Eagles

The gift of Eagles-Raiders predictions

The gift of Eagles-Raiders predictions

A Christmas win on Monday Night Football would be the perfect present for Eagles fans. 

Nick Foles was stellar in his first start of the season for the Birds (12-2) against the Giants, tossing four touchdowns and no interceptions. He'll hope to emulate his incredible, seven-touchdown performance in 2013, the first time he faced Oakland (see story).

The Raiders (6-8) have had a disappointing season. They lost a heartbreaker last Sunday night to the Cowboys, which all but eliminated them from playoff contention. 

The Eagles, however, can clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC with a win. It should be a raucous atmosphere at the Linc Monday night (8:30 p.m./ESPN). 

Our experts provide their predictions:

Reuben Frank (13-1)
The Eagles are 12-2 at home under Doug Pederson, Nick Foles has won his last eight regular-season starts at the Linc, the Raiders are 6-8 and playing out the string in a disappointing season and the Christmas evening crowd is going to be ready to keep the celebration going well into the night. The Eagles aren't losing this game.

They could start Nate Sudfeld and win this thing. The defense, after three weeks on the road, gets its act together and plays well, Foles puts together another efficient performance, the Eagles get the running attack back on track and clinch No. 1 seed for the first time since 2004 with a win over the Raiders. One thing I would love to see after the Eagles build up a big lead is Brent Celek getting the 28 yards he needs for 5,000 in his career. That would be a Christmas present every Eagles fan would enjoy! 

Eagles 27, Raiders 10

Dave Zangaro (11-3)
There was a time when this Christmas Day matchup between the Eagles and Raiders was supposed to be a must-watch. 

Eh. It's not anymore. 

The Eagles have been much better than expected and the Raiders have been much worse. It's set up a matchup between the 12-2 Eagles and the 6-8 Raiders at the Linc. 

At the Linc this season, the Eagles are a perfect 6-0, while the Raiders are just 2-4 on the road. 

As long as the Birds' defense bounces back a little and Nick Foles continues to look good, there's no reason the Eagles shouldn't win this one easily. 

Eagles 30, Raiders 20 

Derrick Gunn (11-3)
Nick Foles passed his first test, and everyone is breathing easier and feeling satisfied that Foles can keep the offensive efficiency going.

As for the Birds' defense, for a third straight game, they were on shaky ground. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz told the media he's getting tired of repeating himself about how his defense needs to "get back to playing clean football and stop giving offenses help." 

Enter the Oakland Raiders, whose season turned out to be drastically different from the previous season. Quarterback Derek Carr and his offense can't find consistency and the defense can't make the necessary stops. Big play wide receiver Amari Cooper has been hampered by an ankle injury for several weeks and may have to sit this one out. The Raiders do have a pair of dangerous pass rushers in Pro bowler Khalil Mack (10.5 sacks) and Bruce Irvin (7.5 sacks). Right tackle Lane Johnson, selected to his first Pro Bowl, has been outstanding against premier edge rushers this season, but the other side of the line has been up and down. Left tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai has struggled the past two games and may need some help protecting Foles' blind side.

This game might be the final time we see many of the Birds starters until the playoffs, so they'll want to put on a good show. 

Eagles 31, Raiders 20

Ray Didinger (12-2)
The Raiders are still alive (barely) in the AFC playoff race, but they are coming off two dispiriting losses to Kansas City and Dallas. It is hard to imagine them being too excited about traveling all the way across the country to play the Eagles on Christmas night. They probably just want to get this disappointing season over with.

Still, the Eagles can't afford to take this one for granted. They were lucky to squeeze past a two-win Giants team Sunday and while Nick Foles did a good job filling in for Carson Wentz, the defense was downright pitiful. I'm sure it has been an uncomfortable week in the defensive meeting room watching the tape of that performance with Jim Schwartz providing commentary.

That combined with the emotional lift of playing their first home game in almost a month and the incentive of wrapping up the top seed in the NFC should be enough to carry the day — or, in this case, the night.

