Merry Christmas, Eagles fans! That's right. The Eagles will play on Christmas Day for the first time in over a decade in a matchup that features one of last year's most electric offenses in the NFL in the Oakland Raiders.
Back in 2013, Nick Foles torched the Raiders throwing an NFL record-tying seven touchdowns en route to a 49-20 landslide win. Fast forward to 2016 and the Raiders made their first playoff appearance since 2002 before falling in the Wild Card round to the Texans.
Key Additions: RB Marshawn Lynch, TE Jared Cook, offensive coordinator Todd Downing, OT Marshall Newhouse, WR Cordarelle Patterson
Key Losses: S Nate Allen, CB D.J. Hayden, DT Stacy McGee, RB Latavius Murray, offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, TE Mychal Rivera, LB Malcolm Smith
Top Draft Pick: CB Gareon Conley
A late season leg injury to quarterback Derek Carr stymied the Raiders' playoff expectations after the team finished second in the AFC West, the best finish since winning the division back in 2002. Head coach Jack Del Rio brought the franchise its first 12-win season since 2000 and promoted Todd Downing, the team's quarterback coach for the past two years, to the offensive coordinator position.
Running back Marshawn Lynch makes his NFL return since making his last appearance with the Seahawks in 2015. Lynch replaces last year's lead back, Latavius Murray. Carr continues to headline an offense that finished in the top 10 in both yards and points. Wide receivers Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper enter their third season together on the Raiders, each having gained at least 1,000 yards while combining for 13 touchdowns in 2016.
Defensive Khalil Mack established himself as one of the NFL's elite players after notching 11 sacks, five forced fumbles, and a pick-six on his way to last year's Defensive Player of the Year award. Joining him is linebacker Bruce Irvin who came away seven sacks of his own and an NFL-high 6 forced fumbles. David Amerson, Sean Smith, and safety Reggie Nelson round out a defense that forced the second-most takeaways in 2016.
The Eagles are a perfect 1-0 on Christmas after beating the Cowboys 23-7 back in 2006. Can the Eagles bring the winning holiday spirit to Philadelphia once again? The teams clash Monday, December 25 at Lincoln Financial Field with kickoff slated for 8:25 p.m.