The Eagles take their 3-1 record and travel out west to take on the Oakland Raiders this Sunday. This is yet another matchup against a terrible team that the Eagles should blow out. The Raiders are statistically horrible and have a 1-4 record to go with it. Sunday’s matchup is the last tune-up game the Eagles have before they play all three NFC East teams in a row. Let’s take a look at the Raiders.
Here’s some quick team stats and league rankings:
Points per game: 9.8 (31st)
Yards per game: 191.6 (32nd)
Pass yards per game: 108.6 (32nd)
Rush yards per game: 83 (28th)
Points per game: 26 (26th)
Yards per game: 382 (31st)
Pass yards per game: 221 (15th)
Rush yards per game: 161 (31st)
Jamarcus Russell – For the second week in a row, the Eagles will face a young quarterback who has yet to prove anything in the league. Russell is a big body with a big arm, but these things obviously don’t translate into wins. He’s only thrown for one touchdown this season while he has four interceptions and a miserable quarterback rating of 47.1. Although he didn’t throw any interceptions against the Giants last week, he did lose three fumbles. He is surrounded by a lot of young talent at the skill positions and they could be a threat in the future; however, they aren’t a threat right now.
Michael Bush – Darren McFadden missed last weeks game so Bush was asked to step in and take the lead. He put up nowhere near the kind of numbers as he did last year to save the Eagles season in Week 17. Against the Giants, Bush carried 12 times for a total of 37 yards and a touchdown. His carries were split with Justin Fargas, but Bush saw the majority of the success, if you can call it that. He’s a good runningback but the Eagles have been shutting down the run so I’m not concerned with him having a big day.
Darrius Heyward-Bey – The Raiders took a big gamble on draft day when they took Heyward-Bey with the seventh pick overall and so far he has been a complete bust. Al Davis seems to have decided to see how much speed he can stockpile on one offense and it isn’t paying off. Heyward-Bey has a grand total of two receptions for a total of 36 yards so far this season. He is a threat with the deep ball but it hasn’t happened yet and I don’t envision it happening Sunday.
Zach Miller – This is the only potential threat I see on the Raiders offense. After seeing what Kellen Winslow did to the Eagles last week, I’m sure Miller is licking his chops. The Eagles continue their struggles defending the tight end. It just seems to be something they cannot do. I know they work on it but it doesn’t translate on game day. Miller is a good tight end and if he isn’t covered properly, he’s going to be picking up first downs and moving the chains all day.
Richard Seymour – Seymour is a solid veteran player who was acquired by the Raiders this season. He spent his first eight seasons in New England so he is used to winning. Although he hasn’t put up super numbers this year, he is still a player to worry about. The Birds will have to make sure they take care of him so he doesn’t bust up Donovan McNabb who still has ailing ribs.
Greg Ellis – This is a familiar face that we’re all used to seeing. Ellis is another veteran defense lineman new to the Raiders. Before that, Ellis spent 11 years in Dallas and had his best year in 2007 when he recorded 12.5 sacks. This year, Ellis has four fumbles through the first five games and a forced fumble. The guy knows how to get to the quarterback and will have to be handled all day. Our offensive line has done well giving the quarterback time this year and need to continue the trend Sunday.
Nnamdi Asomugha – Asomugha is one of the best in the game at his position. The big question is how the Raiders will use them. He could be asked to shut down DeSean Jackson one on one or the Raiders may choose to put him on Maclin and double Jackson with a safety. He is a big corner so whoever he covers will need to get off his jam and use their speed to their advantage. Asomugha has not recorded an interception this year so you know he’s eager to get one.
The only real highlight I see on the Raiders special teams is Sebastian Janikowski. He’s a bull and can hit field goals from just about anywhere. This year he’s 3/3 40-49 yards and 1/1 from 50+ yards.
This is a game that the Eagles should have no trouble winning so they just need to take care of them and move on to their divisional games.