The Philadelphia Eagles (2-4) will look to get back into the win column when they take on the Las Vegas Raiders (4-2) on Sunday at 4:05 p.m. ET.
The Eagles are coming off a tough 28-22 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 6 at Lincoln Financial Field. Philadelphia has yet to win a game at home this season, with their only two victories coming on the road. The Raiders snapped their two-game losing streak last week with a 10-point road win over the Denver Broncos.
Can Jalen Hurts and Co. capture their third-straight road win this season? Or will Derek Carr lead the Raiders to their first win at home since Sept. 26 against the Miami Dolphins?
To answer those questions and more, let’s take a look at a few things to watch out for in this Week 7 tilt.
Will the Eagles run the football on Sunday?
It’s been documented through six weeks of the season that head coach Nick Sirianni and offensive coordinator Shane Steichen are not fans of running the ball.
Third-year running back Miles Sanders only has 270 yards on 57 carries, along with 18 receptions for 121 yards this season. Out of the six games that the Eagles have played, Sanders has only received at least 10 carries twice.
If we are being honest, that’s flat-out disgusting since Sanders has rushed for over 800 yards twice in his NFL career.
Through six weeks, the Eagles are ranked 10th in the NFL in passing play percentage at 62.6 but ranked 23rd in the league in rushing play percentage at 37.4. That is a huge discrepancy and is not a recipe to success with a quarterback in Jalen Hurts, who has only made 10 career starts.
Steichen said on Tuesday that the Eagles have to get Sanders more involved in the offense.
“Miles is a heck of a back,” he said (h/t Philadelphia Inquirer). “We’ve got to get him going.”
It’s nice to hear that Philadelphia’s coaching staff knows they have to integrate Sanders into offense. But the question remains of will they put those words into action? We won’t find out that answer until 7 p.m. ET on Sunday.
All eyes on Ruggs
The Eagles’ defense has been exceptional this season in not allowing a ton of big passing plays. This season, Philadelphia has only given up two 100-yard receiving games to opposing wideouts. The most notable game was in Week 4 against the Kansas City Chiefs, where Tyreek Hill had 11 recs for 186 yards and three touchdowns.
On Sunday afternoon, the Eagles will be facing Raiders’ second-year wideout Henry Ruggs III, who has similar game-breaking speed as Hill does.
This season, the former Alabama standout has 20 receptions for 445 yards and three touchdowns. Ruggs is also averaging 22.3 yards per reception, which leads all receivers in the NFL.
It will be imperative that the Eagles cornerbacks keep Ruggs in front of them and not allow him to take the top off. The defensive line must apply consistent pressure to Raiders QB Derek Carr, who has been sacked 2.8 times per game this season.
Hurts vs. Raiders’ defense
Hurts did not have the best performances over the last two weeks against the Carolina Panthers and Buccaneers. Both defenses were aggressive and made life tough on the young quarterback. However, he should be able to bounce back against Las Vegas’ defense.
This season, the Raiders are allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete 71.5% of their passes, which is ranked fourth-worst in the NFL.
Hurts, who has shown the ability to work the middle of the field and make throws outside of the hash marks, will need to replicate that Sunday. He might also need to create some plays with his legs, which he has done well this season.
The Raiders’ defense has two solid defensive ends in Yannick Ngauoke and Maxx Crosby off the edge. Las Vegas is ranked first in the NFL in QB hits (54) and ranked fourth in QB pressures (68).
Hurts currently leads the team in rushing with 300 yards and will need to use the RPO and read option to keep the Raiders’ defense off balance.