Philadelphia Eagles (2-4) at Las Vegas Raiders (4-2)
The Eagles are just 2-4, but they’ve faced a tough schedule. Their losses have all come to above average teams, the 49ers, Cowboys, Chiefs, and Buccaneers, with two of those games being decided by one score or less, while their wins have come against the Panthers and Falcons on the road by a combined 29 points. Those two teams are much more comparable to the Raiders, the Eagles’ opponents this week, than any of the teams the Eagles have lost to.
The Eagles’ defense has especially faced a tough schedule, as the Chiefs, Cowboys, and Buccaneers are all in the top-3 in schedule adjusted first down rate, and the Eagles held up all things considered, holding those three teams well below their collective season average and leading the league by allowing 1.24 yards per play less than expected. They’re probably not going to be the best defense in the league by this metric all season, but this is a much better defense than they’ve been given credit for if you take into account who they’ve played.
The Eagles’ offense has not been nearly as good, ranking 27th in schedule adjusted first down rate, but their offensive line is a lot healthier now than it’s been, getting left tackle Jordan Mailata back from a 2-game absence in week 5 and now getting right tackle Lane Johnson back from a 3-game absence this week, the first time the Eagles have had their two tackles together since week 2. The Eagles are still missing their starting guards Brandon Brooks and Isaac Seumalo, but they’ve gotten good play from their replacements and should overall have a strong offensive line with Johnson returning this week.
In their current state, I have them 2.5 points better than the Raiders, suggesting this line should be about even, with the Raiders getting about 2.5 points for homefield advantage. The Raiders have a better record at 4-2, but their victories haven’t been all that impressive, with none coming by more than 10 points and two coming in overtime, despite an underwhelming strength of victory that includes a mediocre Steelers team, a terrible Dolphins team, a banged up Broncos team, and a Ravens team that was travelling cross country for a night game in the Raiders home opener.
Meanwhile, the Raiders’ two losses have each come by double digits, including a home loss to an underwhelming Bears team and the Chargers’ only multi-score win of the season. In hindsight I wish I had picked the Browns on Thursday Night Football as my Pick of the Week because I liked that matchup more than anything this weekend, but I didn’t know that at the time, so I am taking this as my Pick of the Week. The Eagles have a good chance to pull this straight up upset and even if they don’t, we get protection from a field goal loss.
Update: I am glad I locked this in because Darren Waller might not play and this line dropped to 2. I would still like the Eagles at a lot at +2, assuming Waller doesn’t play, but this is an afternoon game, so the line and the injury report need to be monitored before locking in a bet if you didn’t get this at +3.
Philadelphia Eagles 19 Las Vegas Raiders 17 Upset Pick +130
Pick against the spread: Philadelphia +3
Confidence: Pick of the Week