The Eagles have never won in Oakland. They have played there three times and lost each game. The Eagles did win in Los Angeles when the Raiders moved there in the 1980s, but never in Oakland.
1971 - Loss, 34-10
1995 - Loss, 48-17
2009 - Loss, 13-9
That's only three games. Those teams have nothing to do with 2013. But there are some quirky things about the NFL that seem to hold true over time. I hope this isn't one of them.
I wasn't an Eagles fan in 1971 so I can't say much about that game. I was also just 2years old so I was much more focused on Fisher-Price toys, Sesame Street and clean diapers than football. The other two games I did watch. They were both painful games.
In 1995, the Eagles got out to a 17-0 lead. The team was 1-2 and Randall Cunningham was playing to save his job. It was huge to get that lead and show some real signs of life. Then the bottom fell out. The Eagles threw a pair of interceptions and the Raiders returned two fumbles for touchdowns. Rodney Peete came in at quarterback, but didn't fare much better than Cunningham. That loss dropped the Eagles to 1-3 and forced Ray Rhodes to make some changes. That was the last game that Cunningham started for the Eagles. Talk about the end of an era.
The 2009 game wasn't quite as meaningful, but was every bit as painful to watch. The Raiders were 1-4 and coming off a 44-7 loss to the Giants. Everyone knew the Eagles would go out there and kick some butt. Unfortunately, the Raiders didn't listen to everyone. Donovan McNabb struggled to throw the ball and Andy Reid wouldn't run the ball. There were 52 passes and 14 runs. Ugh. For the Raiders, skill players like JaMarcus Russell, Justin Fargas and Zach Miller looked like stars. Miller had an 86-yard catch-and-run for the only touchdown of the game. Even reliable David Akers missed a pair of field goals. Bad, bad showing. Ugly loss.
The Eagles won't take the Raiders lightly in this game. At 3-4, the Raiders have the better record. The Eagles are just 3-5. The Raiders are coming off a win over the Steelers. The Eagles have a two-game losing streak. I will be shocked if the Eagles aren't completely focused and ready to go in this trip to Oakland.
The big story will be
This won't be an easy test for Foles. The Raiders have held four opponents to 300 yards or fewer. I thought a description in another PhiladelphiaEagles.com story summed them up nicely.
"The Raiders defense is a hodgepodge of castoffs from other teams, and the unit plays with a collective chip on its shoulder. It is a fast, physical group that gives maximum effort on every snap."
That's dead on the money. The best player is homegrown star Lamarr Houston. He leads the team with four sacks and is a very disruptive pass rusher. He will go up against
I am curious to see if Chip Kelly does anything special to get Foles going early. Do the Eagles throw a lot of passes early on? Do they throw a lot of wide receiver screens? Does Kelly decide to focus on the run game? The Raiders defense has played well this year, but they have fared better against more standard offenses. When going against Washington, Denver and San Diego, the Raiders gave up yards and points. Those three teams will spread you out and attack creatively. I'm sure Kelly has seen this and will build his gameplan accordingly.
My bet is that the Raiders will load up the line of scrimmage and dare Foles to throw the ball on them. They will focus on stopping
The Eagles defense has been good for the last month. They will face a struggling Raiders offense. Oakland is dead last in the league in passing. They do run the ball well, although a lot of that is quarterback Terrelle Pryor. He leads the team with 391 rushing yards, with 93 of them coming on a touchdown run last week. Pryor has great speed and it takes only one defensive breakdown can lead to a big play. That's what happened to the Steelers last week.
If you watched that game, you saw Oakland get out to a 21-3 lead. Then they held on for dear life. On their final nine offensive drives, only one exceeded 6 yards. Think about that for a second. Those drives netted just 29 total yards. This is a team that Bill Davis and the defense can shut down. I am interested to see what strategy Davis uses. This should be a game to focus on run defense and play aggressively. Make Pryor beat you as a passer.
The Eagles will likely play lots of zone coverage. That way defensive backs can keep their eyes on Pryor in case he decides to run. The back seven will need to tackle well if the Raiders are able to complete some underneath throws. Make them drive the long field. That offense needs big plays in order to move the ball. The Raiders offense has not scored more than 21 points in a game. They need help from the defense and special teams to score more than that.
The Raiders are not a good team. The Eagles aren't exactly a juggernaut, especially considering the last two weeks. Still, I think the Eagles are the better team. They need to play like it to win the game. If you play sloppy and make mistakes, that takes pressure off the Raiders and allows them to play their style of football. If the Eagles play clean football and keep Pryor contained, they should win. Pryor will be a big challenge for the linebackers. They need to take good angles and tackle well when he does run.
This game gives the Eagles a chance to break a losing streak and it gives Foles a chance for redemption. Hopefully we'll feel better about the team and Foles about 7:30 on Sunday night.
Midseason Awards: McCoy, Thornton Lead The Way
The Eagles are halfway through the season.
My offensive MVP is LeSean McCoy. He has really carried the offense.
My defensive MVP is
My special teams MVP is
The rookie of the year would be
The comeback player of the year is
The best free agent acquisition is