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Experts make Eagles-Raiders predictions
The Raiders are 3-1 at O.co Coliseum this season. (AP)
OAKLAND – Mychal Kendricks grew up in Fresno, a couple hours south of Oakland, and he went to college at Cal, which is in Berkeley, right up the street.
He’s been to a couple Raiders games, so he knows that Oakland Alameda County Coliseum – now called O.co Coliseum – is not a normal place to play a football game.
Kendricks has about 40 friends and family coming to the Eagles-Raiders game Sunday, but you won’t see his mom in a No. 95 Kendricks jersey.
“My mom’s not wearing any type of Eagles jersey, just because we know how they are,” he said. “People get into fights, people get seriously injured at those games. It’s Oakland. She said she’s going to wear something black so she fits in.
“I didn’t tell all of my friends not to wear Eagles stuff. Just the ones who can’t defend themselves.”
Kendricks laughed as he said that, but the reality is that O.co Coliseum can be a somewhat unpleasant environment for visiting fans or players.
Raiders fans make sure of that.
There’s an outlaw environment at O.co, not too different than the Vet used to have, where the stadium itself is part of the intimidation.
No wonder the Raiders are 3-1 at home this year and 0-3 on the road. Over the last four years, they’re 14-14 at home and 9-18 on the road.
The Eagles and Raiders have met 12 times in their history, five times in Philly, twice in Los Angeles, once at a neutral site (you may remember that game in 1980) and four times in Oakland.
The Raiders beat the Eagles 34-10 here in 1971, 48-17 in 1995 and 13-9 in 2009.
They’ll meet again at 4:05 p.m. EST Sunday as the Eagles begin the second half of their first season under Chip Kelly.
“They have a lot of real die-hard fans,” Kendricks said. “Being from Fresno, you had even number of both Raiders fans and 49ers fans, but you never heard about the San Francisco fans, just because the Raider fans would get into so many fights.”
Only nine players remain from the 2009 team that lost in Oakland, but LeSean McCoy remembers it well.
“It was crazy,” he said. “It was loud. The fans were really into the game. Surprising to me because I thought they weren’t a winning team and I figured nobody would come, and we show up there with freaking Raider fans with spikes on their head and stuff.
“It was pretty cool. They had the black hole. It was tons of fun. We lost, so it wasn’t that fun."
Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis has made the trip to Oakland several times during his various NFL stops and said he enjoys the unique atmosphere.
“It's an exciting atmosphere,” he said. “I remember early on in my career I was with [all-pro linebacker] Kevin Greene and the Pittsburgh Steelers and that is a huge rivalry there.
“It’s like Halloween every weekend there because they all dress up, especially in the end zone. Well, Kevin Greene, I'm going through individual drills, and he starts screaming and running and he dove into the end zone where all the supposedly crazy guys are and they loved it.
“They're some of the nicest people in that end zone that are all dressed up like Halloween. They couldn't have been happier to see him dive in there even though he was a Steeler at the time.
“So I learned back then it is a great place to play. They're friendly. They're good people. They're very passionate, and they like dressing up in Halloween every Sunday. It's a good weekend to do that.”
It’s different. It’s unique. It’s funny.
But intimidating? Not really.
“I wouldn’t say [it was] intimidating, just a different environment,” McCoy said. “At the end of the day it’s a football game. We’re going there to play ball. The fans, they don’t have too much to say about the outcome of the game.”