With the Eagles in Oakland today to take on the Raiders, here are 5 random Raiders nuggets that you can pass off as your own when you watch the game with your friends today:
1) The Raiders almost completely renovated their defense this past offseason.
They returned just 2 starters from Week 1 in 2012 to Week 1 in 2013:
Normally, when you have that level of turnover from one year to the next, you're not going to be a very good defense. But the Raiders have actually been quite good. They're 10th in the NFL in yards allowed per game, with 330.9, and 12th in points allowed per game, with 21.4. The Raiders D has been a major surprise this season.
2) The Raiders have an excellent young punter in Marquette King.
I remember watching the Raiders during a 2012 preseason game, and King was absolutely destroying the football. The Raiders stashed him on IR that season, and he won the starting job this year. King leads the NFL in punting average, with 48.9 yards per punt. King is a legitimate weapon for the Raiders.
During training camp, a number of the other Eagles writers would bust my chops for paying so much attention to the punters. I have a deep appreciation for the punting game, but the guy in the following video of King takes it to a new level at the :50 mark below. "Get your popcorn!"
3) The Raiders defense will be a good test for the Eagles struggling run game.
The Raiders are 6th in run defense, allowing just 89.9 rushing yards per game (6th in the NFL) and 3.6 yard per carry (tied for 4th). They are also the only team in the NFL that has yet to allow a 20 yard gain on the ground this season.
4) The Raiders have gotten off to very quick starts at home this season:
- Week 2, vs Jaguars: Raiders were up 10-3 at the half.
- Week 4, vs Washington: Raiders went up 14-0 in the 1st quarter.
- Week 5, vs Chargers: Raiders were up 14-0 in the 1st quarter, and led 17-0 at the half.
- Week 8, vs. Steelers: Raiders led 14-0 in the 1st quarter, and 21-3 at the half.
The Eagles will need to weather the storm early today.
5) QB Terrelle Pryor has 6 rushes of over 20 yards.
That's 2nd in the NFL. He's the biggest reason for the success of the Raiders run game this season, which was absolutely dreadful in 2012. Here's how much the Raiders run game is improved in comparison to last season:
As you can see, the Raiders are on the low end of rushing first downs, but very high in rushes of over 20 yards. They're a "big play" run team, as opposed to a team that's going to grind you out for 4 quarters.