The big news heading into this NFC vs AFC matchup is the benching of New York Giants franchise quarterback Eli Manning for backup Geno Smith. It has sent shockwaves throughout the NFL and has the potential of a major backlash if Smith plays poorly. For the Oakland Raiders, they are still alive in the AFC Wild Card race at just one game back. They hope to get a victory at home this weekend over one of the worst teams in the league. Kickoff inside Oakland Alameda Coliseum is at 4:25 PM ET.
Since the turn of the century, the Raiders and Giants have played each other 4 times. The Giants hold a 3-1 record against Oakland during that span, including winning 3 straight games. These two teams haven’t played against each other since 2013.
The Giants (2-9) are 1-5 away from home with their only road victory being at Denver. The Giants have long since thrown in the towel on this season, especially after losing their top weapons on offense. But, their treatment of franchise QB Eli Manning has the majority of the Giants fanbase lashing out against the franchise. Geno Smith will get his first start in over 13 months and hopes to do something Eli hasn’t done much of this year – get the win.
Oakland (5-6) has a 3-3 record at home and has won 3 of their last 5 games. Unfortunately, they are still 1 game back of the last AFC Wild Card spot and have lost to most of the teams ahead of them. They get the Giants at a good time because Oakland is struggling to get anything going on offense and the Giants have one of the worst defenses in the league. Can Oakland capitalize on the return of Geno Smith or will they fall further back in the AFC Wild Card hunt?
The spread opened with the Raiders favored by 7.5 points. It currently sits at -9 for Oakland. The Over/Under opened at 41 points and has gone up to 42 total points.
The Raiders are in trouble. Forget the Giants for a moment as the Raiders have many issues of their own. Typically, games like this are considered “get right” games where one team bounces back from previous poor play to get a win and look good doing it. But, the Raiders aren’t in a position to do that this weekend and that’s largely because of their own poor play on offense. To make matters worse, Oakland will be without their top 2 receivers this weekend, which will give the Giants a legit shot at the win here and certainly a victory ATS.
Raiders receiver Amari Cooper remains in concussion protocol and doesn’t appear to be ready for this weekend’s game. Their other top receiver Michael Crabtree will be suspended this weekend for his fight against Broncos’ cornerback Aqib Talib last weekend. Without their top 2 receivers, QB Carr will have a hard time throwing the ball to anyone other than TE Jared Cook. Receivers Patterson, Roberts, Whitney and Holton don’t put the fear in anyone, not even the bad Giants secondary.
In addition to Oakland’s receiving corps depletion, they don’t have a good running game. They only average 91 ypg on the ground and that won’t get it done against anyone in the league.
Although the Giants lost last week to Washington, they did get a big win over Kansas City 2 weeks ago, further proving that you can’t just sleepwalk against them. But, it’s all going to come down to Geno Smith’s performance this week. He will be facing an aggressive Raiders defense that gets after the QB.
For Smith, and the Giants offense to have success in this one, they will need Smith to make plays with his legs and to keep the 3rd downs to manageable distances. Long passing downs will definitely play in favor of the Raiders’ pass rush and hurt Smith’s chances at success this week.
Oakland is 2-6-1 ATS in their last 9 games, 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games as a favorite of 3.5 to 9.5 points, and 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games against the NFC. The Giants are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games against AFC opponents.
I don’t have confidence in either team this weekend. Oakland only scores 20.5 ppg and that’s with their top receivers playing. The Giants only score 15.6 ppg and have a new QB playing this weekend. Also, neither defense has been lights out this season, which means they could easily crumble under any pressure in this game. So, what you have here is two bad teams and a near-double digit spread. I don’t see the Raiders winning by 10 or more points.
In the Raiders last 3 wins, they’ve won by 7 points or less. And, that 7 point win was last weekend against Denver who was making a furious comeback before time ran out.
If you can believe it, the Giants rushing attack has had more success this year than Oakland’s. But, not by much. I see both teams looking to run the ball this weekend in order to save their QB’s from taking a beating. I believe the Raiders will win, but only by a TD. Oakland 20 – Giants 13.