By Sam McPherson
The Oakland Raiders (3-5) came out of their 49-20 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles last Sunday not only beaten down mentally, but also physically—the Silver and Black have 13 players listed officially on the injury report this week as they travel to New York to take on the Giants (2-6) this weekend.
And the Giants have issues of their own, even coming off a bye week, with nine players struggling with physical challenges heading into Sunday’s showdown at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ.
First and foremost, both teams have issues at running back, with the usual starters probably out for the game. Oakland’s Darren McFadden is nursing a hamstring issue, and he did not practice on Thursday. So Rashad Jennings will get the nod for the Raiders, and he’s been very solid in 2013, averaging 4.7 yards per carry on 51 attempts this year so far.
Meanwhile, New York will be starting retread Peyton Hillis since starter David Wilson is out with a neck injury and replacement Brandon Jacobs was limited in practice all week (hamstring). The Giants do get Andre Brown back from injury, however he broke his leg in the preseason, and he will see his first action of the regular season this Sunday against Oakland.
Each team also has a key offensive player who will be dealing with nagging injuries in this game. Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor (knee) and Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz (neck) will both start the game and aren’t expected to miss any plays as a result of their physical challenges.
Defensively, Oakland rookie starting cornerback D.J. Hayden injured his groin in practice on Wednesday and could be replaced in the starting lineup by Philip Adams. With corner Tracy Porter expected to play through some pain, the Raiders secondary could be in for a long day against Eli Manning if Hayden is unable to go and any other in-game problems pop up on Sunday.
The Giants themselves have four corners listed on the injury report this week: starter Corey Webster has been dealing with groin and hip injuries all season, and he is questionable for Sunday. In addition, Terrell Thomas didn’t practice on Wednesday and probably won’t start, either. Trumaine McBride was listed as questionable this week, but he may end up starting against Oakland and Pryor nonetheless.
The New York secondary is that problematic for the Giants, but all told, they’ve held together this year, allowing just 242 yards per game (16th in the NFL). Of course, New York has been behind in a lot of games, meaning the opponents haven’t needed to throw the ball that much. That’s the reality when you start off 0-6 because your quarterback has thrown 15 interceptions in those six games.
One final interesting note for the Raiders is the rib injury to kicker Sebastian Janikowski: he returned to limited practice on Thursday and is listed questionable for the game. While there is little doubt the 14-year veteran from Florida State won’t be fine for Sunday’s game, the injury could affect coaching decisions in terms of the length of field-goal attempts Oakland might consider.
Then again, this is the Raiders, and this is Janikowski, so if he attempts a 65-yard FG in the swirling wind, no one would really be surprised. Oakland has surpassed expectations for this season, already, so what do they have to lose at this point?
- Cornerback Tracy Porter (groin)
- Quarterback Terrelle Pryor (knee)
- Wide receiver Rod Streater (hip)
- Center Andre Gurode (knee)
- Cornerback D.J. Hayden (groin)
- Offensive tackle Tony Pashos (groin)
- Placekicker Sebastian Janikowski (ribs)
- Running back Darren McFadden (hamstring)
- Wide receiver Juron Criner (shoulder)
- Wide receiver Andre Holmes (hamstring)
- Safety Tyvon Branch (ankle)
For more Raiders news and updates, visit Raiders Central.
Sam McPherson is a freelance writer covering all things Oakland A’s. His work can be found on Examiner.com.