The New York Giants have a chance this weekend.
Yes, really. They have a chance to upset the Las Vegas Raiders, who visit MetLife Stadium Sunday for a 1 p.m. kickoff.
I think there might be a chance for the Giants because as far as the Raiders are concerned, the post-bye week curse appears to be a real thing.
The Raiders are awful coming out of a bye week. They hold a 16-22 post-bye record (42.1 percent), putting them 28th in the league. They also hold a 34-47 record (42 percent) when they have the "rest" advantage (as in more days off than their opponent.
So yes, history does seem to indicate the Giants have a chance--what they do with that chance, though, is totally up to them.
In the meantime, let's check in with good friend and Raider Maven team publisher Hondo Carpenter, who took the time to answer a few questions about the Raiders. Don't forget to check out Raider Maven to see what questions Hondo had for me about the Giants.
How have the Raiders responded internally in the aftermath of the whole Jon Gruden affair?
This was a team that, before 2021 started, I said was one of the closest I have ever been around. I don't think they could get closer, but somehow that had made them closer. They are a galvanized group of men.
What has been the most surprising thing about the Raiders season so far?
That they are so resilient. They don't quit or turn on each other and do what good teams do: they win, even when they aren't playing well.
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Give me one player on offense and defense who has come on strong and delivered the goods so far?
On offense, there is no doubt Derek Carr has emerged even more potent. We have been reporting how good and respected Carr is. With the loss of Jon Gruden, he has seized the team, and the Raiders have taken the brakes off of their Carr. On defense, it is Maxx Crosby. Everyone knew he was good, and now that teams can't triple-team him, because of Yannick Ngakoue, he has shown himself to be elite.
Where have the Raiders disappointed most so far?
The loss of Gruden and now the loss of Henry Ruggs III. This team has gone through some difficult things off of the field. Those things would have destroyed most teams, either one, yet through both, they are still one.
What do you view as the X-factor in this weekend's game?
Mental focus. The last month has been brutal on this organization. They should beat the Giants. I do not think the Giants are as bad as others do, but the Raiders are better. Being on the road is a blessing this week, and if they can maintain mental focus in a sea of distraction, they will be just fine.
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