The Oakland Raiders travel to New York to take on the Giants in a Week 10 match-up. The Silver and Black face the Giants for the first time since 2009.
Facing the 2-6 New York team, the Raiders look to bounce back from a frustrating loss to the Philadelphia Eagles at home in Week 9. "You always have a nasty taste in your mouth when you lose, and you get a real nasty, disgusting taste in your mouth when you get beat like that," said RB Rashad Jennings. "The only way to get it out is to make plays. It starts in the preparation Wednesday and you get to prove it on Sunday. The only way to continue to move forward is to erase what you did wrong. You build on your strengths, but you get better off of marking your weaknesses and excelling at them."
The Giants are coming off two-straight wins and a bye. "We have a tough challenge going up there to play them in their place. This is a good football team that we're playing," said Head Coach Dennis Allen. "They've won a couple of World Championships with the leadership that they have in place and we're going to have to be ready to play."
Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin is finally seeing improvement from his team. "We think we're getting a little bit better," said Coach Coughlin. "We've done a good job against the run for really the whole season. We've stopped some of the great runners in the game today. So that's been good. We did get some pressure the other day on the quarterback; we had four sacks. We're improving a little bit."
The Giants have many players still on the roster from their 2011 Super Bowl Championship team. Their experience makes this week a challenge, despite starting 2013 with an 0-6 record.
Their offense is led by Super Bowl MVP QB Eli Manning. "Eli is dangerous. He's always dangerous," said LB Nick Roach. "He's an NFL MVP-quality quarterback, Super Bowl champion guy. He's just a guy that you don't want to get hot. If we can do our best job of getting some pressure on him and try to keep him guessing, I think we'll be all right."
The Giants also have a couple of former Raiders on the offensive side of the ball in TE Brandon Myers and WR Louis Murphy. "You look at them offensively and they're able to throw the football. They've got an outstanding quarterback," said Coach Allen. "They've got a couple of really good receivers. Obviously we know Brandon Myers really well from the time that he was here."
If Giants WR Victor Cruz is healthy enough to play, in addition to WRs Hakeem Nicks and Reuben Randle, the team from the Big Apple has a talented group running routes.
The backfield is made up of running backs all over 220 pounds. "They're all big, first of all. Any time you've got guys that are big and physical, it's just more concentration that you have to put on tackling, getting bodies to the ball to get the ball carrier down," said Roach.
"They're some big backs and when you have big backs you have to hit them hard," added DE Jack Crawford. "With us, it's just about being a more physical team. We have to go in there, be violent, be physical and get straight to the point."
The Giants running backs are helped by a veteran group of offensive linemen, except for rookie T Justin Pugh. "They're a good group of guys. They have experience in the league and with experience it's always going to be a challenge," said Crawford. "They do have one rookie on the line, but apart from him, they all have experience, so you just have to watch them, study them, on tape more and more and try to get a feel of them going into the game."
The dangerous big men are on the defensive side of the ball for the Giants, however. Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck anchor the line for New York. "I think their front seven is pretty good," said QB Terrelle Pryor. "Obviously numbers 90 [Jason Pierre-Paul] and 91 [Justin Tuck] are pretty dynamic players, so we have to protect and hold those guys."
Coach Allen understands that the offensive line play will be critical against the Giants defensive line and linebacking corps. "Our protection is going to have to be really solid in the game and we're going to have to do a good job of blocking in the run game because, like I said, they're really triggered by their front," said Coach Allen. "[LB] Jon Beason, I think, has really improved their run defense. They've really improved over the last few weeks."
The Raiders want to establish their run game against the Giants defense. Jennings, who ran for 102 yards and added 74 receiving yards, will most likely get the call for the Raiders this week as RB Darren McFadden hasn't practiced due to a hamstring injury. "Every single Sunday it's going to be hard to run the ball. The defense is going to make it difficult for you to pass the ball," said Jennings. "We know they're going to be a good defense and it's not about winning every single battle, we know it's tough, but we have to make more plays than they do at the end of the day."
The Giants defense has not allowed an offensive touchdown in the last two games. "They're good. It's a good defense," said Jennings. "They've been a good defense, especially of late. The last two games I don't think anybody has scored a touchdown on them. It's a veteran team. They're consistent. They know how to win. A lot of those guys were on the Super Bowl team, so it's a game where you're going to have to make sure you're into the details because they're going to be."
CB Prince Amukamara and Antrelle Rolle are experienced and are responsible for many of the tackles on defense. "We're going to have to go out there and play perfect ball," said WR Rod Streater. "They're experienced in the secondary. They have a lot of Pro Bowlers up front so we're going to have to win fast and make plays for TP."
The Silver and Black want to start the game fast. "I think it's very important [to get off to a quick start] because they're at home. We're playing in New York," said Crawford. "It's going to be a big crowd, it's going to be loud. We have to go in there and try to quiet the crowd early and get off to a lead and good start."
The Raiders want to come out of the gate quickly, but they also want to play a complete game. "Complete game is always key and a complete game that's from the start whistle to the last whistle, offense, defense, special teams," said Jennings.
"We have to play all four quarters, start fast, not make any mistakes and just play a complete game," added Streater.