Raiders vs eagles
Photo Credit: Las Vegas Raiders

 

FSM Game Preview: Raiders vs Eagles – Week 7

Franchise Sports Media

 

After an impressive victory in Denver, the Las Vegas Raiders return to Allegiant stadium to welcome the Philadelphia Eagles to the desert.

 

Raiders vs Eagles
Photo Credit: Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

The Las Vegas Raiders were able to block out the distraction from last week and focus on the task at hand. The Silver and Black went on the road against their AFC West rival the Denver Broncos and walked away with their most impressive performance on the season so far, a 34-24 win.

Quarterback Derek Carr got back to his MVP ways with 341 yards passing with two touchdowns, while the defense collected five sacks, three interceptions and a fumble recovery. An all around excellent showing by the Silver and Black under interim head coach Richie Bisaccia after the departure of Jon Gruden.

With the team able to come together and focus on just playing football, going on the road against a division rival seemed to be the perfect situation for the Raiders. They were able to hunker down, leave out the outside noise and get back to normalcy. Going into week 6 on a two game losing streak, the Raiders had more than enough motivation to go to Empower Field and hand the Broncos their third consecutive lost.

Now the team must get ready to defend their home turf against an NFC East opponent in the Philadelphia Eagles who come into the contest 2-4 on the season.

 

Can the Raiders make it two in a row and not let the thrill of victory leave them complacent and come out flat?

 

Raiders vs Eagles
Photo Credit: Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune

Last time the Raiders played at Allegiant stadium, week 5 against the Chicago Bears, they had their worse showing of the season. Only able to manage 9 points for the game, they left a sour taste in the mouth of the home fans. Looking to ride the momentum of their road win and get back in the winner circle at home, the Raiders will be doing so against a team that despite their record, have competed in every game this season. So this won’t be an easy outing for the Raiders to make it two in a row.

The team will have their star running back Josh Jacobs back again. Jacobs is looking to get himself more acclimated and back to the work horse tailback he has been for the Raiders since his rookie year. As the Raiders look to keep a balance offense, having Jacobs allows the team to utilize backup running back Kenyan Drake more to his skill set. Drake is more of a change of pace runner than the bulldozer that Jacobs is. Using both running backs opens up the play action pass for receivers like Henry Ruggs III to take make spectacular catches down field for big gains or Hunter Renfrow to find holes in the middle of the defense and playmaking tight end Darren Waller to do whatever he feels like doing as one of the leagues best players.

Having these weapons on display allows Carr to pick apart defenses with his accuarcy and spread the ball around to different targets, keeping defenses from zeroing in one just one player. This type of play design is what has the Raiders as one of the best offenses in the NFL, when they can find their rhythm early and keep things going throughout the game, like they did in Denver. Can Las Vegas do the same thing against the Eagles? It should be another terrific showing this time, at home.

 

Can the Raiders defense have another great showing?

 

Raiders vs Broncos
Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

All season, the Raiders defense has stepped up and showed their improvements going from a liability to now a strength.

Under new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, the team has made leaps and bounds as a unit with players who had questions marks after last season becoming play makers. Safety/linebacker hybrid Johnathan Abram had a rough showing last season as he had several missed assignments, constant missed tackles and would often collide with his own teammates when trying to make tackles. Now, with another year under his belt and new guidance, he has made one of the biggest turn arounds on the team. Abram has constantly been around the ball carrier, not out of position or missing as many tackles and still bringing the boom when he makes contact.

Abram isn’t the only one to have a new breath of life as linebacker Corey Littleton, who was a big free agent signing last offseason, looked out of place and lost at times. But now he is the teams second leading tackler, looks more comfortable in his role and he too is often around the ball carrier consistently.

 

Raiders vs Eagles
Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

But the biggest turn around has to be the defensive line as the big men up front have wreaked havoc on opposing teams front lines and quarterbacks all season. The unit last season had 16 sacks all year, they already has 15 through six games. Led by “Mad” Maxx Crosby with 5, the team is getting pressure more often which leads to teams rushing their passes and not allowing them to sit in the pocket and pick apart the defense.

New comer Yannick Ngakoue may not have the big sack numbers, but he has been a true difference maker, as a quarterback doesn’t drop back without #91 applying pressure. His presence and ability to garnish pressure allows others on the defensive line to see more one on one matchups, which they have won more often than in years past. His play has helped the entire defense and he has become the anchor to this new look defensive unit as a whole.

With improvements on all three levels and even getting massive production from their rotation players. This group, which was once a laughing stock, is now respectable and showing that they are going to be in your face, making plays and getting after the ball so you better come correct and be prepared for a tough outing.

 

Theres no such thing as an easy win in the National Football League.

 

Raiders vs Eagles
Photo Credit: Jack Dempsey/AP

The Raiders found this out early in the season. After starting off hot with three straight wins only to cool off like a popsicle on a windy fall day to drop two in a row. Victory is never a sure thing in the NFL. Records mean nothing once you step on the field across from a team as despite their success or lack thereof, those are still professionals across the field who also get paid to win games.

The Eagles have put forth, a valiant effort each week out despite not walking away with many wins. Quarterback Jalen Hurts has shown he is effective both passing and running the ball as he leads the team in rushing. Rookie wide receiver DeVonta Smith leads the team in receptions and yards, and third year running back Miles Sanders is always a threat for a big game. While it seems like a lifetime ago we were calling the Eagles Super Bowl champions, this has always been a tough squad with pride and comes prepared to battle on the field every week.

The Raiders have shown all season that they are more than capable of matching up against any team and putting points on the board. But they’ve also shown that if they don’t get things going early, it could be a long day on the field. So it would be of upmost importance for the Raiders to come out the gates swinging and setting the tone early on. Testing the Eagles defense and having a balance of run/pass and not afford to call for the big play down the field. Carr had seven passes twenty or more yards against the Broncos. That kinda big play calling is exactly what the Raiders built their legacy off of and would make former Raiders owner, the late great Al Davis smile and yell, “Just Win Baby“.

 

The Raiders and Eagles play Sunday at 1:05 at Allegiant Stadium and can be seen on CBS.

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-Kalani Lua – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Kalani on Twitter @klua11

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