To beat the enemy, you have to know the enemy.

Let’s take a deep dive into the Eagles’ Week 2 opponent in the Los Angeles Rams.


Draft Picks

  • R2/52: Cam Akers, RB, Florida State
  • R2/57: Van Jefferson, WR, Florida
  • R3/84: Terrell Lewis, LB, Alabama
  • R3/104: Terrell Burgess, S, Utah
  • R4/136: Brycen Hopkins, TE, Purdue
  • R6/199: Jordan Fuller, S, Ohio State
  • R7/234: Clay Johnston, LB, Baylor
  • R7/248: Sam Sloman, K, Miami (OH)
  • R7/250: Tremayne Anchrum, G, Clemson

Acquisitions/Losses

Acquired

  • A’Shawn Robinson — Detroit Lions
  • Leonard Floyd — Chicago Bears

Loss

  • Cory Littleton — Las Vegas Raiders
  • Dante Fowler Jr — Atlanta Falcons
  • Nickell Roby-Coleman — Philadelphia Eagles
  • Todd Gurley — Atlanta Falcons
  • Clay Mathews — N/A (Free Agent)
  • Greg Zuerlein — Dallas Cowboys
  • Brandin Cooks — Houston Texans
  • Eric Weddle — N/A (Retired)
Photo: Show Turf Times/SBNation

Off-Season Overview

Boy does life come at you fast. To understand how the Rams suffered such an immediate fall from grace you’d probably have to go back a few off-seasons. After hiring Sean McVay as the head coach in 2017 when the Rams hired Sean McVay away from the Washington Redskins, there was plenty of optimism surrounding the hire, little did general manager Les Snead, nor the rest of the football world know what was in store for the franchise.

After finishing 2016 with a 4-12 record the next year in McVay’s first season at the helm the team saw a significant turnaround as the team finished the year 11-5. While the season ended in the wildcard round after a loss to Atlanta, Los Angeles as a city and franchise — more importantly Les Snead (who may have saved his job with the team’s performance that season), realized the opportunity at hand heading into the 2018 season. So the team swung looking for a home run and got it (to an extent).


The team turned…

  • 2018 4th round pick & 2019 2nd round pick — Marcus Peters
  • 2018 5th round pick — Aqib Talib
  • 2018 first-round pick & 6th round pick — Brandin Cooks

*none of which remain on the team


We all remember the Dream Team in Philadelphia back in 2011 (but I’m sure we rather not). Well, the Rams were in the process of building one of their own and they would at least make it to the promised land. You see around this time 365 days ago the Los Angeles Rams were coming off a Super Bowl appearance in which they fell just short to the New England Patriots. Despite the loss, the future in Los Angeles looked brighter than ever. However, the Rams had a looming obstacle it seems no team up to this point has been able to conquer. Your franchise quarterback is coming upon the end of his rookie contract and now you have to pay him a top dollar; they did give Jared Goff a four year, $134m extension, including $110m in guarantees. There’s only so much money left to go around after paying top market value for a quarterback.

Adding in the fact that the Rams dealt away both their 2020 and 2021 first-round picks in a deal to acquire Jalen Ramsey (who still hasn’t signed an extension by the way). You’re looking at a team with limited resources in terms of the salary cap (hints the reason so many players have departed and only two were signed) and draft capital (last first-round pick was in 2016). Now heading into the 2020 season Sean McVay is once again forced to pick up the pieces of a franchise in shambles.


About the Matchup

Player to Watch

Photo: Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Rams: Aaron Donald

The Eagles’ interior offensive line will have their hands filled dealing with the Rams revamped defensive line. In a place known as the “City of Angels”, the Rams saw a blessing come their way as Michael Brockers returns after initially coming to an agreement on a 3 year, $30m deal with the Ravens, but seeing the deal fall through. The Rams also added A’Shawn Robinson from Detroit to fill in at the nose tackle position. However, the crown jewel of the entire defensive unit is a five-time first-team all-pro and two-time defensive player of the year Aaron Donald.

Coming off a season that saw him rack up 12.5 sacks and 20 tackles for loss. Which by his standards could be considered an average season given that his 20.5 sack effort in 2018 saw him finish just two sacks shy of breaking Michael Strahan’s record for sacks in a single season. For a defensive tackle that’s pretty remarkable to say the least. To get a glimpse into how dominant Donald has been over the course of his career, he’s been in the league for six seasons. During this time he has registered the five highest pass-rush grades for a defensive tackle since 2006. The only season he didn’t qualify for this feat was in 2014 as a rookie, but he walked away with the NFL’s Rookie of the Year award so it all worked out. Donald has been a model of consistency his entire career, it s a reason there’s a general consensus for him as the best defensive player in the entire league. It would be your best bet to assume this season should be no different.

Eagles: Isaac Seumalo

Meet the man protecting Carson Wentz who will more than likely be the one tasked with the job of stopping Aaron Donald. Many would consider Seumalo the Eagles’ worst offensive lineman, which isn’t a bad thing given the fact that he has been surrounded by four All-Pros and now a former first-round pick. Yet if you asked Eagles center Jason Kelce he would tell you that he’s just as good as anyone of his counterparts.

