The Eagles’ Week 1 head scratcher is in the rear-view mirror.
Here’s the good news as we look forward to Week 2 versus the Rams: Eagles head coach Doug Pederson is 4-0 in home openers. The Birds have won six in a row against the Rams including the most recent wins coming on the road in 2017 and 2018. Of course, 2017 is the game Carson Wentz got knocked out in that led to Nick Foles saving the day en route to a Super Bowl title.
Per PointsBet, the Eagles opened up as 3.5-point favorites against the Rams before that number swung in L.A.’s direction, favoring them by 1.5-points. Now as we await kickoff, the Birds are back to 1.5-point favorites with an over/under at 45.5. Last week the Rams opened as underdogs to the Cowboys before the line shifted to the Rams as 1-point favorites before kickoff. Under Pederson, the Eagles are 2-2 against the spread (ATS) in home openers. In the last 15 meetings the Rams have been anything but ram tough against the Birds. Philly is 12-2-1 ATS in those matchups.
A lot of talk always seems to focus on the difficulty West Coast teams have when flying east. The Rams have debunked that theory going 6-1 straight up (5-2 ATS) in the early games on the road dating back to 2017, Jared Goff’s second season. This includes games in both the Eastern and Central time zones. As for just early games in the Eastern time zone since 2017, the Rams are 4-0 straight up and against the spread.
Goff and Carson Wentz will forever be linked as they were the top two players selected in the 2016 draft. Goff is 0-2 in his career against the Eagles while Wentz has only faced the Rams once, in the aforementioned 2017 contest. Goff’s over/under on passing yards is listed at 270.5 yards while Wentz is at 257.5. In 2019, Goff threw for a shade under 300 yards per game in eight road contests, whereas Wentz threw for a little over 264 YPG at Lincoln Financial Field.
Wentz will have some of his support cast back for Week 2, starting with running back Miles Sanders. In last week’s opener at Washington, the Eagles run game was basically non-existent totaling just 57 rushing yards. Sanders should provide a spark. His over/under on rushing yards is 55.5 yards. In 2019, Sanders eclipsed that mark in five of the Eagles last seven games including the playoff loss to Seattle. His receiving yards number is listed at 22.5.
Looking at Wentz’s receiving targets, tight end Dallas Goedert is hoping to build off his 8 receptions and 101 receiving yards effort from last Sunday. His over/under is set at 42.5. Zach Ertz has an over/under of 46.5 yards. Last week he only had 3 receptions for 18 yards with a key drop late in the game. It’s also worth noting both Goedert and Ertz did score versus the Washington Football Team. Meanwhile, DeSean Jackson’s number is at 41.5 while rookie Jalen Reagor is 35.5. Then, there’s that Aaron Donald guy, whose pass rush will certainly affect the Eagles throwing game and determine just how productive the offense will be in Week 2. Fortunately for Wentz, Lane Johnson is coming back to help bolster a battered and depleted Birds offensive line.
Lining up on the other side, the Eagles are faced with dealing with the wide receiving tandem of Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. Woods’ over/under on receiving yards is 67.5 and Kupp is at 61.5. Last week, Woods racked up 105 yards while Kupp was held to 40. We shall see this weekend if the Eagles secondary can replicate their Week 1 performance in which they held Washington’s Terry McLaurin to just 61 receiving yards.
So, the Eagles head into Sunday’s game in what I wouldn’t say is a must win but it’s pretty close. The schedule isn’t getting easier and top draft pick Joe Burrow and the Bengals will have extra rest in Week 3 coming off a Thursday night game. For now the message for the Birds is simple: “Beat LA”!