Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, Philadelphia Eagles fans.
Santa Claus may have already left some cool presents for you under the tree, but there’s one more gift that could really make this holiday special: an Eagles win tonight.
As you know by now, tonight’s tilt is very important for the Birds. It’s a big opportunity to lock up home field advantage throughout the 2018 NFL playoff picture. All the Eagles would need is two home wins in the post-season before getting to play in the Super Bowl.
The good news is that tonight’s game should be winnable. The Raiders aren’t great. After overachieving to go 12-4 in 2016, they’ve fallen out of the AFC playoff picture at 6-8 this season. Oakland’s offense is no longer good enough to make up for the fact their defense is one of the worst units in the league.
Speaking of bad defenses, Jim Schwartz’s unit turned in a very concerning performance against a depleted New York Giants team last week. Schwartz cited a lack of “urgency” as the reason why the Eagles didn’t play well. If that was truly the case, then we need to see the players come out with more desperation tonight. And if they don’t, Schwartz can’t escape the blame.
Oakland’s offense will be an interesting test for the Eagles since Derek Carr, not unlike Eli Manning, gets the ball out quick. Philadelphia will need to prove they can stop the slants that consistently tore them up last week.
The feeling here is the Eagles’ defense will play better at home. They’ll have the entire crowd on their side. The Raiders won’t be super motivated after being officially eliminated from the playoff race. The weather will be cold.
How the Eagles defense plays will really shape the level of optimism about the team moving forward. There’s already a good deal of confidence in Nick Foles and the Eagles’ offense after the backup quarterback’s good outing last week. He should be able to have success again on Monday night.
There’s really no good reason for the Eagles to lose this game. If they’re going to be serious about making a Super Bowl run, they need to take care of business tonight and lock up the No. 1 seed.
Given the way the Eagles have taken care of inferior opponents at home for most of the season, I feel good about their chances.
Santa’s going to deliver an Eagles win tonight.
Score prediction: Eagles win, 42-17
Bold prediction: Nick Foles throws more touchdown passes than the amount of snowballs that get thrown at Santa
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Will the Eagles beat the Raiders?
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