the hardest with 16 players on injured reserve this season.

Wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall were lost for the season with leg injuries, the offensive line has been shuffled more times than a deck of playing cards, and the defense which was the team’s strength last season finishing in the top-10 in total defense, has slipped to 22nd this season.

And now the unthinkable has happened: The Giants are benching franchise quarterback Eli Manning, a move that has come under heavy scrutiny by many in sports media and professional sports since the Giants announced the move Tuesday.

Manning will be on the sideline when backup Geno Smith takes the field for the Giants, snapping a string of 210 consecutive starts for the two-time Super Bowl MVP. On the season, Manning has thrown for 2,411 yards with 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions with a 84.1 passer rating in 11 games.

But clearly with Manning’s benching, the Giants are aggressively turning the page on the Manning era and the Raiders could be the beneficiaries Sunday with the Giants starting Smith. Smith was an average quarterback in five seasons with the Jets before signing with the Giants in the offseason.

But Smith has had some success against the Raiders and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

In three games against the Silver and Black, Smith has a passer rating of 91.8, his second-highest against any team in his career, according to Josh Dubow of the Associated Press. Smith is 2-1 against Oakland all-time, throwing for 705 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions in those contests.

Rookie tight end Evan Engram is key for New York’s passing offense. Engram leads the Giants with 44 receptions for 470 yards (10.7 avg.) and five touchdowns, tied for the most among rookies this season. Running back Orleans Darkwa powers the Giants’ ground game, rushing for 519 yards (4.6 avg.) on 112 carries and two touchdowns, all career highs.

Defensively for the Giants, eighth-year defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul has 6.5 of the teams 20 sacks, while safety Landon Collins leads the team with 86 tackles (64 solo). Cornerback Janoris Jenkins leads the team with three interceptions, returning two of them for touchdowns to lead the NFL. Jenkins was placed on season-ending injured reserve this week with an ankle injury.

After Sunday’s game, the Raiders will travel to Kansas City to face the Chiefs in a critical divisional game. The Silver and Black already hold a victory over the Chiefs after defeating Kansas City 31-30 back in Week 7 in Oakland.

Tough loss in the Big Apple

By Jeremy Kahn

One day very soon the Oakland Raiders will get back on track and prove to everyone that they are a good football team, and they will return to “The Greatness,” very soon.

Andre Brown scored on a one-yard run after Terrell Thomas returned a Terrelle Pryor interception 65 yards to setup Brown’s one-yard run, as the New York Giants defeated the Raiders 24-20 at MetLife Stadium.

The Giants, who lost their first six games of the season have now three straight, and are right back in the hunt in the NFC East.

Both Brown and Thomas are coming serious injuries to lead the Giants to the victory over the Raiders, who have dropped two in a row.

Pryor and the Raiders offense seemed grounded all day, as they gained only 213 yards of offense on the afternoon.

After a taking 7-0 lead just 53 seconds into the game, things got interesting after the Raiders could not convert on their next series.

Marquette King’s punt was blocked and Cooper Taylor returned it 21 yards for a touchdown to tie up the game.

This was the first blocked punt returned for a touchdown by the Giants since Tom Flynn in 1988.

Sebastian Janikowski gave the Raiders the lead after he connected for a 33–yard field goal, but the lead was short lived.

Ruben Randle caught a five-yard touchdown pass from Eli Manning to give the Giants their first lead the afternoon.

Manning made a huge mistake, as he threw an interception that Tracy Porter returned 43 yards to the end zone, giving the Raiders a 17-14 lead at the half.

Janikowski extended the lead up to six points at 20-14 in the third quarter, as he nailed a 24-yard field goal.

Brown then scored what proved to be the game-winning touchdown with 2:15 remaining in the third quarter.

Josh Brown kicked a 23-yard field goal with just over eight minutes left in the game for the final points of the game.

In the absence of Darren McFadden, who sat out the game while nursing an injured hamstring, Rashad Jennings led the Raiders on the ground with 88 yards on 20 carries.

Pryor, who scored the Raiders first touchdown of the game carried the ball five times and gained just 19 yards.

In the air, Pryor went just 11-for-26 for 122 yards and that costly interception that eventually cost the Raiders the game.

New York State of Mind: Raiders invade MetLife Sunday

By. Joe Hawkes-Beamon

OAKLAND — Looking to put behind that 49-20 beat down at the hands of quarterback Nick Foles, and the Philadelphia Eagles at O.co Coliseum last Sunday, the Raiders will visit MetLife Stadium for the first time when they take on the New York Giants Sunday. It’s the second straight week that the Silver and Black will face an NFC East team.

There is no question that Oakland’s (3-5) defense was embarrassed by Foles, who tied an NFL record with seven touchdown passes, but they have to put that performance behind them. Rookie cornerback D.J. Hayden is still trying to chase down Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper.

Even with Giants quarterback Eli Manning struggling this year throwing the ball(2,167 YDs, 10 TDs, and a league-leading 15 INTs), Oakland needs to be real careful because the younger Manning brother has a propensity to have a big when his team needs one.

With running back Darren McFadden hurt once again (boy, has that been the norm for his career in Oakland), expect backup running back Rashad Jennings to get the start Sunday.

Jennings picked up his first 100-yard rushing game since 2010 against the Eagles, racking up 102 yards on 15 carries and a touchdown. The bruising running back also showed his versatility in the passing game, with 74 yards on seven catches.

New York (2-6), are coming off their bye week.

After starting the season 0-6, the Giants have won two straight games and are playing better, especially against the run.

In their last game (coincidently against Philadelphia), the Giants held the Eagles to 48 rushing yards. New York will look to stop Oakland’s ground game, particularly quarterback Terrelle Pryor by having middle linebacker Jon Beason spy on Pryor throughout the game.

The Giants know that Pryor is the key to Oakland’s offense and are going to throw everything (including the kitchen sink) at him. New York is currently ranked 28th in the league defensively, ninth against the run.

After sacking Ben Roethlisberger five times and collecting two interceptions in a 21-18 nail-biter in Oakland two weeks ago, the Raiders sacked Foles only twice, but allowed him to pick apart the defense. Outside of his seven touchdowns, Foles finished 22-of-28 for 406 yards passing and a perfect quarterback rating (158.3).

Oakland must get back to what they do best: get after the quarterback. The Raiders have sacked the opposing quarterback 23 times this year. Manning has been sacked 19 times this year.

Something has to give right? Giants are a 7.5-point favorite Sunday.