The New York Giants are a home victory over the Oakland Raiders away from moving out of last place in the NFC East. Well, technically they'd still be tied in last at 3-6, but they'd also be tied in third and only two games out of first place before the Cowboys and Saints play Sunday night.
Considering that they've won their last five games after their bye by an average of 21 points per game, and considering that the Raiders are 0-3 on the road and coming off their worst performance of the season, the odds are clearly in Big Blue's favor entering Sunday's matchup.
|Giants: Last five seasons, post-bye|
|Pro Football Reference|
Here's a final look at the game from New York's perspective, along with a prediction...
What New York must do to win, offensive edition
Do what the Eagles did. Or, frankly, anything resembling that. Philadelphia torched this defense last week with little help from the running game, so Eli Manning, Victor Cruz and Co. should be capable of doing the exact same thing Sunday. The opportunities will come regardless, so as long as Manning doesn't start turning it over at an unhealthy rate, they should be just fine.
What New York must do to win, defensive edition
Don't let Terrelle Pryor take over. This defense has been surprisingly good of late, and the linebacking corps has improved with the addition of Jon Beason. The Giants probably don't have to stress about a below-average passing game, but the Raiders are one of only four teams averaging 5.0 yards per carry this season, and Pryor can change games with his legs.
Five most important non-quarterbacks
Cruz: Hakeem Nicks and Rueben Randle haven't been too reliable, and the running game is still a question mark. With the offensive line also shorthanded, Manning really needs his top receiver to come through.
Jacquian Williams: Pryor's got a bad knee right now, and the Giants don't usually use spies, but Williams has the best chance of leading the defense against quarterback scrambles.
Will Beatty: That Oakland pass rush has had some impressive spurts this season, and Beatty is the blind-side protector.
Justin Tuck: He's been a pleasant surprise lately. Now, he can be a game-changer against a weak and depleted offensive line.
Prince Amukamara: So long as Corey Webster's out, he'll make this list.
Injury analysis, Raiders edition
The Raiders are a mess. Darren McFadden is out, as is D.J. Hayden. Those are big blows on both sides of the ball, putting pressure on Rashad Jennings and whoever can step up at corner (probably Phillip Adams). Tackles Matt McCants and Tony Pashos are both out as well, which means rookie Menelik Watson will make his first career start on the right side.
They took a beating in Philadelphia, which will make the task even more difficult Sunday.
Injury analysis, Giants edition
Corey Webster is out with a groin injury, but that Oakland receiving corps isn't scaring anyone. Prince Amukamara and a solid group of safeties should be able to hold it down. Veteran Terrell Thomas has also played well of late.
On offense, Cruz has had two weeks to recover from a neck injury and should be good to go.
B/R NFC East blog prediction: Giants 38, Raiders 17
The Giants traditionally struggle in November, but they're coming off the bye, they're at home, and they're fighting for their lives. Oakland's defense was exposed last week. Eli Manning and Co. will dominate this game.