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Pick Six: Without Cooper And Crabtree, Who Steps Up On The Raiders Offense?

It's been quite the week for the Oakland Raiders and the New York Giants.

Following Sunday's melee at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, the Silver and Black will be without the services of Derek Carr as he serves a one-game suspension, as well as his running mate Amari Cooper as he deals with an ankle injury.

On the other sideline, Head Coach Ben McAdoo made some waves this week when he announced that instead of two-time Super Bowl Champion Eli Manning getting the start, he'd be rolling with Geno Smith under center Sunday afternoon.

Sunday's game is flush with storylines, so without further ado, here are six things you should be watching Sunday afternoon at the OACC.

1. Who steps up out wide?

Michael Crabtree won't be suiting up Sunday afternoon at the OACC (suspension) and Head Coach Jack Del Rio made it official Friday afternoon that Amari Cooper won't either (injury).

So, without the services of the Raiders top two wide outs, who's going to step up for Todd Downing's offense?

Headed into 2017, one of the perceived strengths of the Raiders roster was its plethora of playmakers, and without 'Coop' and 'Crab' that depth will be put to the test.

It's no secret that the Giants have had a hard time stopping the opposition's passing game in 2017 – they're ranked No. 29 in that metric for a reason – so I'm excited to see which wide receivers step up Sunday afternoon.

Seth Roberts has typically had a knack for the big moment, but Cordarrelle Patterson and Johnny Holton will no doubt be utilized as well.

The Giants have also had a hard time covering the tight end this year; could Sunday be a big day for Jared Cook?

2. Can "The Beast" keep eating?

Over the past three weeks, Marshawn Lynch has arguably played his best football in Silver and Black, totaling 191 yards and three touchdowns in that span.

"Beast Mode" has been running with a purpose since he returned from his one-game suspension, and while his total yardage numbers might not jump off the stat sheet, when the Raiders have needed big, important yards, Lynch has answered the call nearly every time.

With a wide receiving corps that isn't operating at full capacity, establishing a presence on the ground will be crucial to offensive success on Sunday afternoon.

I anticipate No. 24 will be toting the rock a bunch Sunday afternoon; let's see what he does with those reps.

3. Make Geno uncomfortable

It's always important to get pressure on the opposing quarterback, but with Geno Smith making his first start of 2017, that point becomes even more important.

The Raiders defensive line exploded last week, taking down Paxton Lynch and Trevor Siemian a combined five times in the Week 12 win over the Denver Broncos, and John Pagano's group would be well served to replicate that performance again Sunday.

Now, putting together that type of outing is a little easier said than done, but if Khalil Mack and friends can consistently get to Smith Sunday afternoon, it could be a long afternoon for the New York Giants.

Five sacks might be asking a lot, but one, two or even three, sacks certainly shouldn't be out of the question.

4. Will David Amerson make his return?

The Silver and Black have been without Amerson for the past several weeks as No. 29 has been on the mend, recovering from injury.

The dynamic cornerback hasn't appeared in a game since Week 7, and with a secondary that is without question a little thin at the moment, if No. 29 makes his return to the gridiron this Sunday, it would pay huge dividends for the Raiders defense as a whole.

When he's healthy, Amerson has shown that he's one of the better defensive backs on the roster, and while he's still technically questionable for the battle with the Giants, keep an eye on the dynamic defensive back as we get closer to kick off.

Depth is always the name of the game, and a resurgent D.A. would be a big plus for the Silver and Black.

5. All eyes on Derek Carr

It's no secret that the Raiders offense goes as far as No. 4 takes it.

That was the case in 2016, and that is certainly the case in 2017 as well.

Even without the services of his top two guys out wide, Carr still has the ability to take over a football game, and if the Raiders want to earn their sixth win of 2017, they're going to need a big game from the franchise quarterback.

Carr is coming off one of his better outings of 2017 last week, hopefully he can get that positive momentum rolling in a game that the Raiders need to stay in the playoff hunt.

6.  Make sure to watch the wild, wild, west

Who would have thought that a game under .500 with five to play, that the Raiders would still be in the thick of things in the AFC West?

* If* the Silver and Black are able to take care of business Sunday, emphasis on the if, they'll at the very least keep pace with the division-leading Kansas City Chiefs.

However, if the Chiefs falter against the New York Jets, and the Los Angeles Chargers somehow lose to the Cleveland Browns, the Silver and Black would technically be the division leaders of the AFC West by day's end.

Now, there's a lot that has to happen between now and Sunday night, but if we've learned one thing this season, it's that we should expect the unexpected as far as the AFC West is concerned.

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