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Game 5 Preview: Raiders @ Giants

The Raiders are 1-3. A single win that came against a bad team in a game in which the offense played poorly except for on the final drive.

Embarrassed against the Broncos at home and on the road in Houston, the Raiders seek redemption.

Typically you would hope for a game against the Rams or Chiefs coming off two blowout losses.

Wouldn't you know it, the Raiders play the terrible Giants. Whoops. The 4-0 Giants.
1-4 and the season is basically over for the Raiders. The Giants haven't really played tough teams, but the Raiders don't qualify either.

Sure no one expected the Raiders to contend, but I am sure the players feel like they should. Al Davis and Tom Cable feel like they should. If the players don't give it everything tomorrow, the playoffs are no longer even an option and that puts Cable's job on the line.

Keys to the game:

1) Offensive line play: They must win the battles at the line of scrimmage, execute the zone blocking scheme effectively, avoid penalties and protect JaMarcus Russell. If the line can do these things to give the offense a chance, the Raiders might have a chance as a team.

2) Front seven play: Brandon Jacobs is a power back that can hurt you. The Raiders have actually been able to contain the power back for the most part, but the Giants offensive line is also very very good. The defensive line needs to beat up on the Giants' offensive line and not only make life hard for Jacobs, but either make Eli move around or rattle David Carr. The linebackers need to make solid tackles. Watch out for the speed backs the Giants also deploy. The Raiders have had problems with the speed backs this season.

3) JaMarcus Russell's play: He actually did look better last week, but the receivers all forgot how to catch. It hasn't all come together for Russell yet this season. He has taken the largest burden when it comes to the scorn of Raider Nation and deservedly so, but he is making the correct reads, he just needs to execute. The game hasn't slowed down for him yet, you can tell he is thinking on the field and plays faster and better when he doesn't have the time to think. Thinking too much could be effecting his timing and accuracy. When the game does slow down for him...maybe he will prove everyone wrong.

4) Rookie Wide-receivers: This is one of the hardest positions for a rookie to step in and do well at the NFL level. The Raiders have boldly put two rookies in that situation. Results: D+ The Raiders need to put these speedsters in the position to make a play. Keep things short, only go up top occasionally if the run is working. Reverses, quick slants, screens and screen and go routes could prove useful. They must make up for the drops last week and make plays.

5) Run the ball: The Raiders greatest strength has been a weakness through four weeks. The Raiders need to wear out the excellent Giants defense with the running game. The offensive line has a lot to do with the success, but Michael Bush and Justin Fargas need to punish tacklers. If they do this, late in the game, the defense may not want to tackle them anymore. These little things can help teams win big games.

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