They certainly didn’t make it easy on themselves, but the Rams were able to get back to .500 with a win over the Colts last weekend. Los Angeles will now return to SoFi Stadium for just the second time this season to play host to the 4-0 Philadelphia Eagles. Both teams will meet after being taken to overtime by lesser opponents last weekend, and we’ll preview the game before going over which side I’ll be backing.
After being one of the best defenses in the league last season during their Super Bowl run, the Philadelphia Eagles have come out this season struggling to limit their opponent’s passing game. Through four weeks, Philadelphia is 30th in passing touchdowns allowed, 27th in passing yards allowed, and 17th in NET yards gained per passing attempt.
This inability to slow the passing attack was a big reason why the Commanders were able to force overtime last weekend in the Eagles' 34-31 win. Philadelphia would finish with a (-8.83) EPA on pass plays while allowing Sam Howell to complete 70.7% of his passes. While they’ve struggled with passing defense, the Eagles' rush defense has been phenomenal, holding opponents to an average of just 3.3 yards per attempt.
Jalen Hurts has also helped cover up some of the team’s defensive issues since he always seems to come up with a scoring drive when he needs to. Hurts led the team to a (18.21) offensive EPA last week, and now he’ll take on a Rams defense that fell apart in the second half last weekend against the Colts. After holding Indianapolis scoreless in the first half, the Rams allowed 23 second-half points, resulting in a (-5.51) EPA on that side of the ball.
Through four weeks of the season, the Rams are ranked right in the middle of the league in points allowed per game with an average of 21.3, but to get the win on Sunday, it was the combination of Matthew Stafford and Puka Nacua once again coming through. The rookie had nine catches for 163 yards with the game-winning touchdown and is a big reason why LA is 4th in the league in average yards per game.
Philadelphia is currently listed as (-4.5) point road favorites, and I’ll be backing them for my play. While the Eagles may still be trying to work things out with their pass defense, other aspects of their defense could cause a lot of trouble for Matthew Stafford and the Rams' offense. One way to limit an opponent’s passing game is by pressuring the quarterback, and the Eagles defense is leading the league in QB pressures and is 3rd in QB hurry percentage.
The Rams' worst offensive game came against the Bengals, and Stafford was sacked six times in that game. While I’m not saying I expect the Eagles to have six sacks, I do think their pressure will affect the Rams' passing game enough that Nacua can’t beat them singlehandedly.
LA’s most prominent issue on defense this season has been stopping the run, which will be a problem this weekend against an Eagles offense that is 3rd in rushing yards per attempt and 2nd in average rushing yards per game. The Rams are 16th in expected points added by their rushing defense and allow an average of 4.4 yards per carry, which will not get the job done against Jalen Hurts and D’Andre Swift.
Philadelphia Eagles (-4.5)