NFL Game of the Week: Eagles vs. Rams
Two of the top teams in the NFC will matchup up this Sunday in Week 14’s game of the week as the Philadelphia Eagles travel to the Coliseum to face the Los Angeles Rams.
Philadelphia and Los Angeles have gone from teams on the rise to teams that are competing with each other for home-field advantage in the playoffs. This matchup also features a battle of the top two picks in the 2016 NFL Draft.
The Eagles come into this game with a record of 10-2. After winning nine in a row, Philadelphia finally lost last week to Seattle 24-10. With that loss and a Minnesota win over Atlanta, the Eagles dropped to the two seed in the NFC for now.
Quarterback Carson Wentz had an up-and-down night as he threw for 348 yards and one touchdown, but he also committed two costly turnovers. Wide receiver Nelson Agholor added 141 yards and the lone touchdown for the Eagles.
Los Angeles enters Week 14 with a record of 9-3 and is currently sitting at third place in the NFC. After beating Arizona 32-16, the Rams have now won six out of their last seven games in order to maintain their one-game lead on the Seahawks in the NFC West.
Running back Todd Gurley was dominant once again against Arizona as he totaled 158 yards from scrimmage. Quarterback Jared Goff also threw for 220 yards and two touchdowns. Linebacker Alec Ogletree then added a pick six off of Cardinals quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
The first matchup between Wentz and Goff is the headline to this game given that these two quarterbacks were heavily debated and compared going into the NFL Draft in 2016.
Eagles’ Offense vs. Rams’ Defense
The Eagles have an MVP candidate in Carson Wentz running the show. Wentz has made great improvements from his rookie season. He is leading the league with 29 touchdowns and ranks 11th in passing yards. He has been great this season escaping the pocket and making plays with his feet.
Philadelphia has plenty of weapons for Wentz. A great pair of running backs and several good receivers complement him very well. Jay Ajayi and LeGarrette Blount are a dynamic duo in the backfield. Receivers Alshon Jeffery and Agholor combined with tight end Zach Ertz have combined for 21 of Wentz’s 29 touchdowns this season.
The Rams’ defense is led by arguably the best defensive player in the league in Aaron Donald. Donald has been dominant ever since he entered the league including this season where he leads the team with eight sacks and six tackles for loss.
Los Angeles has been great on defense overall this season. They rank seventh in the league allowing 18.5 points per game. The Rams have done a fantastic job this year at forcing turnovers, ranking fifth in the league with 14 interceptions and eighth with 12 forced fumbles.
The Eagles’ offense and Rams’ defense have been two of the better units in the league this season, so whoever wins this matchup could be the difference in this game.
Rams’ Offense vs. Eagles’ Defense
Los Angeles’ offense has made a dramatic change from last season. A lot of the success can be credited to the addition of head coach Sean McVay. McVay is considered an offensive genius around the league.
Jared Goff has made huge strides from last season where he struggled greatly as a rookie. Goff is top ten in the league in both passing yards and touchdowns. His consistency has been off a little this season but has made great improvements overall.
The star of the Rams’ offense is Todd Gurley. Gurley is one of the top five running backs in football and is deadly both as a rusher and a receiver. He is second in the league with 939 yards and touchdowns with eight. Much like Goff, the third-year back out of Georgia has had a much better season this year compared to 2016. Gurley could potentially receive some MVP votes after this season.
Philadelphia has had one of the best defenses in the league this year. They rank No. 3 in the NFL in total yards allowed and have held their opponents to 17.9 points per game.
Fletcher Cox is the star of the Eagles’ defense and has been for several seasons now. Cox leads the team with 8.5 sacks and has also contributed seven tackles for loss. He usually draws double teams from opposing linemen, which frees up other Eagles’ pass rushers.
The Eagles’ secondary has made excellent strides from last season. The development of Jalen Mills and the addition of Ronald Darby have been key to the Eagles’ secondary. While they may give up a lot of passing yards, the Eagles have been successful in forcing turnovers as they rank second in the league with 16 interceptions.
This game has huge implications for the NFC playoff picture and whichever team wins this one will possess an important tiebreaker over the other when the regular season comes to a close.
The showdown between Goff and Wentz should lead to one of the more entertaining games this season. ESPN’s Matchup Predictor gives the Eagles a 52 percent chance to come out with a win.
With the playoffs getting closer and so much being on the line, this game should live up to the potential. Wentz and Goff will show why they were the top two picks in 2016, but the difference will be Gurley and the game being in Los Angeles.
Prediction: Los Angeles 27, Philadelphia 23
Camden Tofil is a freshman majoring in advertising/public relations. To contact him, email email@example.com.