Game Preview – PHI at LAR

Posted: October 8th, 2023 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on Game Preview – PHI at LAR

The Rams and Eagles had an interesting rivalry when it was Jared Goff against Carson Wentz. Those days are gone and now we have the old gunslinger against the young playmaker, Matthew Stafford vs Jalen Hurts.

The Rams were expected to be bad, maybe awful. Instead, they are 2-2. They have an outstanding passing attack and a serious rookie of the year candidate. The defense is overachieving and this team is finding ways to win.

It is hard to get a feel for the Rams. There is no question that they are much better than I anticipated. They beat Seattle by 17 points. They had a lead late in the 2nd quarter against the Niners. At the same time, it is hard for me to buy into the idea of this as a good team. I just don’t see enough talent. There is also a weird feel to this team. Look at Matthew Stafford. He’s third in the league in passing yards, but has a passer rating of 78.1. He’s thrown 3 TDs and 5 INTs.

Stafford still has an elite arm. He is tough as nails. Last week he took some big hits and struggled to get up at times, but stayed in the game. You could see he was hurting. He wasn’t going to leave that field, though. He desperately wanted to win.

The run game isn’t anything special. Kyren Williams is an instinctive runner, but lacks the athleticism to be a big play threat. He does have 5 TDs this season. Watch for the Rams to run the ball when they’re in the red zone.

Stafford has some talented receivers. Rookie Puka Nacua is having an amazing season, going 39-501-1. That’s an insane amount of catches for anyone, let alone a rookie. Nacua can work the slot or outside. He is fearless over the middle. He will extend for the ball and isn’t worried about getting hit. Nacua does a great job of locating the ball and adjusting to it. He has excellent hands. This isn’t a fluke. He is a legit talent who came to the perfect team for him.

Cooper Kupp will be making his season debut. You may remember that he’s kinda decent as well. Tutu Atwell stepped up in his absence and has 22 catches this year, a career high. They also have Van Jefferson in the mix. If Stafford prefers a TE, Tyler Higbee is an athletic pass catcher with 16 receptions on the year.

The OL is banged up and not great. It sounds like Alaric Jackson will be able to play at LT, but he’s not 100 percent. RG Joe Noteboom has mainly played RG this year, but was at LT last week. He’s out today.

The Rams defense is highlighted by Aaron Donald. He’s not the overwhelming force he was a couple of years ago, but he is still a highly disruptive force. They moved him around a lot last week. That makes it tough for the offense to focus on him at one spot. He leads the team with 2.5 sacks. Edge Byron Young leads the team with 8 QB hits.

LB Ernest Jones is the leading tackler. He is a solid defender over the middle. He isn’t anything special, but can make some plays. He’s got 5 TFLs, 1 sack and 1 PD.

Nobody in the Rams secondary stood out when I watched them. Safety Jordan Fuller leads the team with 2 FF. Those are the team’s only FFs. They have 1 INT. The Rams don’t feast on takeaways.

PK Brett Maher is 12 for 16 on FGs this year. He has a strong leg, but missed a pair of FGs last week.


The Rams are one of those teams where “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts”. At least for now. Give Sean McVay and his coaching staff credit for getting this group to play together and winning. One of the keys is being good at situational football.

  • 8th in 3rd down percentage on offense
  • 4th in 4th down percentage on offense
  • 9th in red zone percentage on offense
  • 2nd in 3rd down percentage on defense

That will help you win games.

The LA offense isn’t a good matchup for Sean Desai’s defense. The Rams love to throw the ball over the middle. Stafford has the arm strength and touch to put the ball in some tough spots. You can have pretty good coverage and he’ll still burn you. Kupp and Nacua are outstanding over the middle. They are also great route-runners and can give the secondary fits.

We don’t know if Roby will start, but he will certainly play. If you go with him in the slot and Slay/Bradberry outside, that is a good trio of veteran DBs who should be able to handle some of what the Rams throw at them.

Getting Justin Evans back at safety is big. Terrell Edmunds really struggled last week.

LBs Zach Cunningham and Nick Morrow aren’t good in coverage. With that in mind, I wonder if Desai will blitz them more this week. The Rams didn’t seem to handle the blitz well last week.

The real key to this game is for the Eagles pass rush to affect Stafford. He doesn’t want to dink and dunk. That means the rushers should have a chance to get to him. Fletcher Cox will miss the game, but the Eagles have enough depth to make up for that. Jalen Carter and Milton Williams will get a lot of playing time. Rookie Moro Ojomo should make his NFL debut. Josh Sweat needs to come up big since he’s going against a hurt LT.

I fully expect the Eagles offense to score points. Sua Opeta will be the RG and I’m sure Donald will test him a lot. Opeta has been solid when he’s played over the years. The Eagles will help him out.

The Rams are vulnerable to the run. I think this would be a good week to feed the ball to D’Andre Swift and Kenny Gainwell on a regular basis. At the same time, the LA corners aren’t great so there will be plays to be made in the passing game. Last week the Colts had 3 different TEs with a catch of at least 17 yards. Two of the TEs had TD catches. This could be the week that Dallas Goedert is the featured receiver in the passing game. Get him the ball down the field.

Byron Young is the kind of small rusher that has given Jordan Mailata fits in the past. Mailata will need to do a good job against him.


I think the real key in this game is for the Eagles defense to come up with some key stops. I think the offense will score points. The pass rush has to win and the DBs have to make a few plays in coverage.

This should be something like Eagles 31, Rams 23.


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