The Oakland Raiders head out on the road to take on the Philadelphia Eagles on Christmas day hoping to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
Head coach Jack Del Rio and his team must win their final two games while also getting a lot of help from other conference teams.
The Raiders will be going up against a solid Eagles team that has clinched their first playoff berth since 2013, though they’ll have to continue on without their leader Carson Wentz.
Second-year quarterback Wentz suffered a season-ending injury in week 14 when the Eagles secured their postseason berth. Veteran quarterback Nick Foles now has control of the offense that features three receivers with over 700 yards: WR Alshon Jeffery (781), WR Nelson Agholor (722) and TE Zach Ertz (719). The Eagles offense is built to spread the ball around which could make it difficult for the Raiders defense. The same three receivers have also accounted for 25 touchdowns this season.
On the ground, the Eagles have relied on running back LeGarette Blount who has 159 carries for 717 yards and two touchdowns. The Eagles also traded for Jay Ajayi in October to help bolster their backfield.
Altogether, the Eagles feature one of the best offenses in the league, averaging over 386 total yards of offense a game. It could be a long day for a Raiders defense that has struggled this year, ranking 21st in the NFL.
Veteran coach Jim Schwartz heads the Eagles defense for the second season in a row and has his unit ball-hawking, hauling in 17 interceptions already (3rd most in the NFL). Leading the way is cornerback Jalen Mills (three interceptions), who also has the team’s only defensive touchdown.
Schwartz’ defense has also been able to get to the quarterback this year. Defensive end Brandon Graham leads the team with a career-best 9.5 sacks through 14 weeks, tied for eighth in the NFC. The Raiders are going into the game with little depth on their offensive line after placing LT Donald Penn and reserve guard/center Jon Feliciano on injured reserve.
The Eagles hold the stoutest rush defense in the league, allowing just over 70 yards on the ground per game. With possibly a tough going for Marshawn Lynch and the running backs, the Raiders may need a big game from quarterback Derek Carr.
Carr has struggled with consistency this year, but will face an Eagles defense that is susceptible to giving up yardage through the air. The Eagles defense is allowing over 237 passing yards per game, 22nd in the ling.
Del Rio and the Raiders will finish their disappointing regular season against the Chargers in Los Angeles next week.