It’s Week 5 of the NFL season and the Philadelphia Eagles are set to square off with the St. Louis Rams at Lincoln Financial Field. The 1-2 Rams are fresh off their bye week after a disheartening come-from-ahead loss to our arch rival Dallas in Week 3.
But, that’s okay because we returned the favor by putting on a disastrous offensive performance and ultimately snatching defeat from the jaws of victory against their division nemesis last week.
Since we didn’t exactly help each other out by beating our division rivals, now we get to take those frustrations out on each other. Besides just wanting to win every week, both teams have other reasons why this is an important game.
The Rams are at the bottom of their division and have a tough road ahead of them. Take a look at the Rams’ next seven games: San Fran, Seattle, Kansas City, San Fran, Arizona, Denver, and San Diego.
I’m quite sure they don’t want to enter that stretch at 1-3.
The Eagles, meanwhile, share the division lead with Dallas at 3-1. However, they are also the “shakiest” 3-1 I’ve seen in a long time. I’m still not quite sure what to make of this team.
The Eagles had their confidence rattled against the 49ers. If not for the improbable scoring by the Special Teams and defense, they would have been shut out. The OL has been playing musical chairs, they can’t run the ball, Nick Foles has been erratic, and at times the play calling has been suspect.
They need this game. They need a good showing to restore confidence in themselves as well as in the fanbase. The OL needs to show improvement. LeSean McCoy needs to get his groove back. Nick Foles needs to rebound in a big way.
A win against the Rams will put them back on track for a big Sunday Night showdown with the Giants the following week before their bye.
For the Eagles offense, this matchup against the Rams pits strength against strength and weakness against weakness. The Rams’ defense ranks third against the pass and 30th against the run.
As we know, the Eagles’ run game has struggled so perhaps the return of Lane Johnson and going against a weaker run defense will help kick-start McCoy and Co. Even with Foles’ struggles last week, the Eagles’ pass offense is still ranked sixth so the Rams’ back seven will be another nice challenge for Foles and the receiving corps.
In any case, before I get even more long-winded here, I had the pleasure of doing a two-way interview with Patrick Stewart of a Rams blog titled “The Horn.” We both exchanged a question and answer segment for this week’s matchup.
You can view my answers to his questions right here.
On to the interview…
How do you think the Rams will attack the Eagles on both sides of the ball?
PS: On offense the Rams stated early in the year that they wanted to be a running football team. They would like to get the ball to Zac Stacy early and often. The problem is that the interior of the Rams line has not been able to get the push up the middle enabled Stacy to become one of the league’s most productive backs in the second half of last season.
Center Scott Wells and guard Davin Joseph are two of the league’s most unproductive players which really frustrates Rams fans who thought this would be a dominant area when Greg Robinson was selected #2 overall and was moved to guard. He has yet to see any meaningful time this year.
If it’s a close game, they should stay with the run first approach due to the inexperience of former backup QB Austin Davis. While Davis has looked pretty good in his first two starts, going on the road to Philadelphia is really going to test him.
On defense the Rams are still trying to get the pass rush going. Dubbing themselves “Sack City” and bringing in aggressive d-coordinator Gregg Williams, the Rams thought the defensive line would be a position of dominance.
They have all of 1 sack this season. Williams seems to be dialing back the pressure in an effort to keep more back in pass coverage. The biggest issue on defense is the fact that they are giving up so many yards on the ground. This must be fixed if they expect to stay in games.
Brian Quick seems to be the Rams’ new “go to guy” on offense. Is he becoming a legitimate threat that defenses must plan for?
PS: Brian Quick, drafted #33 overall in the 2012 draft out of Appalachian State, has had some growing pains as he made the leap from a playbook of option routes in college to an NFL playbook (although is Brian Schottenheimer’s offense really all that hard to pick up?).
When drafted he was compared to Vincent Jackson and Terrell Owens but played pretty minimally until this season. A big aid to his development seemed to be the addition of free agent Kenny Britt, who was seen in practice teaching Quick how to use his big frame (6-4, 209) to his advantage.
It has been a revelation this season for Quick, who leads the team with 16 rec, 325 yds, and 1 TD through three games. He is a threat.
The Rams’ defense is ranked towards the bottom of the league against the run but towards the top against the pass. Why such an imbalance?
PS: I kind of answered this in the first question, but Gregg Williams is not blitzing the linebackers as much as most of us would like. The secondary is a bit of a question mark and I think Williams is keeping them back to help with coverage. It also helps to have one of the NFL’s top pass rushers at defensive end in Robert Quinn who forces teams to keep the tight end in a blocking role.
What are your thoughts about Austin Davis and Sam Bradford’s future with the Rams?
PS: I think even if Austin Davis goes on to have an above average year, the team will still be looking to draft a QB in the first round. There is a reason he was undrafted (I know, I know, Kurt Warner), and he doesn’t have a lot of the accuracy and zip on his ball that some of the blue chippers do.
That being said, he has shown a lot in these past couple of games and I do think he has a chance to play his way into a starting role whether it be with the Rams or another team.
As far as Sam Bradford, I think he is done with the Rams. He has a $16.5 million option for the next season that the team will not pick up. I think a fresh start with a new franchise and new fan base would be the best for Bradford as the St. Louis fans have really soured on him. It will be interesting to see if he gets any looks as a starter because he really does have a nice accurate arm. He just cannot stay on the field.
Give me one bold prediction about this game and give me your final score.
PS: My prediction is that this is the game that “Sack City” breaks out for at least 5 sacks. The bye week came at a good time for the Rams and the Eagles are coming off of a tough road game at San Francisco. I like the Rams in the upset 24 – 20.
“Sack City” huh? Right now that’s a city with a population of exactly one right now!
Ha, I kid, but the Rams’ defensive front is a talented group. The Eagles’ OL will have a big challenge. The game within the game will be Robert Quinn vs. Jason Peters. That will be one good matchup to watch.
I appreciate Pat’s enthusiasm about the Rams pulling off the upset. But, I’ll respectfully disagree.
Eagles 27, Rams 20