Genotime Begins In Oakland

The post Eli Manning era begins late Sunday afternoon in Oakland. And Geno Smith has the first crack at it.

Smith, the former Jets’ quarterback who suffered his share of bad luck and inconsistency, will make his first start since Oct. 23, 2016 against Baltimore in which he completed four of eight passes for 95 yards before he suffered a torn ACL.

This summer, Smith played fairly well in the preseason, but he still had his moments.

Now, he will look to snap the 2-9 Giants out of blanketed public relations catastrophe that could have some lingering effects throughout the remainder of the season.

Like everything else this season, this won’t be easy.

The Giants are coming off a lackluster, 141-yard performance in a 20-10 loss to the Redskins on Thanksgiving Night. Their offense couldn’t find any rhythm, and the pressure on Manning become worse as the game moved forward. Justin Pugh and DJ Fluker will be out of the lineup up front.

Smith will bring more mobility and more arm strength to the pocket, and he will receive some help with wide receiver Sterling Shepard back after three weeks dealing with migraines.

“I’m confident in Geno,” said head coach Ben McAdoo. “He has had a good week of practice

Rookie tight end Evan Engram, who has been dealing with a series of drops, will need to revert back to his early season form that captured the attention of the league. The Raiders are ranked 27th in the league in pass defense allowing nearly 245 yards per game.

Oakland (5-6) arguably is coming off their best defensive performance of the season, allowing a season-low 14 points against Denver and only 219 total yards.The win vaulted them back into the AFC playoff hunt as well as the AFC West divisional title with the recent plummet of Kansas City.

Their defensive unit has found new life under new coordinator John Pagano, who replaced Ken Norton Jr. Nov. 21. Against Denver, the Raiders registered five sacks, two by Bruce Irvin. Khalil Mack, who has 6.5 sacks, remains the heart of the unit.

Oakland will be without starting wide receivers Amari Cooper (concussion) and Michael Crabtree (suspension), but receiver Cordarrelle Patterson  –ask a Jets ‘ fan — and tight end Jared Cook are well capable of big afternoons.

Marshawn Lynch, who hasn’t been a consistent threat on the ground, remains a major threat.

But the lynchpin is quarterback Derek Carr, who has thrown only one interception in the team’s five victories, and he can deliver a long ball at any time.

The Giants will need to have another solid defensive performance, notably from the front line. They will welcome back middle linebacker B.J. Goodson, who has missed the past four games, but end Jonathan Casillas is out.



About the Author

Jeff Moeller

Jeff Moeller has been covering the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and college football and basketball as well as high school sports on a national and local scene for the past 39 years. He has been a Jets and Giants beat reporter for the past 13 years.

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