Les Bowen: I think this is the week we find out what the ceiling is for the 2017 Eagles. They’ll almost certainly make the playoffs even if they lose, but the nine-game win streak that ended last Sunday raised expectations well beyond getting to the postseason.
A loss in this game and an 0-2 Western trip would tell us that they are not likely to beat playoff-caliber teams on the road, and it would significantly harm their chances of getting homefield advantage.
I see Carson Wentz bouncing back from last week’s mistakes. I see the Eagles running the ball effectively, and then throwing it off that. But I also see another multifaceted offense, much like Seattle’s. There’s no chasing Russell Wilson as he buys time this week, but there is an excellent deep passing game and something the Seahawks lacked — a really excellent run game. Very hard to shut down both. But I think we’ll see desperation and resolve from the Eagles.
Prediction: Eagles 26, Rams 24
Paul Domowitch: The Eagles are starting to get sloppy with turnovers and penalties, and that concerns me. Their coach complained about the poor focus in practice leading up to the Seattle game, and I’m not sure staying in a hotel for a week and practicing on a baseball field is the best way to regain that focus.
That said, I’m picking the Eagles for two reasons: the Rams’ run defense and the Eagles’ run defense.
I think they’ll be able to run the ball on the Rams’ 27th-ranked run defense and I think the Eagles will be able to do a reasonable job of containing Todd Gurley.
Then Jake Elliott will boot a 56-yarder at the gun to win it.
Prediction: Eagles 31, Rams 30
Jeff McLane: On the surface, there are several similarities between the 10-2 Eagles and 9-3 Rams.
Each team has a first-time offensive-minded head coach, a second-year quarterback who was drafted high and is blossoming in Year 2, an old-school defensive wizard with a strong line, and a diverse set of skill position weapons on offense. The schemes on both sides of the ball are different, but the most significant difference is at running back.
The Eagles employ a by-committee approach with LeGarrette Blount, Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement, while the Rams rely on Todd Gurley (223 carries) as their workhorse. Gurley isn’t just a threat on the ground. He’s second on the team with 48 catches and averages an impressive 11.7 yards per catch. Linebackers Nigel Bradham and Mychal Kendricks will be tasked with slowing Gurley.
On the other side of the ball, guard Stefen Wisniewski will have his hands full with three-technique defensive tackle Aaron Donald. The same could be said of Rams guard Jamon Brown, who will contend with Fletcher Cox.
The teams are otherwise evenly-matched, but if I were to give the Eagles the edge it would be at quarterback. Jared Goff has taken a tremendous leap this season, but Carson Wentz can take over games with his athleticism. I think he bounces back from a subpar performance in Seattle.
Prediction: Eagles 29, Rams 27
Zach Berman: My guess is this feels like a neutral-field game or a home game more than the raucous environment the Eagles entered last week. That could make it easier for Carson Wentz at the line of scrimmage, and they should have a better chance for a balanced offense against a run defense that ranks 27th in the NFL.
The concern with the Rams defense is their pass rush, and the offensive line must be up for the challenge – especially against Aaron Donald and Robert Quinn. But I think the Eagles will move the ball on the Rams and find the end zone more than last week. Look for Wentz to bounce back in a big way.
On defense, the focus must be on stopping Todd Gurley. He’s the player in the spotlight – not quarterback Jared Goff. Gurley can also hurt as a pass catcher, and the linebackers will be key in containing him. The Eagles must limit the deep ball, and I think former Ram Rodney McLeod will help in that area. This will be a good game for the Eagles’ interior pass rush – Fletcher Cox must have a statement game Sunday. The Rams also have especially strong special teams, so this is an important week for Eagles’ special-teams coach Dave Fipp’s unit. I didn’t like the matchup in Seattle that much, but I think the Eagles have the better quarterback on Sunday and it’ll show at the end.
Prediction: Eagles 31, Rams 27
Get insights on the Eagles delivered straight to your inbox with Early Birds, beat writer Zach Berman’s newsletter for Eagles fans. Click here to sign up.