McManus: Zach Ertz.
This game is a homecoming of sorts for Ertz, who grew up in nearby Danville, CA and played his college ball at Stanford. He has gotten tickets for about 20 friends and family members.
“Obviously, going home, I want to make some big plays out there,” said Ertz.
The offense could definitely use it. The 35th overall pick has 14 catches on 25 targets for 201 yards (14.4 avg.) this season and has yet to find the end zone. The reason tight ends outside of Brent Celek weren’t seeing the field more early on is because the run game was working just fine when the Eagles were in “11 personnel”. The run game has dried up of late, so there is logic in getting someone like Ertz on the field more — especially over a player like Jeff Maehl.
“I feel very comfortable. I’ve had some opportunities to make some plays and I think I’ve made the plays when I’ve had my number called,” said Ertz. “Hopefully that number continues to go up over the next eight games of the season, whether it’s blocking or in the pass game, wherever they need me.”
Kapadia: Mychal Kendricks
I’ll go with another California guy in Kendricks. The Fresno native said he has 43 people coming to the game, and he figures to play a big role in slowing down Terrelle Pryor.
Kendricks had a season-high 17 tackles (11 solo) last week, according to stats tracked by the Eagles’ coaches. Against the run, he’s at his best when the defensive linemen up front occupy blockers and Kendricks can run freely. The Raiders are a run-first team, and when they do pass, the second-year linebacker could be tasked with spying Pryor.
The key defensively will be forcing Pryor to be a passer and limiting the damage he does with his legs. Billy Davis will need Kendricks to answer the call.
Prop bet of the week: Nick Foles passing yards — 265. Whaddya got?
McManus: I’ll try the over. This will be a real interesting start to watch. Is his confidence rattled as a result of the Dallas game? Will be be shaky and apprehensive? Will he respond to the adversity with a statement game? Somewhere in between? I’m guessing that Foles bounces back pretty well against Oakland.
It’s probably a better situation for Foles to be on the road this week. Less pressure. An opportunity to dial in and, as Chip Kelly said, “just grip it and rip it.”
Kapadia: Most of the time it’s clear I have no clue what I’m talking about, but in this instance I’ll just come out and say it: How Foles will bounce back from that start two weeks ago is a complete mystery to me.
My main issue is that he wasn’t just missing throws against Dallas. He wasn’t seeing the field and failed to identify wide-open receivers. For most of the past two seasons, Foles has showed a level of competency that was missing in that Cowboys game.
I’m anxious to see if he can rebound, but am taking a “show-me” mindset. So I’ll go with the under.
McManus: Eagles 27, Raiders 20
The way I see it, there are several key Eagles with something to prove. Foles, obviously. How about Kelly? He takes great pride in his offense and it has to be killing him that his unit has produced just three points in two games, giving his critics an opportunity to take out their knives. Guessing he was a motivated soul this week.
Same goes for LeSean McCoy. He has been slowed down lately and is eager to get loose. The defense, meanwhile, has been showing real signs of growth and are capable of keeping Pryor and the Raiders’ attack in check.
Put that together, and it seems like the stars are aligning for an Eagles win.
Kapadia: Raiders 21, Eagles 20
For those keeping track at home, I miss with my pick pretty much every week. So you should be happy I’m going with Oakland.
To be clear, this comes down to the offense. The defense has issues against high-efficiency offenses that are able to move the football through the air. That’s now what the Raiders are. I like the matchup for the Eagles from that standpoint.
The Raiders don’t have a plethora of talent on defense, but they’ve been playing well on that side of the ball. Opponents, for the most part, all defend the Eagles the same. Oakland will focus on McCoy and force Foles to lead the charge.
I actually think the Eagles’ offense will put it together at some point in the second half of the season. Just not sure if it’ll be this weekend.
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