Despite a heel injury hampering Eli Manning, the Giants should be pretty happy with the spot they are in now.
With the team carrying a 4-0 record into this weekend’s game against a weak Oakland Raiders squad, the Giants most likely will not need Manning for the entire duration of the game. Expect Manning to start, however, as he holds the third-longest consecutive games-played streak among quarterbacks behind New England’s Tom Brady and Indianapolis’ Peyton Manning.
What the Giants need to look to do against Oakland is the same of what they did against Kansas City in the first half. Control the ball and score early points to pad a lead that should last them through the second half. We all know Raiders’ quarterback Jamarcus Russel does not fit into Oakland’s system, and the talent surrounding him is hardly visible.
In last week’s game in Kansas City, the Giants softened up a bit too much in the second half and the play-calling was somewhat questionable. Following Manning’s departure, backup quarterback David Carr entered the game and immediately began with pass plays when the Giants really needed to simply run out the clock. There was no reason for Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride to throw in that situation, considering the lead he had and the time that was left for the Chiefs to come back.
Expect the Giants’ defense to stiffen up Oakland’s rushing attack. Oakland had just 45 yards on 22 carries in last week’s 29-6 loss to the Texans, who went into that game with the league’s worst rushing defense. The Giants’ defense should take care of Jamarcus Russel, who has completed only 40% of his passes for this season.
The Giants offense moved the ball well last week, and a surprisingly nice touchdown grab by wide receiver Hakeem Nicks last weekend put the game away for good. Steve Smith has continued to dominate opposing defenses, and I’m expecting that to continue this weekend.
As long as Manning starts, which it seems like he will, expect the Giants to come out on top in this one. I’m predicting 24-6, Giants.
Also worth mentioning…
- Giants will be returning home for the first time in a month, when they hosted the Redskins in week 1.
- This is the second consecutive season that the Giants have started their season 4-0
- There are four other undefeated teams remaining
- The chance of a 4-0 team making the playoffs: 84%