ALAMEDA – The New York Giants are 2-1 against the AFC West. They haven’t won a game outside that division.
Head coach Ben McAdoo was asked about playing well against that division in a conference call previewing Sunday’s game against the Raiders at Oakland Coliseum.
“That was not the first question I expected today. that to be the first question,” McAdoo said.
There are a few other things to discuss.
Eli Manning was benched in favor of Geno Smith after 210 consecutive starts. Yeah, you read that right. The Giants organization has come under fire for how it was handled, the latest in a series of gaffes by a blue blood organization.
That’s just one issue plaguing the 2-9 Giants, a playoff team one year ago and the one team playing farther below expectations than the Raiders.
The Giants have 20 guys in injured reserve, including Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall and Janoris Jenkins, who was put on the shelf Wednesday morning.
In short, this team is in shambles. The Giants are clearly beatable, even if Raiders receivers Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper sit out as expected.
Jack Del Rio tried to pump them up, as NFL head coaches are known to do, extolling the talent on both lines and, in a funny twist, how good the Giants have played against the AFC West.
“We’re getting ready to play a talented team with a lot of talented coaches,” Del Rio said. “We’re gearing up for a tough battle that we’ve got to have. Our margin for error is already in the rearview mirror. They have our full attention.”
Injured talent isn’t coming back. The Raiders don’t care much for Giants brass’ job security. The quarterback switch, however, could be impactful.
Manning has two Super Bowl rings and 212 games of experience, though he couldn’t win many games without weapons. Geno Smith is now charged with that same task as the Giants evaluate quarterbacks on the roster. Rookie Cal product Davis Webb will get a shot at some point, though McAdoo said Manning will be the No. 2 guy on Sunday.
Smith has done well against the Raiders. The former New York Jet is 2-0 as a starter against the Silver and Black – he came in once as a backup, when his team lost – completing 70 percent of his passes with 4 touchdowns, three picks and a 91.8 passer rating. Whether it’s Smith or Manning, the Raiders take this opponent seriously.
“We’re prepared for anybody who steps out there,” cornerback David Amerson said. “Geno is an athlete. Everybody knows about his throwing talent. He’s very capable, and can get hot if you let him. Our plan is to not let him get hot, him or Eli. We have our hands full. We can’t ever take anything lightly.”