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Philadelphia Eagles vs. Oakland Raiders: Preview & Prediction

Oct 20, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles (9) passes the ball during the first quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field. The Cowboys defeated the Eagles 17-3. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistNovember 1, 2013

Which Nick Foles will we see Sunday when the Philadelphia Eagles take on the Raiders in Oakland? Will it be the quarterback who won the NFC Offensive Player of the Week award after dominating the Bucs in Week 6 or the remarkably inaccurate train wreck we saw against the Cowboys in Week 7?

That could be the key to this entire game, really. If Foles plays the way he did in Tampa, the Eagles will almost definitely win. If he plays the way he did against Dallas, they'll almost definitely lose. Of course, it might be something in between, which is why this could be a very unpredictable game between two evolving and unpredictable teams. 

Here's our final preview of the matchup from Philadelphia's standpoint, along with a prediction...

 

What Philly must do to win, offensive edition

Give Foles support on the ground. LeSean McCoy simply has to be better than he has lately. On the road against a defense that is ranked sixth in the league against the run, it won't be an easy task. But if McCoy is again held to fewer than 60 yards, the Eagles will be in really big trouble. 

 

What Philly must do to win, defensive edition

Don't allow Terrelle Pryor to take over, especially with his legs. Pryor has had some really impressive games and some not-so-pretty ones. The Eagles defense has been playing very well, but it hasn't really faced a quarterback like Pryor all year.

 

Five most important non-quarterbacks

Fletcher Cox: He's their best defensive player and will lead the charge against Pryor. That front will also be adjusting to life without Isaac Sopoaga, for what it's worth.

McCoy: I mean, that's obvious.

Jason Peters and Lane Johnson: Foles was bashed around early in Week 7, and that seemed to impact his play. The Eagles have to give him as much time as possible in the pocket.

Evan Mathis: He's the league's best run-blocking guard, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). They need him to lead the way for McCoy. 

NFL's highest-rated run blockers
PositionTeamPFF run-block rating
1. Evan MathisLeft guardEagles20.5
2. Todd HerremansRight guardEagles14.5
3. Jake LongLeft tackleRams8.7
Pro Football Focus

Injury analysis, Eagles edition

DeSean Jackson was limited in practice this week due to a tweaked ankle. Not having him would be very detrimental for Foles, because that receiving corps is real thin. He's probable, though, while safety Patrick Chung is questionable on D. Only Michael Vick has been ruled out.

 

Injury analysis, Raiders edition

It doesn't look as though they'll have starters Tyvon Branch and Tony Pashos, but they're used to that by now. Nothing else major to report.  

 

B/R NFC East blog prediction: Eagles 31, Raiders 20

I've said that I still believe in Foles, so I think he battles back here. I'm not overly confident, and this one could definitely go either way, but my gut says Philly. 

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