Week 16 Tale Of The Tape: Oakland Raiders At Philadelphia Eagles
- QuarterbackThe Raiders had high hopes at the start of the season that they would win the AFC West and have a chance to battle the Patriots and Steelers for AFC superiority. It hasn’t worked out that way, and quarterback Derek Carr has had some difficulties this season. He has thrown for 3,113 yards with a 20-10 TD-interception ratio, but those numbers could be much better.The Eagles may have lost Carson Wentz to an ACL injury two weeks ago, but they have clinched the NFC East and are still in a position to gain home field advantage throughout the postseason. Backup Nick Foles is smart, experienced and talented, and he threw four TD passes in Week 15 against the Giants. He should be able to continue his success here.
- OffenseThe Raiders have not gotten the production from their running game that they were expecting after they signed Marshawn Lynch, and they need to address this situation in the offseason. The passing game has also been somewhat disappointing, but the combination of Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper can get the job done, along with Seth Roberts and underappreciated tight end Jared Cook.The Eagles have built one of the best one-two punches at the running back position with LeGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi. While the numbers are no earth-shattering, Blount is a wrecking ball when he runs between the tackles and Ajayi can break long plays. Alshon Jeffery can win the battle on the 50-50 ball, while Zach Ertz has caught eight TD passes and is dangerous in the red zone.
- DefenseThe Raiders have some decent talent on the defensive side of the ball, but head coach Jack Del Rio cannot be pleased with the effort his team has provided this year. Khalil Mack is one of the most explosive pass rushers in the league and he has 10.5 sacks, but you expect more from him. Bruce Irvin has contributed 7.5 sacks, but the rest of the Oakland defense has struggled badly.The Eagles don’t necessarily have glamour players on defense, but this unit has played over and above expectations that head coach Doug Pederson had at the start of the season. Outside linebacker Nigel Bradham has a team-high 80 tackles and eight passes defensed. Defensive end Brandon Graham has 9.5 sacks and he gets help from defensive tackle Fletcher Cox with 5.5 sacks.
- Special TeamsThe Raiders have become a much more dangerous team in the return game, and Cordarrelle Patterson is a big reason because he has the long speed to cause big problems for opposing coverage teams. Strong-legged Marquette King is averaging 48.0 yards per punt.The Eagles have been decent in their special-teams play, but they have not dominated as they have in past years. Rookie Jake Elliott has a strong leg and has made 24-of-28 FG attempts, while Donnie Jones is averaging 46.2 yards per punt.
The Eagles are fighting for homefield advantage and they are not about to suffer a letdown against one of the most disappointing teams in the AFC.