Know Your Eagles Enemy: The Los Angeles Rams

NFL: NOV 10 Rams at Steelers
PITTSBURGH, PA – NOVEMBER 10: Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald (99) looks on during the NFL football game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Pittsburgh Steelers on November 10, 2019 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire)

The Eagles were sent crashing back down to Earth after allowing Washington to score 27 unanswered points in week one. The Rams pose a very similar threat if things don’t change for the Birds soon, but does Philadelphia have an edge?

The Rams are coming off a win over the Dallas Cowboys. We thank you, Rams. In that win, Jared Goff threw for 275 yards and one interception. They ran for 153 yards, with Malcolm Brown leading the way with 79 yards and two touchdowns. Robert Woods led the receivers with six receptions for 105 yards. No other player broke 40 yards.

Defensively, the Rams gave up 380 yards to Dallas, which included 136 rushing yards. Dallas averaged 5.0 yards per attempt.

Before diving deeper into the matchup, let’s check out last year’s ranks and their offseason:

2019 Ranks
  • Yards per game: 374.9 (7th)
  • Passing yards per game: 281.2 (4th)
  • Rushing yards per game: 93.7 (26th)
  • Points per game: 24.6 (11th)
  • Yards allowed per game: 339.6 (13th)
  • Passing yards allowed per game: 226.6 (12th)
  • Rushing yards allowed per game: 113.1 (19th)
  • Points allowed per game: 22.8 (17th)
  • Turnover differential: 0 (T-15th)
Key additions

LB Leonard Floyd (free agency), DT A’Shawn Robinson (free agency), OC Kevin O’Connell (Washington), RB Cam Akers (draft)

Key departures

RB Todd Gurley (released), LB Clay Matthews (released), LB Dante Fowler Jr. (free agency), CB Nickell Robey-Coleman (free agency), WR Brandin Cooks (trade), LB Cory Littleton (free agency)

The Eagles’ Kelly Green: Aaron Donald’s Kryptonite?

Aaron Donald has been in the league since 2014. He is tied for the 7th most sacks in a player’s first six seasons in league history with 72.

Of those 72 sacks, zero have come against the Eagles.

He has the 30th most tackles in a defensive tackle’s first six years.

Of those 312 tackles, five have come against the Eagles.

Since tackles for loss were recorded on Pro Football Reference in 1999, Donald has the second most TFL among any player.

Of those 117 TFL, one has come against the Eagles.

Since QB hits were recorded on Pro Football Reference in 2006, Donald has the second most QB hits.

Of those 173 QB hits, five have come against the Eagles

Donald has faced the Eagles three times. He has faced Jason Kelce in two of those matchups, with David Molk being the C in the first match up.

Jason Kelce is still here, but his guard mates are different. Isaac Seumalo and (probably) Nate Herbig will have to perform the way Brandon Brooks and Stefen Wisniewski did the previous two showdowns.

Of course, this is an extremely small sample size and the first game Donald played against the Eagles was in his rookie year where he only played 36% of the snaps.

He already looks like an entirely different animal this season, and that could spell doom for the Eagles’ hobbled offensive line.

Matchup to watch

There’s a myriad of options I can go for this one: Goff vs Nickell Robey-Coleman, Wentz vs Ramsey, Donald vs Kelce, but the one that I believe will be the key to the game is Zach Ertz & Dallas Goedert vs the Rams’ linebackers.

Recently on Flippin’ The Birds, the very amazing podcast you should be listening to, Rams reporter Joe McAtee from Beyond The Horns joined me and Bryan to discuss the upcoming match up. When asked about the match up to watch, he agreed with my sentiment and said, other than Wentz, the Rams linebackers will need to shut down Zach Ertz:

If I had to pick one [player to focus on] it would be Zach Ertz. We talked about the linebackers being soft and that’s where the Cowboys attacked. They worked the middle of the field… That’s the softest part of the Rams’ defense, right in the middle.

The quartet of Samson Ebukam, Leonard Floyd, Micah Kiser, and Troy Reeder have combined for 438 tackles in 179 combined games, an average of 2.45 tackles per game.

Watch for Ertz to get back on track while Goedert continues his climb to the top ranks of the league’s tight ends.

For a brief history of the two teams and a prediction, check out the next page.

Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire