The Dallas Cowboys plunged a sizable dagger into the hearts of the Eagles playoff hopes last week, but there is still hope. The bad news is, the Eagles have to somehow overthrow the Rams in primetime without their franchise quarterback. We are now 20.5/60 on bold predictions on the season, leading us to ask one question. ‘Can they get the job done?’ Here are five bold predictions ahead of tonight’s matchup.
The return of Nick Foles:
It was in this matchup one year ago that the fate of the Philadelphia Eagles would change forever. When Carson Wentz went down with a leg injury, Nick Foles was forced into the game to somehow claw out a win against the red-hot L.A. Rams. Of course, we all know what happened next.
Things are a little different this time around however, as an injury ravaged Eagles team limp into Los Angeles to try and keep their playoff hopes alive after suffering a heartbreaking loss to Dallas. They will also do so without Carson Wentz, meaning it will be Nick Foles against that Rams defense once more.
However, the Eagles simplify the offense when Nick Foles is in the fray, which may actually benefit a struggling unit more than you might think. If Foles can play keep away and stop the Rams dominating time of possession as they do so very well, then the Eagles may, just may have a chance at doing the unthinkable again.
My first bold prediction is for Foles to throw 2 touchdowns, no interceptions and over 250 yards.
The linebacker who talked the talk may have put together his best career game last week and it’s going to take a similar performance against the Rams if the Eagles are to hang around in this matchup. Todd Gurley has developed into a tormenting dual-threat back who can pound the ball up the gut just as effectively as he can catch out of the backfield. Tackling has long been a problem for this defense, but Grungier-Hill is among the strongest on the team and will be called upon to try and somehow smother a Gurley fire.
My second bold prediction is for Kamu Grugier-Hill to record 8 tackles and a pass defense in tonight’s matchup, fueling the defense in key drives and being a key cog in forcing the Rams into some uncharacteristic three and out’s.
Fighting fire with fire:
By now, we all know just how fun the Rams offense is to watch but a lot of that joy comes form how balanced it can be. Todd Gurley is a remarkable talent and when Jared Goff doesn’t have to throw 40 times in a game, things understandably flow much faster. With Nick Foles making his first start since Super Bowl 52, it’s easy to assume that the Eagles will try to keep the weight off his shoulders and try to find success on the ground.
Enter Josh Adams, a running back who has a longest rushing attempt of at least 18 yards in EACH of his last six games. The Eagles are far more dangerous when Adams is on the field and able to pick up valuable yards on second down, but the Birds opted to take him out of the game after a scintillating start last week. They can’t let that happen again this week if they don’t want a repeat of the Saints demolition job.
Thirdly. I predict Adams will rush for at least 80 yards and a touchdown on 16+ attempts.
A true underdog:
No Derek Barnett, no Josh Sweat and Michael Bennett is questionable. The Eagles are running low on pass-rushing talent, but they did just sign former Texas A&M Product Daeshon Hall. He hasn’t had a plethora of NFL experience, playing in just one game for the Panthers last year, but Hall clearly still has upside.
The former third-round pick totaled 158 tackles and 14 sacks during his career with the Aggies and maybe a change of scenery is all he really needs to find his footing. The opportunity has never been greater.
Penultimately, I predict that Hall will not only see the field on Sunday night, but record his first ever NFL sack.
Cooking up a treat:
Brandin Cooks is having himself an incredible season. He’s already passed the 1,000 yard mark, has 3 touchdowns on the year and recorded three consecutive weeks of at least 100+ receiving yards between games 9-11. He now faces a completely banged up secondary and most likely a matchup against Rasul Douglas, who has no option but to put the corners on his back just one week removed from putting the weight of an unlucky bounce that lost them the game on his shoulders.
But as you all know, the Hill I am here to die on belongs to Rasul Douglas. The ballhawking tendencies have shone through heavily in recent weeks and his tackling form has gone through the roof, but will it be enough to stop Cooks?
Finally, I’m predicting that the answer to the above is…yes. Douglas has a considerable height advantage and if the inaccuracy issues faced by Jared Goff continue, I’m predicting another interception for Douglas and the holding of Cooks to under 100 receiving yards and no touchdowns.
What are your predictions for today’s game? Let me know in the comments!
Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports