When the Philadelphia Eagles made their 2013 season debut, many experts thought that Chip Kelly’s offense would be one of the most dynamic in the NFL. Less than two months later, however, the team is struggling to find their way into the end zone.
In recent games, the Eagles have not come close to looking like the team that scored 33 points in the first 32 minutes of Week One. As Philadelphia makes a Week Nine visit to the Oakland Raiders, they’ll try to score their first offensive touchdown since Week Six.
Much of the Eagles’ troubles have stemmed from the quarterback position. Michael Vick, Nick Foles and Matt Barkley have all gotten time to run the offense because of injuries. With the original starter, Vick, battling a hamstring issue, Foles is expected to get the call on Sunday. The rookie Barkley got the bulk of the playing time in last week, throwing for 156 yards, no touchdowns and an interception in a loss to the New York Giants.
Foles took over for an injured Vick in Week Five. He led Philly to consecutive wins, but suffered a concusion against the Dallas Cowboys in Week Seven. In that contest, he threw 29 passes for just 80 yards in a 17-3 defeat. He was a full participant in Friday’s practice and appears ready to go, though Kelly is tempering his expectations.
“I know how confident Nick is in practice, but practice and games are different things,” Kelly said. “But I think he understands how he played in the Dallas game and how he's practicing right now. He's practicing really well. We'll see. But it's a daily basis.”
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The second-year player will go up against a Raiders defense that has played surprisingly well on the defensive end. They enter Sunday’s game at 3-4 and still very much in contention for an AFC wild card spot. In each of Oakland’s wins, they have allowed 18 points or less.
Only four teams have allowed fewer total yards than the Raiders. Limiting the opposition’s offense has helped them stay in games, despite a struggling offense of their own. Terrelle Pryor has been effective when running the ball, but has had trouble when remaining in the pocket and airing it out. He’s thrown for just 1,149 yards, five touchdowns and seven interceptions.
"They're really athletic," said Kelly told Eagles’ official website. "It starts on the (defensive) line. They have a bunch of guys that are stout, but they also run really well with guys like Lamarr Houston. Nick Roach is playing really well, the middle linebacker for them. He can move around really well, and I think when you have someone like (Charles) Woodson on the back end that gets everyone lined up the right way, even though he's been in the league for 16 years, he's playing at a really high level.
Philadelphia began the week as favorites, but became underdogs when it was determined that Vick would not be able to suit up. The betting line has the Raiders giving the Eagles 2.5 points at O.co Coliseum, where the Raiders have played very well. They have covered three out of their four games at home and have an overall record of 5-2 against the spread.
Las Vegas Betting Odds: Oakland favored by 2.5 points
Over-Under: 45 points
TV Channel: FOX
Where To Watch Online: NFL Sunday Ticket Max
Kickoff Time: 4:05 PM Eastern Time
Prediction: Oakland 20, Philadelphia 13