Los Angeles, California –
The Philadelphia Eagles travel to Los Angeles to take on the Rams. The Rams are looking forward to the playoffs and fighting for a win to help lock up the #1 seed in the NFC, while the Eagles are looking for a win to keep their season alive. A win against the 11-2 Rams would be a huge momentum swing for the Eagles, especially after a heartbreaking loss to the Dallas Cowboys last week. Here’s what to watch for in this matchup:
1 – St. Nick Foles: Can Nick Foles capitalize on the success he enjoyed last season during the Eagles run to the Super Bowl? Foles was named the starter this week after Carson Wentz was ruled out due to a stress fracture in his back. Foles faces a daunting task against the Rams defense, led by Aaron Donald. Foles was able to lead the Eagles last season following a torn ACL by Wentz and led them all the way to a victory over the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. Does he have some Christmas magic left, or will the Rams dominant defense beat up on Foles?
2 – Todd Gurley: The Rams boast arguably the best running back in the league in Todd Gurley. This season, Gurley has rushed for 1,203 yards and 15 touchdowns. He is a strong, elusive back that hits holes hard and gains big chunks of yardage with every rush. He is also a dynamic pass-catching back as he has 504 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns. The Eagles need to shut him down quickly and efficiently. Ezekiel Elliot had a productive game last week against the Eagles defense and they can’t let Gurley gain leverage.
3 – Josh Adams: After rushing the ball for 22 and 20 carries in weeks 12 and 13, the Eagles dropped Josh Adams’s touches to just seven against the Cowboys. The Eagles lead back looked promising on the first drive; however, he just wasn’t as impactful as he could have been with limited carries the rest of the game. With Wentz being out, will the Eagles look to rush more to take pressure off Foles by rushing more often? Adams will be extremely vital in the Eagles offensive success against the Rams.
4 – Rams wide receivers vs. Eagles secondary: The Eagles were bitten by the injury bug badly this season, especially on defense. The Eagles secondary has been decimated by injuries and they face no easy test this week against Jared Goff and the Rams offense. The Rams feature two 1,000 yard receivers in Brandon Cooks and Robert Woods and the Rams also feature Todd Gurley in an intricate way in the passing game. The Eagles corners will need to shut down these talented wide receivers and eliminate the deep ball.
5 – Eagles wide receivers: Who will step up for the Eagles? While tight end Zach Ertz has 1,016 receiving yards, no one else has more than 600 yards receiving. The Eagles need to get the ball into the hands of players who can make a big impact like Golden Tate and Alshon Jeffery. Foles doesn’t have the connection with Ertz that Wentz had, but Foles has tremendous talent and the ability to create plays. The Eagles will find success if they are able to spread the ball around and get multiple wide receivers involved.
Tune in to NBC at 8:20 pm for Sunday Night Football. You can also follow the action and join the conversation as we live tweet on Twitter: @BirdsInformer during the game.