Each week we’ll feature one matchup that promises some extra sizzle for your Sunday.
Philadelphia Eagles at Los Angeles Rams
Sunday, 4:25 PM EST
The beast of the (NFC) East meets the best of the (NFC) West. Two second-year quarterbacks playing at an elite level on division-leading teams that are jockeying for playoff positions down the stretch. It should be a close contest in Los Angeles, and we can expect both teams to rely on heavily on the strong arms of their young gunslingers as these defenses will look to stifle the run game. The experts at sportsinformationtraders.com have the Rams as a favorite at home (-2.5) with the over/under at 48. There’s plenty to love about this matchup on Sunday afternoon.
There’s not much to separate these two young QB’s, to be honest. The Eagles Carson Wentz leads the arms race with 26 TDs, while Goff boasts a better completion percentage and more total yardage. Goff has also turned the ball over less. Each QB has had six interceptions, but Wentz has fumbled the ball more than twice as many times. Both are assisted by a strong running game, and feature a corps of relatively unheralded receivers, Alshon Jeffery of the Eagles being by far the most well-known of the bunch.
Edge: Either would be a great young arm to build a team around, though I tend to lean towards Goff based on the strength of the competition that the Rams have played against thus far.
Ground and Pound
This one’s interesting, as the Eagles are one of the league’s top rushing units, but that’s what they are. A unit. The platoon of LaGarrette Blount, Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood spreads the load around. Interestingly, QB Wentz is still the Eagles’ second-leading rusher this season, and Ajayi has yet to duplicate his performance from last year in Miami. If Ajayi catches fire, they could be nearly unstoppable. The Rams, on the other hand, use a more traditional rushing scheme, with Todd Gurley doing almost all of the heavy lifting. Gurley is poised to break one thousand yards for the second time in his three-year career. If he keeps up his current pace, this will be his best season of his young career, crossing over fifteen hundred yards.
Edge: Close, but I give the edge to the Eagles here. They’ve been defending the run well and the Rams have fewer options to go to if the Eagles can bottle up Gurley.
On the surface, the Eagles appear to have the advantage here, with one of the league’s best run stopping units. However, it’s key to remember that the Eagles haven’t faced the toughest competition thus far, and they certainly haven’t faced a runner of Gurley’s quality at all this year. My suspicion is that Gurley will be effective, especially catching passes out of the backfield, creating confusion and ultimately giving the Eagles all they can handle. The defensive X-factor for the Rams is a big one. And I mean that literally. Rams DE Aaron Donald goes 6-1, 280, and no one in the league single-handedly creates more QB pressure than him. Even when he doesn’t reach the quarterback, you can bet he’s forcing the QB to change his footwork, slide, or step up before he wants to. He’s in the top twenty in the league in sacks, but his value can’t be measured by that stat alone. Look for Donald to cause chaos early and often in this matchup.
Edge: Again, it’s close, but I’m giving the edge to the Rams here. After seeing what Seattle was able to do by making the Eagles one dimensional, I can’t help but think that the Rams will follow their lead and let Aaron Donald do the rest.
For more information, tips and analysis, check out our friends at: https://sportsinformationtraders.com/nfl-odds-daily-football-betting-lines/
Tom Capo writes about sports, parenting, food, wine and travel; but seldom all at once. He’s currently working on his first novel and collection of shorter fiction. He lives in the Bay Area with all of his girls; wife Allison, daughter Liliana and dog Artemis.