The Raiders made three significant changes to the organization this week, firing their head coach and GM while also benching Jimmy Garoppolo. After their performance on Monday Night Football, these moves needed to be made, and from the sounds of it, the team has a new lease on life. Vegas returns home this weekend to host the injury-riddled Giants, and with different vibes in the locker room along with confidence in interim coach Antonio Pearce, the Raiders look well on their way to a bounce-back win.
Every time you think it can’t get worse for the New York Giants, it does. Aside from the fact that they lost in overtime to the New York Jets despite being in a position to seal the victory late in the 4th quarter, New York also lost Tyrod Taylor and Darren Waller to injury. With Tyrod Taylor and Darren Waller out this week, third-string quarterback Tommy Devito will take over an underperforming offense with one less weapon.
The Giants have managed a negative offensive EPA in six of their eight games this season, and after watching Devito play in place of Taylor during the Jets game, that stat might be difficult to change. Devito went 2-7 for -1 yards and a rushing touchdown against the Jets, so with a performance like that, expect to see a lot of Saquon Barkley this weekend.
Barkley had 36 rushing attempts last weekend for 128 total yards, and his usage will likely stay the same this week. A big day from Barkley might be the only chance the Giants have to put together scoring drives, and he does have an ideal matchup against the Raiders' run defense. Las Vegas is currently ranked 30th in rushing yards allowed per game, and according to FantasyPros, they have the 11th highest explosive run rate and 6th lowest run stuff rate.
Not only will the Raiders have a new coach, but they’ll also have Aidan O’Connell under center moving forward. The rookie threw for 238 yards and an interception in his first start but got his first touchdown pass against the Bears in a garbage-time role. Las Vegas is coming off a season-worst (-15.25) offensive EPA, so it is worth giving O’Connell a shot to see if he can spark some life back into a passing game that certainly possesses the weapons to be successful.
Las Vegas will open this new era of the franchise as (-1.5) point favorites, and I’m backing them to cover in Antonio Pearce’s debut. It was not surprising to read the team seems to be in a better place since the changes were made, so with renewed energy, I think they can beat a Giants team on their third quarterback.
New York is dealing with a slew of injuries on the offensive line on top of everything else, so Barkley will not have much help. Tommy Devito did not throw a pass that was passed the line of scrimmage in overtime, showing a big lack of confidence from the Giants coaching staff. It’s hard to see this offense finding enough momentum to stay in the game.
The Giants will undoubtedly rely on their defense to keep them in the game like they have the past two weeks, but with Leonard Williams now traded, that will be more difficult. New York is also allowing the 5th highest explosive run rate, per FantasyPros, and with Josh Jacobs in line for a significant workload, Las Vegas could have the advantage. I thought O’Connell handled himself well in his first start, and with the Giants ranked 18th in opposing passer rating, Vegas should be able to at least put some scoring drives together.
Las Vegas Raiders (-1.5)