Keys to the game: How the Eagles can beat the Raiders

Eagles QB Jalen Hurts
ATLANTA, GA – SEPTEMBER 12: Jalen Hurts #1 of the Philadelphia Eagles barks out the signals during second half of the 2021 Week 1 NFL game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Philadelphia Eagles on September 12, 2021 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire)

The Eagles are just a few hours away from clashing with the Las Vegas Raiders on the road and while the odds are stacked against them, there is a chance that they cause an upset. Here’s a blueprint of how the team can achieve exactly that.

Stop the run

The Raiders have a fiery offense when Derek Carr heats up. The good news is that Darren Waller may actually be limited or out altogether after becoming a late addition to the injury report, meaning that Carr is going to have to ride Henry Ruggs (who will probably have a tough day against Darius Slay) and guys like Hunter Renfrow.

This should mean that Las Vegas begin to pound the run…which is bad news for the Eagles. Their 812 rushing yards allowed this season ranks 28th in the NFL, while the Raiders are averaging a woeful 3.3 yards per carry. With a poorly functioning rushing offense meeting a similarly poor run defense, one is simply going to have to budge and Jonathan Gannon cannot afford to let it be the Birds.

If the Eagles are unable to get the Raiders off the field, it’s going to get problematic as has been proven in previous weeks. The last thing they need is for someone like Josh Jacobs to finally find his stride and begin harassing the Eagles linebackers. This has to be the game where the Eagles suffocate the run, because if they don’t, it’s just going to give Derek Carr an easy out.

Get Goedert going

I’ve written about this quite a lot over the past few days but for good reason. All signs are pointing towards a Dallas Goedert breakout game.

  1. The Raiders have really struggled against TE’s over the past three weeks, conceding 265 yards and 4 touchdowns.
  2. As the team’s lone established pass-catching TE, Goedert should see a bump in routes and targets from Hurts.
  3. There has been a pig external push for the Eagles to drive the ball over the middle.

The proof is in the pudding and if Nick Sirianni takes on the constructive criticism from just about every avenue, then not only will Hurts have a release valve over the middle, but the Eagles should be able to pick at a real weakness of the 4-2 Raiders.

Back to basics for Jalen Hurts

The Raiders have a rampant pass-rush. They pressured Teddy Bridgewater 33 times last week, hitting him 17, and forcing four total turnovers. The Eagles are getting Lane Johnson back this week, which pushes Jordan Mailata back to his natural LT spot. They should be well-equipped to handle everything that Las Vegas can throw, but they’ll still need some help.

If there’s ever a week to get back to basics, this is it. Nick Sirianni needs to call a more balanced gameplan that utilizes short routes over the middle and enables his playmakers to work into pockets of space against a team that runs zone more than most. If we see a gameplan similar to what we saw in week one, where the QB can take what the defense offers, then there’s every chance that Jalen Hurts balls out and gives the Eagles a chance of a road upset.

Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire