TODAY'S PAPER

NY Giants’ post-Eli Manning era will begin with visit to Oakland

Geno Smith will get the start over Eli Manning on Sunday. / Getty Images / Al Bello

The Eli Manning era came to an unceremonious end this week. While many New York Giants fans haven’t taken the news well, the team still has to worry about Sunday’s visit to Oakland.

At 2-9 and officially eliminated from playoff contention, Big Blue doesn’t have much to play for against the Raiders (5-6). Realistically, the franchise would be better off losing out the rest of the way and securing a top-three pick in the draft.

Clearly, that’s not Ben McAdoo’s goal if he is indeed coaching for his job, but a win on the West Coast won’t be easy. Here are three reasons why.

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Geno Smith

There’s no dancing around the struggles the new Giants starting quarterback has had on the field. The fifth-year pro was disappointed in his two-year run as the Jets’ starter, posting a 57.9 completion percentage and more interceptions (36) than touchdowns (28). Unless he’s improved dramatically as Manning’s understudy in his first season with the G-Men, brace for more mediocrity.

Offensive O-line

Manning’s productions this season declined, in part, due to a dismal front five. More than just traditional scapegoat Ereck Flowers, the entire offensive line rates as one of the worst, according the Pro Football Focus. Oakland’s pass rush has been pretty toothless this year — the Raiders are tied for 28th with 19 sacks — but reigning Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack still is great and could wreak havoc.

Carr show

Even if Manning was on the field, the best QB in this matchup is Derek Carr, and it’s not even close. The Raiders passer isn’t as dominant as he was a year ago, but he’s coming off a big performance against the Denver Broncos in Week 12 in which he posted a passer rating of 136.3. He likely won’t have either of his top receivers — Amari Cooper has a concussion and Michael Crabtree is suspended — but the Giants lost cornerback Janoris Jenkins for the rest of the year. The trade-off favors Oakland.