ONE win and we’re in the playoffs, because we’d clinch the division. Getting the win this week will help set-up a first round bye, and help us chase home-field advantage throughout. So unlike last week, there is sharp-edged motivation for winning this game.
This game is between the number one and number two scoring teams in the league. Both are average 30.1 points per game. So it should be a shootout, right? Pump the brakes. The devil is in the details. And it’s details we need to concern ourselves with.
So let’s talk about the Four Things we need to focus on this week versus the Rams:
1) RUN. THE. BALL: The Rams are 27th in the NFL against the run. Like the Redskins, they play an attacking 3-4 defense (meaning that the OLB’s are primary pass rushers). Neither of their starters at OLB will play this week. They also feature two ILB’s who are undersized and so beat up, that neither has practiced so far this week. The Rams have sucked versus the run with their starters in. They can’t much better with back-ups playing.
2) Man Coverage underneath: OLB’s Nigel Bradham and Mychal Kendricks need to be RB Todd Gurley’s shadow, on routes out of the backfield. He’s already integral to the Rams passing attack, and they’ll likely be missing their leader in receiving yards, which only increases Gurley’s importance this week. Taking him away, makes life harder on the Rams passing attack overall.
3) Get some help: The presence of LT Halapoulivaati Vaitai has all but removed the deep ball from our arsenal. Watching him get beat repeatedly on outside-in moves, has gotten old as fuck. Flanking him with a TE who repeatedly chip-blocks, would give him a chance to see an outside-in move unfolding, and help him hold the corner. Then we can get back to calling an aggressive game again.
4) Use brute force: Attacking the “A” gaps (on either side of the Center), will ruin any pocket before it starts, and cause traffic jams for the run. Rams QB Jared Goff isn’t the most mobile fella, so let’s see if we can get him throwing on the run and off his back foot. We could use a few turnovers this week.
If we do all these things, we’re just about guaranteed to win. Now that we’ve covered what should happen, let’s get into what likely will happen:
While we’ve been dealing with a snowballing injury bug, the Rams have been dealing with a sudden rush of them. The result is a sudden bunch of fill-ins, mostly on defense, hoping they don’t make a mistake. That being said, we have to force them, and bait them into making mistakes. Shouldn’t be too hard. Especially considering how raw their depth is. Advantage Eagles.
The Rams haven’t scored more than 20 points in a loss this year. That’s because they’re heavily dependent on Todd Gurley for production. Problem is, if a team has to play catch-up, they can’t really run their offense through a RB. Falling behind would effectively force them to surrender their best weapon. As it did in 2 of their 3 losses this year.
We’re going to take Gurley away from the Rams because that’s what we do. We make teams one-dimensional, and then we close in on their QB. Unlike last week, the QB being served up to us this week, has the mobility of a ceiling fan. Advantage Eagles.
PREDICTION: EAGLES 28 – Rams 17