Eagles 31, Raiders 21 

Andrew Kulp (12-2)
There’s a very real chance Oakland will be eliminated from playoff contention before kickoff, so you have to wonder what kind of energy the Raiders will bring to the Linc. It’s a cross-country trip, on Christmas, and Pro Bowl left tackle Donald Penn — one of 14 Raiders listed on the injury report this week — just landed on injured reserve.

The Eagles’ defense and, in particular, the secondary looks vulnerable, though the Raiders may not possess the mindset let alone healthy personnel to take advantage right now. I expected a blowout last week, too, against the Giants, and we all saw how that went, but that was an NFC East rivalry, on the road, and a team that had nowhere to go except up. The Eagles may just catch the Raiders at their lowest point.

Eagles 34, Raiders 10

Corey Seidman (9-4) 
Oakland’s pass rush will affect the Eagles early in this game, I think, but once the Eagles get their protections down, Nick Foles should be able to pick apart a shaky secondary. Offensively, the Raiders are reliant to a fault on jump-balls to Michael Crabtree. So as long as the Eagles can shut him down near the goal-line, this should be a multi-score win.

Eagles 27, Raiders 14

Coming off first Super Bowl win, Eagles aim to crush complacency

usa-malcolm-jenkins-eagles.jpg
USA Today Images

Coming off first Super Bowl win, Eagles aim to crush complacency

The Eagles on Monday released a short video montage of players returning to the NovaCare Complex for the start of the team’s offseason workout program, the first time the team has been back together since winning Super Bowl LII. 

Playing over the video is a snippet from Doug Pederson’s speech to the team, in which he talks about sacrifice and starting over at ground zero. 

The 30-second video then ends with a shot of the Eagles’ new Super Bowl champion banner hanging in the weight room, while Pederson delivers the message, “The new normal starts today.” 

The Eagles have finally won a Super Bowl, so now what? 

Well, now they have to battle complacency on their quest to make a parade down Broad Street an annual occurrence. 

“For me, when I hear the ‘new norm,’ I’m not thinking about the end result, the championships and the parades and all that,” veteran leader Malcolm Jenkins said on Tuesday. “I’m thinking about the work it took to get to where we were. How we started last year in April and grinded and competed throughout. For me, that’s kind of the new norm and the standard and the base that we’re trying to start from this year as we try to defend that title.” 

Unlike many of his teammates, this isn’t the first time Jenkins is coming off a championship. The year after his Saints won the Super Bowl during his rookie season, they were bounced out of the playoffs in the first round. 

Being that this isn’t the first time Jenkins is in this situation, he said he knows some of the “pitfalls” that come with trying to avoid the Super Bowl hangover. Aside from the obvious month less of recovery time, the Eagles also need to shift their mindset from celebration back to work. Jenkins doesn’t think that will be a problem. He thinks teams get their attitude from leaders. He thinks these Eagles want to “create something special.” He thinks they know how to do it. 

One thing that should help is getting back several key players who weren’t able to play in last year’s Super Bowl because of injuries. Their drive will be there. 

“I know for myself and (Jordan) Hicks and (Chris) Maragos, Jason Peters, it didn’t sit well with them either,” Carson Wentz said. “As much as we love our teammates and we were excited to see it, we wanted to be out there. We know that will kick things into gear. I don’t think complacency would have been an issue regardless, but I think that will definitely help.”

Jenkins this week didn’t want to even talk about repeating yet because there’s so long to go before we even know what the team will look like. 

But repeating remains the ultimate goal.  

“We’re extremely hungry for sustained success in this city,” tight end Zach Ertz said. “We’ve tasted it one time and that’s something you never want to give up. We’re hungry to repeat. … I don’t think we’ll ever have that mindset that we’ve arrived as a football team or as a city.”

Eagles 2018 regular-season breakdown (Part 1)

Eagles 2018 regular-season breakdown (Part 1)

A game-by-game breakdown of the Eagles’ 2018 regular-season schedule.

