The Raiders host the Eagles this week, as they try to even their record to 4-4 and win back to back games for the first time under second year head coach, Dennis Allen. They face an Eagles team that has three wins in eight games and has lost two straight. All three of the Eagles wins have come on the road, as all three of the Raider wins have come at home. Lets look at some key matchups in this battle of teams trying to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Terrelle Pryor vs Eagles Defense
TP2 has shown flashes of brilliance in his six starts this season, all while amassing a 3-3 record in those starts. This week he faces an Eagles team whose head coach is very well versed in the read option offense, that coach even tried to recruit him at Oregon. Will Chip Kelly be able to school his defense in the nuances of the scheme and give them a winning edge? The Eagles Defense is 31st in yards allowed, but give up less than 100 yards a game on the ground. They give up a whopping 302.2 per game in the air. The stats say Terrell will have plenty of plays to make in the passing game. For all the struggles the offense has had this season, they should be able to move the ball against this defense. Getting back a healthy lineman or two would also help.
Jason Tarver vs. Chip Kelly
This is going to be one of those old clichés, a chess match. Tarver likes to ‘Activate’ his guys and send them loose on the rush, as evident by 14 different Raiders recording at least a half sack this year through seven games. They are familiar with each other from their Pac-10 days at Stanford and Oregon respectively. The Philly offense has been putting up a lot of yards, 397 per game, good enough for 5th in the NFL. But those yards have only translated to 22 points a game, tied for 18th in the league. The Eagles average 5 yards per run, while the Raiders Defense only gives up 3.6 yards per run. Something has to give and it’s usually not the Defense. It will be interesting to see how this chess match works out. This Raiders Defense is easily the most improved in the league from last year and is the MVP of the season so far for this team.
Charles Woodson vs. Nick Foles
Nick Foles has been slated to start for the Eagles and he has a good stat line so far this year, which includes no interceptions. With the wily veteran roaming the back half of the Oakland secondary, it will be interesting to see if he might be able to give the 2nd year QB his first pick. The Eagles like to pump fake a quick route and come back over the top. After this game, I expect #24 to be the first Raider with multiple interceptions this season.
Lamarr Houston & Sio Moore vs. Lane Johnson
Lamarr (4) and Sio (2.5) lead the Raiders in sacks. They will periodically be matched up with Eagles rookie right tackle Lane Johnson. Lane and Sio, got to square off during the Senior Bowl practices leading up to the draft. It will be interesting to see who gets the better of the matchup on Sunday. So far this year, Lane has given up 7 sacks, 6 QB hits and 29 QB hurries, the most by any Eagles lineman this year. You would think those stats would scream for a big day from Lamarr Houston. Lamarr has been rushing from both ends, although primarily from the defensive right side (offense left).
Khalif Barnes vs. Fletcher Cox
Fletcher Cox is the Eagles sack leader, with three and has provided the most consistent pass rush on their defense. He more than likely will be matched up against Khalif Barnes, who has given up two sacks this year. Khalif has allowed the most QB hurries among the Raider lineman and if he can keep Cox at bay, it should help the passing game exploit the weak Eagles secondary. Menelik Watson has returned to practice and they could put him at LT and move Barnes back to RT or G if Pashos makes it back to the lineup.
Denarius Moore & Rod Streater vs. Eagles DB’s
Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher are listed as the Eagles starters at Cornerback. We have talked about how there should be some plays to make in the passing game and it will be up to Moore and Streater to make them. They only scored a TD in the same game once this year, against San Diego. This game against the Eagles secondary and their next to last ranked pass defense, could end up being the second.