Eagles-Raiders Thread: 3 Things to Watch, Star TE Ruled Out

darren waller

Getty Las Vegas Raiders TE Darren Waller.

The Philadelphia Eagles and Las Vegas Raiders are set to kickoff in Week 7 at 4:05 p.m. from Sin City. The scene should be rowdy as hundreds of rowdy Philly fans flocked out to the desert to watch the hometown team. It might feel like another work day at Lincoln Financial Field for the boys in midnight green.

Head coach Nick Sirianni isn’t naive to the passion of Eagles fans. He recalled seeing them show up in droves when he was a coaching assistant for the Chargers out in San Diego. A few brave souls came up to him in a restaurant and razzed him a little bit the night before the game.

“My wife and I went out to dinner on Friday night at a restaurant and there was a bunch of Eagles fans there,” Sirianni told reporters. “And I was, like – I don’t know if something happened where – I think I said something in passing, like, ‘Oh, you here for the game?’ And they were like, ‘Yeah,’ – and they were really vocal. ‘Yeah, we’re going to kick your butts.’ Right?

“And so, I’m, like, Wow. I remember thinking that. But then to see that in that setting and see the Eagles fans travel so well, it was to a point – I mean, there was only 30,000 people in that stadium. Because it was a small stadium. But it was loud.”

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3 Things to Watch in Eagles-Raiders

The Eagles are looking to get back in the win column after a tough 28-22 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 6. The pressure has been mounting on Sirianni to run the ball more and that’s the first key to a win against the Raiders.

Here are three things to watch this week:

1. Run, Miles, Run: The Raiders rank No. 24 out of 32 teams in rushing defense. Their defense allows an average of 131 yards per game and 4.6 yards per carry. Again, it would behoove the Eagles to let Miles Sanders eat in what should be a friendly environment at Allegiant Stadium. Sanders has been effective despite limited touches this season: 270 yards on 57 carries for 4.7 yards per carry. The talented running back has been pushing for more touches. It’s time to grant his wish.

2. Pressuring Derek Carr: The retooled offensive line has been a problem through six games in Las Vegas. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has been sacked 17 times, third-most in the NFL. They own one of the worst-rated lines in football, anchored by center Andre James and tackle Brandon Parker who have been getting smoked this season. Look for Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, Derek Barnett, Josh Sweat to bring the pressure all game. They should put their pass-rushing stamp on this game early.

3. Quez Watkins Show: Another playmaker that needs more touches is explosive receiver Quez Watkins. He ranks fifth in the league in yards per catch (19.4) despite being an after-thought in Sirianni’s offense. Watkins has the third-most offensive snaps (239) on the team, but has been making a strong case he deserves a bigger role than Jalen Reagor. For now, he’s relegated to deep threat status. Watkins needs more burn going up against a Raiders’ defense giving up 236.7 yards through the air.

Darren Waller Out for Raiders

Darren Waller was ruled out for the Raiders about 90 minutes prior to kickoff. That’s a huge blow as Carr loses his most dangerous offensive weapon. Waller has 33 receptions for 378 yards and two touchdowns. If those numbers don’t jump off the screen, look at his targets – 53 total targets, including 19 in one game. The tight end won’t play in Week 7 after picking up an ankle/heel injury in a recent practice.

Meanwhile, there were no surprises on the Eagles’ inactive list. Starting safety Anthony Harris is officially out. Ditto for guard/center Jack Anderson. And new cornerback Tay Gowan won’t be making his debut in midnight green.

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