Five Eagles to watch in Christmas Day clash with Raiders


IT’S CHRISSSTTMAAASSS. Or nearly. It will be on Monday when the Eagles square off against the Oakland Raiders. There will be plenty to keep an eye on come the primetime showdown, but here are five Eagles you need to watch.


Nick Foles:
The sixth-year quarterback enjoyed a strong return to the Eagles starting position, tossing four touchdowns in the team’s road win over New York. Now, Foles will start his first game at the Linc since 2014, a stadium where he’s undefeated in his last eight games. Not only that, but Foles is facing off against the team that thrust him into Canton. Seven touchdowns against the Raiders propelled Foles to a tied-NFL record with Peyton Manning…and now he has the chance to finish what he started.

The Eagles Offense was electric on Sunday, even without Carson Wentz. If the same continues on Christmas Day, then this game will be a true spectacle.


Jay Ajayi:
Ajayi is running like a man possessed, averaging 6.7 yards per carry in his last two games in which he has rushed the ball 32 times. It’s safe to say that the Eagles have realized that Ajayi may be the most productive back on the roster and will feed him suitably. The good news is that the Raiders are giving up 110.7 rushing yards per game, which sits perfectly for a ruthless downhill runner who is out to make a statement. Expect a big day from the new most prominent face of the Eagles backfield.


Ronald Darby:
The Eagles number one cornerback had a tough outing against the New York Giants, giving up two tough flags, a touchdown and several big plays. Was he really as bad as we think? Well, you be the judge…

Darby now comes into week 16 with a tough task at hand. A similarly lethal short-passing offense awaits in the way of the Oakland Raiders, with Michael Crabtree and (questionable) Amari Cooper. Darby will be forced to let go of the week before and focus on containing a duo who have combined for 13 touchdowns this season.


Malcolm Jenkins:
Another week, another matchup against a dominant tight end who leads his team in passing. Malcolm Jenkins will be tasked with keeping Jared Cook under wraps, who leads the Raiders in receiving yards this season. With the questionable status of Jalen Mills and Patrick Robinson, Jenkins will need to be at his best on Sunday. Whether it’s playing inside the box or along the backline of defense with Rodney McLeod, the Eagles will lean on Jenkins to prop up a faltering secondary on Monday.


Brandon Graham:
A career high in sacks wasn’t enough to earn BG that elusive Pro Bowl berth he so deservingly warrants. But the star defensive end told reporters during the week that he will only use it as motivation to be better than ever. Graham has been rampant all season long and the Raiders lackluster rushing attack could find itself thwarted if BG lets loose. Poised for a big day, the veteran is en-route to a big payday if he amasses just 0.5 more sacks this season…so with everything else in mind, expect a big day.


Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

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