After losing a heartbreaking game in Dallas last week, the Philadelphia Eagles (6-7) are back on the road to take on the Los Angeles Rams (11-2) on Sunday night football (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC).
Just like the Eagles, Rams are coming off of a tough road loss against the upstart Chicago Bears. The Bears’ defense neutralized Los Angeles’ high-flying offense and forced quarterback Jared Goff into throwing four interceptions.
With that being known, the Rams are looking to get back on track as they try to take home-field advantage away from the New Orleans Saints in the NFC.
When these two teams played each other last season, it was a classic at the Coliseum. The Eagles, who lost Carson Wentz to a season-ending knee injury in the third quarter, rallied behind Nick Foles and the defense to pull out a 43-35 victory.
However, do not expect another game like that this time around as Wentz reportedly has a fractured vertebra and is not expected to play. Here are three things to watch out for in this late season NFC matchup:
1. Foles back under center
After not playing in the last 11 games due to Wentz, Nick Foles will more than likely be back under center for this Sunday night affair.
Foles last played in Week 2, where the Eagles suffered a tough 27-20 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In that game, he completed 72.9 percent of his passes for 334 yards with a touchdown.
Coincidentally, the veteran quarterback replaced Wentz in last season’s game against L.A., after Wentz suffered a catastrophic season-ending knee injury. If Foles and the offense can somehow manage to pull off the improbable, it will be a miracle.
2. Getting pressure on Goff
If the Eagles want to have any chance of pulling off an upset on Sunday night, it starts with applying pressure on Goff. In normal circumstances, I would say that the defense needs to contain running back Todd Gurley. But he is going to get his stats, especially after being held to 58 total yards of offense against the Bears.
Last week, Chicago’s stout defense did a great job of making the third-year quarterback uncomfortable in the pocket and forced him into multiple mistakes. They also sacked him three times and landed eight quarterback hits. It was the first time Goff has thrown that many interceptions in his career.
Therefore, the Eagles’ defensive line led by Michael Bennett must get in his face early and often because you do not want Brandin Cooks in a favorable one-on-one matchup against a laboring Sidney Jones or De’Vante Bausby.
3. Its Goedert time
In last week’s game against the Cowboys, the Eagles’ offense struggled a lot in the first half (70 yards of total offense, four first downs). However, in the second half things started to improve as they went into a lot of 12 personnel, featuring two tight ends.
While Dallas’ defense made it an emphasis to keep star tight end Zach Ertz under wrap, it allowed rookie tight end Dallas Goedert to eat. Goedert had four receptions on five targets for 44 yards and a touchdown.
Overall, he has 25 receptions on 36 targets for 254 yards and touchdowns. It is very clear that the second-round pick has a ton of talent and its time for the Eagles to make him an integral part of the offense.
They have not been using Golden Tate correctly and Nelson Agholor’s production is being affected by this. Therefore, Philly’s needs a viable third receiving option to get them through the last three games of the season.