The Raiders have had their fair share of sloppy moments during Sunday’s game against the Giants, but it wasn’t enough to keep them from getting a 24-17 win over their hapless visitors from New Jersey.
That’s a nice summary for their season to date as the sloppiness that has led to six losses on the season hasn’t stopped the Raiders from finding themselves in the mix for the AFC West title. Sunday’s win moves them into a three-way tie with the rising Chargers and fading Chiefs at the top of the division.
That won’t hold through next weekend because the Raiders will be in Kansas City for a Sunday afternoon matchup with a team they beat 31-30 at home earlier this season. In order to pull off a sweep, they’ll need more of the good thing from Sunday’s game — strong work from Khalil Mack, big plays on offense and 101 rushing yards from Marshawn Lynch — while cleaning up some of the uglier parts.
Derek Carr threw a couple of passes that were dropped by Giants defensive backs and punt returner Jalen Richard lost the ball three times without penalty because the Raiders were able to recover each time. Any one of those plays could have changed the game and a team better than the Giants could have taken advantage of those opportunities.
That wasn’t in the cards for the Giants, who saw Geno Smith go 21-of-34 for 212 yards and a touchdown in his first start since being anointed as the man to end Eli Manning‘s consecutive start streak at 210 games. Smith lost a pair of fumbles on sacks, however, and the Giants weren’t able to support him with anything of consequence on the ground.
Word before the game was that the Giants might fire Ben McAdoo before the end of business on Monday, which is unsurprising given their 2-10 record. Sunday’s game was no worse than most of what they’ve done this season and certainly wasn’t as bad as the back-to-back losses to the Rams and 49ers that preceded the Giants saying they’d make their call on the coach’s future after the entire season.
The criticism of the way Manning’s benching was handled appears to have caused some second thoughts within the organization, which may not be proactive leadership but it feels like the inevitable response to a terrible season.
Oakland’s season was teetering on a similar brink earlier this year, but they were able to bounce back in a way that the Giants couldn’t and now they’re very much in the playoff hunt with a quarter of the season to go.