They had lost their last three games by an average of 27 points each. The Eagles were the NFL's highest scoring offense in the league heading into today's contest. Their overpaid receiver Javon Walker said he would "be open to being traded, if that's what the team feels is in its best interests." (Translation: I want out) Their premier running back Darren McFadden is out for the next few weeks with a knee injury.
Off the field, the media attention has been on Tom Cable's investigation circling around a reported assault on assistant coach Randy Hanson.
After learning that today's game was going to be blacked out locally, Joe Kukura of NBC Bay Area even joked (or maybe not?), "Any Bay Area fans complaining about not being able to watch this wreck of a team Sunday should probably also be subjected to a drug test."
This is the great thing about the NFL. On any given Sunday...
On this Sunday, the Raiders pulled the huge upset 13-9 over the stunned Eagles in what eventually became a battle of the birds:
Despite the help of their feathered friend and two Philadelphia missed field goals, the Raiders actually won this game. Their defense brought pressure as Richard Seymour and Trevor Scott each sacked Donovan McNabb twice, even as Pro Bowl star Nnamdi Asomugha sat on the bench with an eye injury for much of the game.
Tight End Zach Miller pulled in 136 yards receiving including a hard-fought 86 yard touchdown. The more I watch this guy, the more I see the second-coming of Jason Witten - a 6'5" physical tight end with great hands and the determination to run trough anyone. If Jamarcus Russell can continue to produce like he did this week and the first week of the season, Miller could develop into one of the league's elite receiving tight ends.
Yet that's the big question. Which Raiders team can we expect week to week?
Come to think of it, now that it seems like every weak team in the league runs some form of the Wildcat formation to compete with the league's elite, maybe pigeons on special teams will become the hot new trend. If so, remember you heard it here first.