For Weeks 9-17, click right here. Let’s break down Weeks 1-8 below.

Week 1: Falcons at Eagles
8:20 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018
Lincoln Financial Field

The Falcons come to Philadelphia for a third straight season. The Eagles won 24-15 at the Linc in 2016 and 15-10 last year in the conference semifinal round of the playoffs. The Eagles are 6-1 all-time against the Falcons at the Linc, with the only loss coming in 2012. They’re 19-14-1 all-time vs. the Falcons and 11-6-1 at home. The Falcons’ last win over the Eagles came in 2015 at the Georgia Dome. Going back to 2000, the Eagles have won 10 of the last 14 games against Atlanta.
 
Week 2: Eagles at Buccaneers
1 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018
Raymond James Stadium

The Eagles travel to Tampa for the first time in five years to face the Buccaneers. They’re 4-3 all-time in Tampa and 3-1 at Raymond James. The Bucs beat the Eagles 45-17 at the Linc in 2015 in their last meeting. The Eagles won in 2013 in the last game in Tampa. Overall, the Eagles are 10-8 against the Bucs.
 
Week 3: Colts at Eagles
1 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018
Lincoln Financial Field

From 1996 through 2006, the Eagles lost four straight to the Colts by an average of 25 points. But they’ve won the two matchups since, at the Linc in 2010 and at Lucas Oil Stadium in 2014. Including their years in Baltimore, the Eagles are 9-10 all-time vs. the Colts and 5-5 at home but just 1-0 at the Linc. Since the Colts moved to Indianapolis, the Eagles are 4-5 against them.
 
Week 4: Eagles at Titans
1 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018
Nissan Stadium

The Titans have won four of the last five games against the Eagles, although the Eagles won the last meeting, 43-24, at the Linc in 2014. The Eagles are 7-4 all-time against the Titans/Oilers franchise and 3-2 on the road, but the last road win was the House of Pain game at the Astrodome in 1991. The Eagles  are 0-2 against the Titans in Nashville.
 
Week 5: Eagles vs. Vikings
4:25 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018
Lincoln Financial Field

The Eagles have won seven of their last nine games against the Vikings, including a 38-7 rout in last year’s NFC Championship Game at the Linc. They are 4-1 at the Linc vs. the Vikings, 10-6 in Philly and 14-13 all-time in a series dating back to 1962. Since 1980, the Eagles have won 14 of 20 matchups, including all four postseason meetings. The Eagles have won eight of their last nine home games against the Vikings, with the only loss coming in 2010.
 
Week 6: Eagles at Giants
8:20 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 14, 2018
MetLife Stadium

The Eagles are 9-2 in their last 11 meetings with the Giants in East Rutherford, and their last three wins on the road against the Giants have come with different coaches at the helm – Chip Kelly in 2014, Pat Shurmur in 2015 and Doug Pederson in 2017. The Eagles’ only losses at MetLife Stadium since it opened in 2010 came in 2012 and 2016.
 
Week 7: Panthers at Eagles
1 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018
Lincoln Financial Field

The Eagles and Panthers meet for the fifth time in seven years. The Eagles beat Carolina 28-23 in Charlotte, N.C., last October, and won the last meeting in Philadelphia 45-21 in 2014. The Eagles are 7-4 all-time vs. the Panthers, 4-2 at home and 3-2 at the Linc. The Eagles’ last home loss to Carolina came in 2012, late in Andy Reid’s final season as head coach.
 
Week 8: Eagles at Jaguars
9:30 a.m., Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018
Wembley Stadium, London

After losing their first three games against the Jaguars, the Eagles have won the last two, in Jacksonville in 2010 by 25 points and at the Linc in 2014 by 17 points. The Eagles are 1-2 against the Jaguars in Jacksonville, with the losses coming in 1997 and 2002. The Eagles have never played a regular-season game in London. The Jaguars have played every year since 2013 at Wembley, where they are 3-2.