In English soccer, there’s a widely accepted idea called the “new manager bounce,” in which a team’s performance seems to always perk up as soon as a new guy takes charge. While the idea hasn’t quite made its way across the pond, Mark Davis and the Las Vegas Raiders are hoping that the effect has this Sunday against the New York Giants.
Normally, if a coach gets fired, it’s because the team stinks, and so expecting a positive result seems foolish — but in this case, I’m not so sure we know that this Raiders team stinks. We know they have talented players in some of the most critical positions — and by all accounts, the culture created by Josh McDaniels might have been the team’s biggest downfall.
With new head coach Antonio Pierce already making a positive impact in that regard — and making a critical change at quarterback — Sunday will be an interesting barometer for what might be reasonable to expect from this group moving forward. At quarterback, rookie Aidan O’Connell takes over and hopes to build off of an up-and-down debut a few weeks ago against the Chargers. When it comes to actual throws, he’s clearly the team’s best option under center — the question mark remains his ability to avoid negative plays.
In spite of all the turmoil and change, the Raiders are actually favorites on Sunday against the 2-6 Giants (who get quarterback Daniel Jones back on Sunday). In light of that, let’s get to some picks… (Odds courtesy of BetOnline.AG)
Last Week: 2-3, -1u (Season: 19-21-1, -.09u)
We’re officially in the red on the season, but maybe the new manager bounce applies to this space as well?
Raiders UNDER 20.5 points (-140)
While I think the offense will eventually be better, promoting the quarterbacks coach mid-week and starting a rookie seems like it could be a recipe for disaster from a scoring perspective. Give me the team total under (even with the extra juice) as my lock of the week.
Dexter Lawrence OVER .5 sacks (+110)
Lawrence has three sacks in his last two games, and in his first career start, O’Connell’s biggest issue was taking way too many sacks (seven!). I wish the odds were a bit better, but I think O’Connell lets it rip on Sunday, which means a lot of chances to take a sack.
Davante Adams OVER 6.5 receptions (-105)
If you’re the new offensive coordinator for the Raiders, is there a bigger priority this Sunday than to make sure Adams isn’t throwing his helmet at the end of the game? Look for a lot of quick hitters to get Adams involved and O’Connell some confidence.
Aidan O’Connell OVER 216.5 passing yards (-115)
We’re giving you six picks this week — and of course, that’s not because we’re chasing some wins here! — but I like both of these numbers. The Giants are 24th in rushing defense this year, and what better way to break in a rookie than by pounding the rock? And once you’ve done that, look for some bombs over the top to take advantage of a defense that is probably daring the rookie to beat them.
New York Giants TO WIN (+112)
The spread is somewhere between one and two points depending on where you look, but with Daniel Jones back, I think the Giants are simply better. I’m honestly shocked the Raiders are favored here, and new manager bounce or not, I’ll take the plus money and ride the Giants to cover or push for the fourth week in a row.