LA Rams Week 2: 3 keys to victory vs. Philadelphia Eagles
As week one concluded, the LA Rams found themselves with a share of the NFC West lead as the started off the season 1-0. The Rams did so with a good win vs. the Dallas Cowboys. But admittedly, the Rams have to clean up a few things to prepare for a tough opponent in the Philadelphia Eagles.
Even as the Rams bask in a victory, the Eagles are trying to troubleshoot a surprising opening loss. They suffered that loss in their first game to the Washington football team. While disappointing, that game isn’t indicative of the caliber of the team the Eagles project to be this year. This offseason, the injury bug hit the Eagles once again and that took a toll on the outcome of their first game.
Injuries battering the beleaguered Eagles
Today on the Eagles injury report, it appears they’ll be getting some star power back in advance for this big game. All pro offensive tackle Lane Johnson was a full participant in practice and rookie standout running back Miles Sanders was also a full participant. Even as the Eagles welcomed players back to the fold, the team placed defensive end Vinny Curry and DB Craig James on injured reserve.
The Rams have their work cut out for them this week. While still weakened by injuries, the Eagles will have much more resolve to perform well in their second game. In order to ensure a victory the team should focus on these three tactics:
I – Use the same offensive game plan as week one
If you thought the Cowboys defensive line was stout, the Eagles defensive line is even better. To take advantage of the speed and power upfront of the Cowboys line, head coach Sean McVay dialed up a plethora of RB and WR screens, play-action pass plays and utilized the ground game extremely well. By calling these plays it gives less of an opportunity for their defensive line to put pressure on quarterback Jared Goff. The game plan going in was perfect as the offense was going down the field with ease but the Rams just need to focus on finishing in the RedZone.
The only addition the Rams should look to using against the Eagles defense is getting the tight ends (Tyler Higbee, Gerald Everett) more involved. The Eagles young linebacking core struggled in coverage vs Washington’s TE Logan Thomas and he saw a ton of targets because of it from QB Dwayne Haskins. In week one, TE Higbee had just four targets. In 2019 from weeks 13 to 17, Higbee didn’t have less than eight targets a game.
II – Put the pressure on Wentz
In week one, Washington put the pressure on Eagles QB Carson Wentz, getting to him for eight total sacks and two forced fumbles. Wentz struggled with holding onto the ball for way too long and refused to throw the ball away when there wasn’t an open target.
Outside linebacker Leonard Floyd will have a tough assignment with Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson returning to action. This week will probably give the Rams defensive staff an indicator for where he is at.
Defensive tackle Aaron Donald is probably chomping at the bit to get to this game after seeing those stats Washington’s defense put up. Donald looks to be in great shape, he was tossing around all-pro guard Zack Martin around like a ragdoll. Fans should fully expect Donald to repeat his performance from vs Dallas and take advantage of the questionable guard play of the Eagles.
Also, this could be a great opportunity to get outside linebacker Jachai Polite more involved in the defense. In his one snap he had vs Dallas, he put the pressure on QB Dak Prescott and probably would have come away with a good sack had the sack but the referees missed a clear facemask penalty that should’ve been called on him.
III- Emphasize stopping the deep ball
This past week vs. Washington, Philadephia head coach Doug Pederson once again implemented another game plan with plenty of deep ball routes. It’s their calling card. The Eagles have two tight ends that cover the middle of the field. To make up for a limited number of route-running receivers, the team uses deep-threat passing plays to clear out the intermediate routes for their tight ends.
This offseason the Eagles put emphasis on getting more speed to go vertical, that is why they drafted rookie WR Jalen Reagor. Wentz and Reagor connected for a deep 55-yard pass which resulted in a field goal for the Eagles. They have a ton of speed with getting WR Desean Jackson healthy, drafting WR John Hightower and Reagor, the receiver mentioned previously.
The Rams saw only one deep ball target from the Dallas Cowboys but it won’t be the case this week, Pederson isn’t afraid to let Wentz rip the ball downfield. To counter, the Rams have the option of going with three safeties in their nickel packages.
Final thoughts and score prediction
The Rams are favored by as much as 1.5 points going into this matchup. The Eagles opened as the early favorite, but injuries combined with a sluggish performance in the opening has persuaded the betting lines to move in the direction of favoring the LA Rams.
Head coach Sean McVay is looking to get his first win against Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson and this time around on paper it seems that the Rams have a slight edge. Injuries might affect the Eagles in this one as players coming back from injury it usually takes a little bit of time to get back into the rhythm of things.
I fully expect the Eagles to have a winning season but I have the Rams coming out with the win in this one with a score of LA Rams 27 Philadelphia Eagles 24.