By Kevin McGuire
The Philadelphia Eagles are looking to snap a losing streak. Will they find a victory on the west coast or will a cross-country trip net the same futile result? The Eagles and Raiders have met 10 times in the regular season dating back to 1971 and have split the record right down the middle. Of course, the Raiders won the most important game between the two long-time franchises, with a 27-10 victory in Super Bowl XV. The Eagles are just 1-3 all-time against the Raiders in their house, with the only win coming in 1986 when Randall Cunningham scored a short touchdown run in overtime for a 33-27 win in Los Angeles. The Eagles are 0-3 in Oakland.
The Eagles have another chance to snap the losing streak in the Oakland, and the Raiders are looking for their second straight win against a Pennsylvania team.
So, who are these Raiders?
The Raiders enter the week coming off a win against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The win improved the Raiders to 3-4 overall this season, with the other wins coming against the Jacksonville Jaguars and San Diego Chargers.
Raiders on Offense
The Raiders have been struggling on offense this season. Oakland is ranked 25th overall heading in to the week, but like the Eagles the Raiders seem to have strength in the running game. Oakland ranks fifth in the NFL in rushing offense but is ranked 31st in the passing game. Sound familiar? The Raiders are thriving on the ground in a different way though, with quarterback Terrelle Pryor leading the Raiders in rushing ahead of Darren McFadden. The top target as a receiver is Denarious Moore, who has four touchdowns this season but expect the Raiders to try and keep things working on the ground against the Eagles.
Raiders on Defense
The Raiders are playing some pretty decent defense in spite of having a losing record. In their victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Raiders notched five sacks and two interceptions and held their opponent to just 18 points. The Raiders rank sixth against the run, which is supposed to be the real strength of the Eagles heading in to this game with questions about the passing game lingering. The Raiders have yet to give up a big run this season and are the only team in the NFL to not allow a run of 20 yards or more this season.
Terrelle Pryor, quarterback: It seems as though Terrelle Pryor has finally found his spot in the NFL, but that does not mean he is ready to lead the Raiders to a division title any time soon. Pryor has really developed in his passing mechanics and can still do some damage with his legs, just as he did at Ohio State. If Pryor can continue to show potential, then the Raiders may reach a point where they may feel comfortable moving forward with the former Buckeye leading their offense instead of pursuing an option in the draft, or giving Penn State’s Matt McGloin a crack.
Vance Walker, defensive tackle: With the Eagles showing some vulnerability on the offensive line, Oakland’s Vance Walker could be eying his third straight game with a sack this weekend. Walker has 19 tackles in seven games and has picked up a sack in each of the last two games. If he does get that third sack he will tie his career high.
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Kevin McGuire is a Philadelphia area sports writer covering the Philadelphia Eagles and college football. McGuire is a member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. Follow McGuire on Twitter @KevinOnCFB. His work can be found on Examiner.com.