Coming off their win against the Pittsburgh Steelers last week, the Oakland Raiders will look to make it two in a row when they host the Philadelphia Eagles. Both teams enter the match-up with three wins. The Raiders at 3-4 and the Eagles at 3-5.
This game features two of the best rushing offenses in the NFL. Oakland is fifth in the NFL averaging 138.9 yards per game. Last week they posted 197 yards rushing against the Steelers. That is the offensive philosophy this season. The Raiders want to keep the ball on the ground and win games with their defense. Against Philadelphia, the Raiders may have to change their ways. The Eagles are a top 10 defense against the run, allowing 99.5 yards per game. However, they are second to last against the pass, allowing a whopping 302.3 yards per game.
The Raiders offensive focus will still be in the running game, but they will have more opportunities to take chances in play action because of the Eagles pass defense. Quarterback Terrelle Pryor rushed the ball very well including a record 93 yard rushing touchdown against Pittsburgh. He struggled through the air with two interceptions and 88 yards passing. Pryor's development will be on display as he gets chances to make throws against Philadelphia's secondary. He will need to take advantage using wide receivers Denarius Moore and Rod Streater. Moore has played consistently well all year and has a chance to break a big one against Philadelphia.
Running back Darren McFadden is coming off his best game of the season. He scored twice last week and propelled the Raiders offense. Despite the Eagles playing the run well, McFadden will still be featured in the offense. It has been a while since McFadden turned in two great performances in consecutive weeks.
Defensively, the Raiders will be tested by the up-tempo Chip Kelly offense. The Eagles like to get to the line of scrimmage and snap the ball as quickly as possible. They dictate when opposing teams can substitute and challenge defensive communication. That will be a key for the Raiders defense. They must communicate their calls quickly and keep players fresh by rotating as much as possible. Linebacker Nick Roach is the quarterback of the defense and it will be his responsibility to make sure the Raiders are in position pre-snap.
Unlike most NFL teams, the Eagles use the hurry up offense to run the football. They are second in the league averaging 150.4 rushing yards per game. Running back LeSean McCoy is leading the NFL in rushing with 733 yards. With Michael Vick not playing with a hamstring injury, the threat of the quarterback running is far less. The Raiders have played the run very well this season, allowing only 89.9 yards per game which is sixth best in the NFL. This game will come down to which team can impose their will in the running game.
Nick Foles will be under center for the Eagles making his third start of the season. He has yet to turn the ball over this season and has seven total touchdowns. The Eagles offense under Kelly is designed to get their speedy playmakers the ball in space. Foles will look for McCoy in the passing game as well as rushing the ball. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson is by far their most dangerous threat on the outside. Jackson has 45 receptions for 673 yards and five touchdowns. He has generated 12 plays of 20 yards or more. Raider's cornerback Mike Jenkins has played terrific all season and will draw the assignment of Jackson. No other player in the Eagles wide receiving corps scares a defense. Riley Cooper and Jason Avant are solid at times, but Jackson is the guy.
The Raiders pass rush has had a resurgence this season led by defensive end Lamarr Houston and his four sacks. The Raiders were able to put hits on Ben Roethlisberger last Sunday and sack him five times. Defensive coordinator Jason Tarver is known as the mad scientists because of his blitz packages. He is familiar with Chip Kelly's offense from his time at Stanford playing Oregon. The Raiders defensive success is tied to their pressure and Tarver will dial it up against Sunday.
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