“He’s had a couple games that have been unfortunate,” Kelce said. “One game when we played Kansas City his second year in the NFL when he was first starting. He was playing a guy that nobody knew at the time (Chris Jones), but the d-tackle ended up being second in the NFL in sacks (in 2018), so it wasn’t like he was playing against a scrub. And then last year he had one game (vs. the Falcons) that kind of gave him some fits. But outside of that, he was as solid as any guard in the NFL. So I’ve been really happy to watch him go out and prove to all of you guys and everybody else who doesn’t get the opportunity to see how good he is on a daily basis that he’s one of the premier guards in this league.”

It seems like Kelce isn’t the only one who believes in Seumalo as the Eagles gave him a three year, $15.9m contract prior to the start of the 2019 season. The 26-year-old rewarded the team by starting in all 16 games and not missing a snap for the first time in his career. He’s smart, he’s athletic, he’s strong. The only question with him has ever been staying healthy, and he’s done that for the last couple years, so I’m really happy with where Isaac’s at physically, he’s a great asset for us. Not only are we not worried about him, but we’re also going to be leaning on him to be the unbelievable player that he is” Kelce reiterated. It may be a steep hill to climb, going up against arguably the best the league has to offer. However, in week two this will provide Seumalo the opportunity the prove Kelce and the Eagles right.

Photo: EA Sports

Matchup of the Game: Carson Wentz vs. Jared Goff

Any time you discuss a matchup between the Eagles and the Rams, odds are one of the first things that you’d probably end up mentioning is the 2016 NFL Draft. More importantly, comparing the career trajectory of Jared Goff and Carson Wentz. As we know both teams traded up from their respective positions in the draft to ensure they would be able to grab their preferred signal-caller of the future. Of course with the first pick, the Rams took Goff, which ultimately led to Wentz becoming an Eagle. Both have had the opportunity to be surrounded by high-quality coaching staff which has led to significant strides in their development. In 2017 both quarterbacks “took the leap” leading their teams to divisional titles and eventual playoff appearances *Wentz suffered an ACL tear during the first matchup between the two in late 2017 (43-35 Eagles victory)*. The two performed so well that both respective teams gave their quarterbacks extensions.


Taking a look at how the two have compared to one another over the course of their four-year careers.

Jared Goff

  • W-L Record: 33-21
  • Career Passing Yards–Comp%: 14,21962.4%
  • Career Touchdowns–%: 87–4.7%
  • Career Interceptions–%: 42–2.2%
  • Career Passer Rating–QBR: 91.9%–45.7%
  • Career GWD–4Q Comeback: 6–7
  • Best Season: 2018

Carson Wentz

  • W-L Record: 32-24
  • Career Passing Yards–Comp%: 14,191–63.8%
  • Career Touchdowns–%: 97–4.7%
  • Career Interceptions–%: 35–1.7%
  • Career Passer Rating–QBR: 92.7%–47.1%
  • Career GWD–4Q Comeback: 4–8
  • Best Season: 2017 *DNF*

While the two will always be tied together being the first two quarterbacks/players selected in the 2016 NFL Draft. It makes sense that opinions vary when it comes to deciding the two. Eagles fans will take Wentz; Rams fans will take Goff. However, the fact of the matter is both teams got franchise quarterback quality players who are capable of running their respective teams’ systems to perfection when given the opportunity.

Even the statistics are fairly even for the most part. While Wentz has an MVP caliber season to his name and Goff as a trip to the Super Bowl in his, with many meetings such as the week two matchup in Philadelphia left, you can tell the story behind this rivalry is just getting started.

Photo: Jayne Kanin-Oncea/USA Today Sports

Game Overview

Despite the storyline behind Wentz and Goff, this matchup will come down to the same thing it always has. Can Sean McVay figure out what it takes to topple a Jim Schwartz led defense and if/when he does will his defense be able to get a stop? Easier said than done with a depleted roster, a first-time defensive coordinator, not to mention starting life without Todd Gurley; which arguably started back in late 2018 but now becomes a reality. Sean McVay and the Rams offense will look to use their new RBBC system (running backs by committee) to fill the void left by the former NFL Offensive Player of the Year, but will this be enough to increase their odds in week 2? Still, the Rams’ offense can be dangerous with Robert Woods, Josh Reynolds, Cooper Kupp, and Van Jefferson manning the wide receiver position, this will provide a great early test for the new-look Eagles secondary. Still the Rams offense

As far as the defensive side of the ball, this will be the first time the Eagles get to see Jalen Ramsey since trying to acquire him prior to him being traded to the Rams last season. Expect the Eagles to utilize Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert early and often as the Rams unproven linebackers will have their hands filled with the best tight end tandem in the league wreaking havoc across the middle of the field. As long as the Eagles are able to keep Wentz on his feet and Aaron Donald away from him, the Eagles have a good chance of walking away with the victory. As it stands right now, Sean McVay is 0-2 in matchups against Doug Pederson as head coaches.


Though this will only be the second career meeting between Carson Wentz and Jared Goff, as Wentz missed the 2018 meeting with a back injury that sidelined him for the duration of the season.

While Wentz didn’t finish the first matchup back in 2017, he technically has bragging rights as he was having the better statistical game of the two, which includes the four touchdowns and 291 yards he amassed prior to exiting the contest. The Eagles were also up 31-28 as Wentz threw a touchdown pass to take the lead on his final play of the game.


You can expect Lincoln Financial Field to be rocking on September 20 at 1:00 as the Eagles look to end their home opener on a high note.

Featured Image: Robert Hanashiro/USA Today Sports
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