LA Rams (1-0) at Philadelphia (0-1)
When: Sunday, September 20th, 2020
Where: Lincoln Financial Field,
Time: 1:00 ET | TV: FOX
Opening Odds: Philadelphia -4/49
It’s not impossible for a team to start 0-2 and make the playoffs, but you sure don’t want to dig yourself that hole and have to go on a run. That’s what half the teams are looking at this week including the Philadelphia Eagles, who host the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday afternoon at an empty Lincoln Financial Field. Sunday’s matchup is the first featuring both Carson Wentz and Jared Goff since Wentz sustained an ACL tear against Los Angeles in 2017. Philadelphia heads into its home opener with a healthy Wentz, but the injury-plagued offensive line had a tough time keeping him upright in a disappointing Week 1 loss. After building a 17-0 lead in the first half at Washington, the Eagles were outscored 20-0 in a second half of a 27-17 setback that included two turnovers and a missed field goal. We mentioned the O-Line. Well, the unit was missing starters Lane Johnson (ankle), Brandon Brooks (Achilles) and Andre Dillard (biceps). That led to eight sacks by Washington. Brooks and Dillard are on injured reserve, but Johnson returned to practice on Wednesday. The Eagles also saw running back Miles Sanders come back to practice after missing the opener with a hamstring injury.
Los Angeles comes into Philadelphia with a full-strength defensive line built around five-time All-Pro Aaron Donald that could pose the same problems Washington did. The Rams defeated Dallas 20-17 thanks to running back Malcolm Brown’s two rushing touchdowns and wide receiver Robert Woods’ 105 yards on six catches. Donald recorded a sack and four quarterback hits against the Cowboys. It’s the first meeting between the teams since late in the 2018 season, a 30-23 Eagles victory at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. Nick Foles was under center in that one in place of an injured Carson Wentz. Goff threw for 339 yards for the Rams on 53 pass attempts and didn’t record a touchdown while throwing one interception. This is the first meeting in Philadelphia since 2014 and Philly is on a six-game straight up and ATS winning streak in the series, while the total has gone over in four straight matchups.
The Rams were the beneficiaries of a very questionable offensive pass interference call late on Cowboys receiver Michael Gallup in Sunday’s victory. If the call went the correct way, the Cowboys are at least in good field goal position to tie if not win. Of course, Dallas elected to go for it on 4th down late in the final quarter instead of kicking an easy field goal to tie the game. The Rams were 9-for-17 on third-down conversions, which led them to dominate time of possession and wear down the Cowboys defense. Brown rushed for 79 yards while largely sharing carries with rookie Cam Akers. Goff threw for 275 yards with an interception, but most importantly, the Rams escaped the opener pretty healthy. They are just 5-12-1 ATS in their past 18 as underdogs, but 6-3-1 ATS in their last 10 games overall.
Wentz managed to throw for 270 yards and two scores around being sacked eight times, but was picked off twice. Hopefully Wentz will have Sanders in the backfield this week, but if not, Boston Scott will probably be used as their top option. Wentz’s favorite target last week was tight end Dallas Goedert, who reeled in a touchdown and 101 yards. The Eagles face a rash of injuries on the defensive line as well with Brandon Graham (concussion protocol) and Javon Hargrave (pectoral) both questionable, and Vinny Curry (hamstring) out. They are likely to get Derek Barnett back from a hamstring injury, though. The under is 7-0 in the Eagles’ last seven home games.
I don’t know how this Philly offensive line is going to stop Darnold and company from getting to Wentz multiple times. This is going to force the QB into several mistakes and ultimately cost them the game. The Eagles don’t play well in September, and I think that trend continues in Week 2.
Pick: Rams +1
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