Eagles defeat Raiders, grab NFC's top playoff seed

The Philadelphia Eagles' Super Bowl path got a little bit easier on Monday night when they defeated the Oakland Raiders, 19-10, to clinch home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. Jake Elliott's 48-yard field goal in the final minute broke a 10-10 tie before Derek Barnett scored on a 23-yard fumble return as time expired. Here's what we learned from the Eagles' win:

  1. It'd be a tad too ominous to draw parallels between the late-2016 Raiders and the Nick Foles-led Eagles, but Monday's game showcased the challenges Philly faces with the primary on-field architect of its success on injured reserve.

Against the Raiders, Foles' penchant for being a streaky quarterback swung cold -- 19 of 28 passing for 163 yards, a touchdown and an interception reflect that. It was the type of frustrating-to-watch performance that completely clouds any legitimate postseason prognostication for the Eagles (13-2).

"I didn't play good enough," Foles said. "I have to play cleaner, [need] pinpoint accuracy and good decisions on third downs."

The Eagles also need to provide him better protection and a better running game in order to maximize his effectiveness. Khalil Mack and Co. organized plenty of mandatory meetings with Foles, and Jay Ajayi was pretty quiet outside of his spectacular 17-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter.

Carson Wentz, like all good quarterbacks, had the ability to mask shaky performances from the team. The Eagles won't be able to play like they did against the Raiders (6-9) and win in the divisional playoffs.

"We found a way to win," said Eagles coach Doug Pederson, who added he hasn't decided if Foles will start against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. "That's the bottom line. We found a way to win. ... Everybody's got to come through here now. That's the exciting part."

  1. Christmas is about giving, but the Eagles and Raiders were WAY too charitable in this one. The teams combined for seven turnovers in the second half -- the most in a half this season, per NFL Research. At one point in the third quarter, there were three turnovers on four plays.

Each fumble and interception looked as if it would lead to a decisive scoring opportunity for each team, especially with the game tied 10-10 in the fourth quarter.

The turning point eventually would be Ronald Darby's interception off Derek Carr with 57 seconds left in regulation at the Philly 48. Foles then took over and did what he's good at doing -- short passes. His completions of 5, 8, 4 and 4 yards moved the Eagles into field-goal range, setting up Elliott's go-ahead kick. At 7-0, Philly remains the only team unbeaten at home this season.

  1. Despite an inability to hang onto the ball and some general sloppy play, both teams put in strong defensive efforts. The Raiders' pass rush and clinging secondary made it difficult for the Eagles to find consistency in the passing game.

NaVorro Bowman and Mack led the way with six and four tackles, respectively. Sean Smith helped shut out Alshon Jeffery in the catches department and Reggie Nelson had six tackles along with an interception. Foles and the Eagles converted on just one of 14 third downs (although, they were 2 for 2 on fourth down).

The Eagles' defense was just as successful, holding Derek Carr to a meager 140 yards on 15 of 29 passing while picking him off twice. Marshawn Lynch had some success, churning out 95 yards on 25 carries, even if his first fumble since Dec. 28, 2014 didn't help.

"I thought the defense played really, really well, Pederson said.

  1. Although Foles has struggled with the overall consistency of his performances since taking over the Eagles' starting role, he had managed to stay out of trouble when it came to interceptions. That ended when he threw an interception in the fourth quarter. Foles had thrown 170 passes without a INT before Nelson picked him off to end the longest active streak in the NFL.
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