The Raiders hope to play the role of Silver and Black Santa, delivering a loss to the hottest team in the NFL in the Eagles and having an impact on the AFC playoff race.
The Oakland Raiders may be playing out the string for the remainder of 2017, but their next two games could have significant impact on the AFC playoff race.
The Raiders still can have an impact on the playoff race beginning Christmas night with a game against the NFC’s top team in the Philadelphia Eagles. The prime time television matchup is the first of holiday billings for the Raiders who will finish the season next week on New Year’s Eve against the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Eagles sit at 12-2 on the season with the best record in all of football. However, they are playing out the season without their No. 1 quarterback in Carson Wentz and have the Minnesota Vikings only one game behind them in the race for the top overall seed and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
But unlike the Raiders last year who collapsed in the playoffs when their No. 1 quarterback Derek Carr was injured late in the season, the Eagles have a proven backup in Nick Foles. Foles led the team to a comeback 34-29 win against the Giants last week.
Foles also has a history against the Raiders. Playing the Raiders in Oakland on November 3, 2013, Foles shredded Oakland completing 22-of-28 passes en route to a seven-touchdown day against the Raiders in a 49-20 win for Philadelphia.
For Foles in 2017, he’s no longer the starter and instead acting as a fill-in for the injured Wentz and will be facing a much different Raiders squad.
The Raiders’ defense is coming off a good effort against the Cowboys last week, with Sean Smith picking off two passes and 2018 Pro Bowl selection Khalil Mack recording two sacks. They will have to be just as good in stopping Foles and his corp of strong receivers in Alshon Jeffrey and Nelson Agholor along with tight end Zach Ertz.
The Eagles also have a balanced attack with running backs LaGarette Blount and Jay Ajayi leading the way.
On offense, the Raiders may benefit from the return of wide receiver Amari Cooper, who was listed as out on Thursday, but increasingly looks like he may go. Pro Bowl offensive tackle Donald Penn, who was placed on injured reserve, is out of the game against the Eagles. The Raiders will turn to rookie David Sharpe to fill in for Penn.
The Raiders also look to get quarterback Carr and the rest of the offense back on track after what has been a disappointing season for the unit. After finishing sixth in overall offense during the 2016 regular season, the Raiders have slipped to 19th, and it’s a big reason they stand at 6-8 on the year.
Others listed as out for the game are defensive end Mario Edwards Jr, safety Obi Melifonwu and tight end Clive Walford. Cornerback David Amerson is listed as doubtful.
The game will be played Christmas night at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. The Raiders have lost two straight games and are a 9-point underdog. The over/under is 47.5.