The Philadelphia Eagles are headed to Sin City to meet the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday afternoon (4:25 p.m. ET) with a few extra days of preparation under their belt following a Thursday night loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week.
At 2-4, the Eagles are already staring into the abyss of a mediocre NFC East division that sees the Dallas Cowboys already running away with things. Another loss would potentially put them four games back of first place as the Nick Sirianni experiment continues to lose steam.
Some faith could be restored with a victory in Vegas, but it’s a tall order as the Eagles are 3.5-point underdogs heading into Sunday’s festivities.
Here are a couple of things to watch for:
Looking for balance
The Eagles offense remains heavy on the pass, taking most of the playmaking opportunities out of the hands of running back Miles Sanders — who has shown an ability to eat up chunks of yards when he’s been called upon by Nick Sirianni.
Jalen Hurts has attempted 209 passes compared to the 132 rushing attempts posted by the Eagles. Just 57 of them belong to Sanders — just four more carries than Hurts has this season — as his usage suffers at the hands of the RPO offense.
Sanders is averaging 4.7 yards per rush while backup Kenneth Gainwell’s average is at 4.8. Yet the Eagles’ running backs got just one carry in the first half of their Thursday night loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers while Sanders was called on just nine times all night.
“There is no doubt we got to get the ball the Miles more,” Sirianni said. “We have to be more balanced with the pass and the run. We’re doing everything we can do to fix it.”
It shouldn’t be all that difficult just to dial up a few more run plays. It will do the offense a world of good, especially when it comes to Hurts’ passing options downfield.
Expectations surrounding the Raiders were understandably low this season, especially given the loaded AFC West division that they play in that features the two-time defending AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs, the up-and-coming Los Angeles Chargers, and a defensively imposing Denver Broncos side.
Yet after six games, the Raiders are tied for first in the division at 4-2, made even more impressive by the current controversy that they had to deal with involving the resignation of head coach Jon Gruden.
After a tumultuous week, the Raiders went out and hung up 34 points on the Broncos’ defense in a victory under interim head coach Rich Bisaccia.
Quarterback Derek Carr didn’t slow down either, passing for 341 yards in the victory. It was his fourth game of at least 300 yards passing this season.
The Raiders have the No. 3 passing attack in the entire NFL but will face a stingier Eagles secondary that has actually yielded the eighth-fewest passing yards in the NFL.