Eagles beat writers make their predictions for the Raiders game in Week 7
The Eagles coaching staff has had a mini-bye to reflect on the season, but will it result in a win against the Raiders?
The Eagles will play Sunday in Las Vegas against the Raiders.
Here are the game predictions from the Eagles beat writers for Week 7.
The 2-4 Eagles aren’t as bad as their record suggests, or even as bad as they have looked at times. I truly believe that. The stat nerds do, as well. Football Outsiders have the Eagles ranked 18th, according to their defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA) system. Pro Football Focus has them 16th, according to what nebulous numbers system they use. I just use my eyes and look at their schedule through six games (13th-hardest, per FO) and their remaining schedule (30th easiest) and think it’s got to get better for the Birds.
Of course, you are what your record says you are, according to renowned non-football nerd Bill Parcells, and there has been plenty of ugliness to support this notion as it relates to the Eagles. I don’t mean to suggest that Howie Roseman has constructed a playoff-worthy roster, but Nick Sirianni and his coaching staff’s relative lack of experience has contributed to the early malaise. I expect there to be improvement, and if there isn’t tangible improvement by the end of the season, then changes will be made. But the schedule does get easier.
The Raiders don’t necessarily qualify. They’re 4-2, of course, and have a quality starting quarterback in Derek Carr and pieces on both sides of the ball worth worrying about. They beat the divisional-rival Broncos despite the Jon Gruden neutron bomb that was laid at their feet. But they’re not necessarily a team to fear. Their defense is a lot like the Eagles: a soft-zone- playing unit that has been inefficient in the red zone. The same could be said of their pass-heavy offense, which has struggled to get running back Josh Jacobs going.
All that being said, the Eagles in Las Vegas are hard to gamble on (get it?). I think Sirianni and defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon took their medicine during the mini-bye and will make minor changes to the offense (traditional run calls!) and the defense (aggression!). But they can’t do much in terms of personnel and they’re just going to have to bite the bullet at certain positions. I see a relatively close game, and possibly a road upset, but all bets are off if the Eagles get off to another sluggish start.
Prediction: Raiders 27, Eagles 23
The next two weeks will be extremely telling about what this season will be. Even if the Eagles split the next two games, there’s reason to believe they can right the ship headed into a much easier part of the schedule. If they continue to spiral against the Raiders on Sunday and the Detroit Lions the following weekend, things could get ugly.
Any notion that the Raiders would be reeling after Jon Gruden was fired for racist, homophobic, and misogynistic emails were dispelled by a convincing 34-24 win against the Denver Broncos. Derek Carr had arguably his best game of the season and second-year receiver Henry Ruggs flashed his big-play ability with interim coach Rich Bisaccia at the helm.
Still, there’s reason to believe the Eagles defense could put together an encouraging performance. Defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon spent the extended time off after playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers self-scouting and presumably has some adjustments coming. It’s also worth mentioning that the defense’s weaknesses have been amplified by elite quarterbacks and offenses, but the group has looked better against lesser competition.
The Raiders rank 22nd in defense-adjusted value over average, which puts them closer to the 25th-ranked Panthers than the Bucs, Chiefs, or Cowboys, who are all in the top five.
Can the Eagles offense hold up its end of the bargain, though? It has looked listless on several occasions this season, and the prolonged droughts have cost the team games. It’s possible Nick Sirianni used his weekend off to fix what ails the group, but it’s too hard to bet on things turning around so quickly, even if the defense keeps the team in the game.
Prediction: Raiders 24, Eagles 21
There are many questions surrounding the Eagles, and you should ask us yours! Beat writers EJ Smith and Josh Tolentino will answer many of them on Sunday’s live pregame show on Gameday Central. You can send questions to them here. Then stay with Gameday Central throughout the game for in-game analysis, stats, photos and more.
Nick Sirianni admittedly spent the long weekend thinking about some of his growing pains as a rookie head coach. He also said he watched a ton of football, which sparked different group conversations among his assistants. Now, how do all of those observations factor into bettering his own group?
After much self-analysis, Sirianni might finally be on the verge of switching some things up offensively. The Eagles desperately need to incorporate the run game at a higher rate and feature tailbacks Miles Sanders and Kenneth Gainwell into their weekly game-planning. This thought process isn’t simply to even out the pass-run ratio, but rather to alleviate pressure on Jalen Hurts, who has accounted for more than 85% of the team’s offense. That’s a much higher percentage compared with the rest of the league’s quarterbacks. The offensive line could regain right tackle Lane Johnson, which would be a big boost to the unit and also allow Jordan Mailata to return to his regular role at left tackle.
In regard to the Raiders, they went through one of the most dramatic weeks in NFL history and still came out victorious in a road game at Denver last week. The Eagles might keep it close, but at this point, Sirianni still has multiple questions hovering over him.
Prediction: Raiders 31, Eagles 29