The Las Vegas Raiders are playing their first home game since the ouster of coach Jon Gruden and expect emotions to be high at Allegiant Stadium when they host the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday with a 1:05 p.m. PT kickoff.
The Raiders are a three-point favorite over the Eagles, with an over/under of 48, according to our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Let’s look at five keys for a Las Vegas victory:
Feed off the crowd:
This is going to be another emotional game. Yes, with each passing day, the shock of Gruden’s departure wears off some and it likely won’t be as emotional as it win Denver when the Raiders walloped the Broncos 34-24 last week. But this will be the Raiders’ first home game, in front of their own fans, since Gruden departed. The fans are going to be wildly behind this team to show appreciation for what happened in Denver. The Raiders need to take that energy generated from the fans and channel into another great performance.
Set the tone:
This is an offshoot of the first key. The 4-2 Raiders are better than the 2-4 Eagles and have a great chance to be 6-2 (they have the bye next week and then visit the 1-5 New York Giants) before a huge game against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Raiders are in control here. They have to be the better team and make more plays. They can’t mess around and let the Eagles hang around. The Eagles are a sloppy team. They lead the NFL in penalties with 54. The Raiders must take advantage of that.
Run the ball:
Yes, backup running back Kenyan Drake delivered two big touchdowns in Denver and he made an impact, but that shouldn’t mask the fact that the Raiders’ running game is still not operating at a high level.
#Raiders are last in NFL in yards per carry (3.33). That's their worst after 6 games since averaging 3.30 in 2009 when Tom Cable was head coach, play-caller and helped coach the OL— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) October 19, 2021
It is the job of offensive coordinator and play caller Greg Olson to get starter Josh Jacobs (who hasn’t averaged more than 3.4 yards a carry in any of the four games he has played this season) going, so the Raiders don’t have to be see reliant on the passing game. The Raiders will have an opportunity to get the run game going. The Eagles have allowed 812 yards rushing this season. It is the fifth most in the league.
The Raiders made Denver quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s life miserable Sunday as they constantly pressured him. The Raiders pressured him 33 times. It helped force Bridgewater in throwing three interceptions and losing a fumble. if the Raiders can have the same impact on Philadelphia quarterback Jalen Hurts, it could be another big day for the Las Vegas defense. Hurts is still a young quarterback who can be forced into making mistakes. Las Vegas can’t make it easy on this beatable quarterback, but given the chance, he can be dangerous on the ground.
Jalen Hurts is the 6th QB since the merger w/ back-to-back games with 2+ TD runs. No one has done it 3 in a row. The last QB to run for 2+ TDs against the #Raiders in a game was Carson Palmer on 11/22/09. Raiders won that game 20-17 in Bruce Gradkowski's 1st start with the team— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) October 20, 2021
Have the better ‘Bama receiver:
Raiders second-year wide receiver Henry Ruggs has been making a big impact this season. Ruggs, who had 97 yards and a touchdown on three catches against Denver, is averaging 22.3 yards per catch this season. The Alabama product must be accounted for. Yet, the Eagles also have a former Alabama receiver the Raiders must watch out for. Rookie DeVonta Smith has been excellent with 27 catches so far. The college teammates will want to outperform each other and make a difference in the outcome of the game.
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