Week 1 is in the books for the Eagles, and may it be a game that is soon forgotten. When I first turned the game on, I was nodding with satisfaction. The Eagles went down the field and scored again and I thought, “This is about what I expected.” However, as the game went on, Carson Wentz looked more rattled, the offensive line couldn’t hold up, the defense was playing on their heels, and a full-blown meltdown was underway.
The Eagles congealed right before our eyes. Unlike the “Whoa, that was a little too close” opener we had in 2019, this one was like watching a slow death get dragged out unnecessarily long. Alas, enough about the past. It’s time to look forward, and look forward to Lane Johnson and Miles Sanders’ return to action this week. Miles Sanders (hamstring injury) has returned to practice this week, while Lane Johnson (ankle surgery) expects to be starting at tackle on Sunday. Regardless of the presence of the two on the field this coming Sunday, the Eagles surrendered eight sacks in the Week 1 loss to Washington and only managed 57 yards rushing on 17 attempts.
Realistically, we can’t expect the return of Miles Sanders to boost the ground game by leaps and bounds. It’s probably going to be tough sledding, but Sanders is the kind of talented back who can break one or two throughout the course of the game. The run blocking situation isn’t nearly as bad as it is for Saquan in New York, but let’s be clear, it’s certainly not on par with Dallas.
Week 2 Preview
As Sunday draws closer, the questions regarding the health of Miles Sanders, Lane Johnson and Derek Barnett have only increased. What we know right now is, all three have resumed practice and look to be good to go this week.
The problem I have in predicting this game comes down to the Aaron Donald factor. Though the interior line for the Eagles isn’t bad, Aaron Donald is such a force in the middle, we can expect the Rams pass rush and interior run defense to be an issue. For the Eagles to find success in this game, they’re going to have to get the ball out quickly in the passing game and work the outsides in the run game.
Defensively, the Eagles will need to be able to get pressure on Jared Goff, who has proven to be very unreliable under pressure in recent years. As for the run game, the Rams utilized a split backfield last week between two primary backs, Malcolm Brown and Cam Akers. Akers is the more versatile and talented back, but he was run into eight-man fronts most of last week.
Brown is more of a heavy bruiser (5’11, 225 lbs) but he has some juice and a better understanding of the offense. Though the homerun threat may not be there, the Eagles need to be conscious of both backs, as any slip in gap discipline can result in chunk gains.
Week 2 Prediction
I think the Eagles have the personnel to matchup in this game, but fear the Rams’ defensive front will give the Eagles fits all day. Defensively, the Eagles will likely not be able to consistently pressure Goff, which is going to give the Rams talented receiving corps the upper hand. I think the Rams turn this into a negative game script towards the end of the first half and the Eagles will be forced into some late turnovers, ultimately falling short of a comeback.
Final Score: Rams 27 Eagles 17