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Pick Six: Week 9 will be a battle of attrition for Raiders, Giants

1. Defensive State of Mind

Along with Interim Head Coach Antonio Pierce, defensive coordinator Patrick Graham will be facing his former team this week. The Giants were Graham's most recent stop before arriving to Las Vegas, serving as New York's defensive coordinator and associate head coach for two seasons.

In 2021, Graham coached a Giants defense that tied for fourth in the league in passes defensed (83) and tied for 12th in interceptions (15). So far in 2023, his Raiders defense unit has secured seven turnovers through eight games, more than half of what they totaled the entire 2022 season.

"They're going to challenge us in the run game, so block destruction, setting the edge is important, winning our one-on-one blocks," Graham said of what he's expecting from the Giants. "And then from there, just putting pressure on the quarterback, whether it's through disguise or pressure. So, that's really the philosophy."

2. No Wall Street

The New York Giants will be without one of their top offensive weapons Darren Waller, ruled out with a hamstring injury.

Raider Nation knows exactly what Waller is capable of from the five seasons he spent with the franchise. The 2020 Pro Bowler set a franchise single-season receptions record that same season and caught 17 career touchdowns as a Raider.

It will be a big loss for the Giants as Waller is leading the team in receptions (36) and receiving yards (384).

3. The return of Mr. Jones

While the Giants won't have Waller, they'll be getting back a big piece of their offense in quarterback Daniel Jones.

Jones is coming off his best NFL season in which he threw for a career-high in passing yards and completion percentage. He's not been able to find a groove yet this season, with a 2:6 touchdown-interception ratio, and has missed the last three games with a neck injury.

Despite his early season struggles, Jones still gives his team the best chance to win. When the Raiders last faced the Giants in 2021, Jones threw for 110 passing yards and a touchdown while completing a season-high 75 percent of his throws.

4. Will Davante Adams shake the slump?

Davante Adams has averaged 35.5 receiving yards over the past four games, including a one catch, 11-yard showing in last Monday's loss to the Detroit Lions. As the Raiders offense tries to get their perennial Pro Bowler back in the mix, they're switching some things up.

Bo Hardegree will be calling plays for the offense and earlier this week, Pierce named rookie quarterback Aidan O'Connell the starter. In Week 4 when O'Connell made his first NFL start, he connected with Adams for eight catches and 75 yards.

"I think he's a little bit more loose than that first time a couple weeks ago against the Chargers," Coach Pierce said of the rookie QB. "But he's the same guy every day. He's one of the first guys in the building, one of the last ones to leave. Even when he was a backup and not going to suit up he was still in here working.

"You watch him, he sits in his little area in the cafeteria and he's got a paper in front of him, he's studying, he's reading the Bible. He's a very mature individual for a rookie, and he carries himself that way."

5. Injury update

The Raiders will be without two of their linebackers – and potentially a third – as Divine Deablo (ankle) and Luke Masterson (concussion) have been ruled out while Robert Spillane (hand) is questionable to play.

On the offensive side of the ball, Thayer Munford Jr. (neck) and Jakob Johnson (concussion) have also been ruled out.

6. What happened last time

The Raiders hold the overall regular-season series lead over the New York Giants, 8-6

The last time the Raiders played the Giants was the 2021 season, coming up shorthanded 23-16 at MetLife Stadium. Nate Hobbsand Maxx Crosbycombined for seven total tackles, four quarterback hits and two tackles for loss in that contest.

The Silver and Black get one last practice in at Intermountain Health Performance Center before their Week 9 matchup against the New York Giants.

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