Game Scout: Raiders at Giants

Jeff Reynolds, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

Oakland Raiders (3-5) at New York Giants (2-6)
Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J. - TV: CBS
*TV announcers: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
*Keys to the game: Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor -- seven interceptions and 14 sacks in his last three starts -- isn't ready to pick apart a secondary from the pocket, but he's very capable of creating outside the pocket. He has 256 rushing yards and averaged more than nine yards per carry in those three games. The problem is, without RB Darren McFadden (hamstring) or a reliable downfield receiver to tax the Giants, Pryor will be in the crosshairs of a desperate defense that had two weeks to study his tendencies. The Giants disguise their defensive fronts on first and second down, and putting Pryor into long-yardage situations on third down takes him outside his comfort zone. Error-free is the way Eli Manning needs to live to keep the chains moving. The bye week should be a favorable refresher for the Giants' offensive line, the unit at the root at many of Manning's problems. Slower-developing routes have been scribbled off of Manning's play sheet. Slot WR Victor Cruz (neck) is the ideal first read because he separates easily. If he cannot play, the Raiders stand a better chance of slowing Manning.
*Matchup to watch - Giants RT Justin Pugh vs. Raiders DE Lamarr Houston: Leading the team with seven tackles for a loss, Houston moves around the Oakland front. If the Giants want to get their running game going, they will run at Houston while continuing to go behind their improving right side.
*Player spotlight - Giants RB Andre Brown: Ready to roll after six weeks on injured reserve, Brown could step right into the bell-cow role for the Giants. He has a rushing touchdown in five consecutive regular-season games and veterans Brandon Jacobs (hamstring) and Peyton Hillis are better served in niche roles.
*Fast facts: The Giants are minus-12 in turnover margin, with nine turnovers in three home games. ... Pryor needs 45 rushing yards to set the single-season team record for quarterbacks.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin is 11-6 after the bye week and has made a living resurrecting his teams from a first-half slumber. If Eli Manning throws it to the guys in blue -- and not silver and black -- New York starts a three-game homestand with an easy victory lap.
*Our pick: Giants 24-12

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