NEW YORK -- The Raiders haven’t played well in the East. They’ve lost 11 straight when playing three hours ahead, typically with 10 a.m. starts.
That’s a bad omen heading into Sunday morning’s game against the New York Giants. The Raiders have to win to hang on contention’s edge, a task made more difficult by time and place.
“I don’t like to build in a lot of excuses,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. “Our job as professional football players, as coaches, [is] to go play wherever they tell us, whenever they tell us and just prepare just like it was any other game. … I don’t really spend a lot of time talking about, per se, the Eastern time zone, but we have talked about we need to go on the road and play well. That’s something that we’ve put a lot of focus on.”
A win, especially under the circumstances, would certainly help their piece of mind.
The Raiders were embarrassed in a 49-20 home loss to the Philadelphia Eagles where the defense could do nothing right. The Raiders have to ensure that game doesn’t hurt them more than once. That means letting it go and responding with vigor.
[RECAP: Eagles 49, Raiders 20]
“These guys, they’re professionals,” defensive coordinator Jason Tarver said. “They’re pros and we’re excited that [General Manager Reggie McKenzie] and D.A. put these guys in the room for a reason, because they learn from their mistakes. They want to be great, and that’s how they’ve practiced.”
The defense has a solid foundation to build from, with good performances to recall. They consider the Eagles loss an aberration. The Giants do, too.
“I just kind of have eliminated that game from my preparation,” Giants quarterback Eli Manning said. “There were just a lot of weird plays and guys falling down and scrambles and Philadelphia caught every break.
“For Oakland everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong. I think it’s just one of those days. If you look at the other games this season, their defense plays at a high level. They do a good job getting pressure on quarterbacks and making plays defensively and doing a lot of good things, and not many teams have scored a lot of points on them. You have to understand that they have really good players and a good scheme and we have to play really well.”
The Raiders must play better to start a tough stretch of four road games in five weeks. The Raiders haven’t beat a quality opponent on the road since 2011, and have struggled this season playing outside Oakland Coliseum.
That must change if the Raiders are to stay relevant throughout the season. They play a series of beatable opponents in difficult confines, with no room for error. If they slip on Sunday, the Raiders would fall into the abyss.
“Our ceiling is high, we know that, and we just have to keep on striving and be the best we can be,” quarterback Terrelle Pryor said. "I believe in the guys, and like I said we’ve got a lot of football left and we look forward to nothing but success.”
The Raiders were in surprisingly good spirits this week, unflustered by the prospect of playing where they’ve struggled in the recent past.
“We hadn’t won a game after the bye week in 10 tries, and then we went out and beat Pittsburgh,” receiver Rod Streater said. “We snapped one streak, so we can certainly snap another one.”
NOTE: The Raiders moved practice-squad offensive tackle Jack Cornell to the active roster on Saturday. Raiders coach Dennis Allen forecasted this move on Friday afternoon. They waived defensive lineman Brian Sanford in a corresponding move. They've made this exact transaction several times to bolster a thin offensive line. If the Raiders stay true to form, Cornell will only play in an emergency.
[RELATED: Raiders promote OT Cornell]