WHEN THE EAGLES HAVE THE BALL
The Eagles offense scored a season-low 10 points last week while totaling 425 yards – their second-highest mark this season. They'll need those points on Sunday to keep pace with the Rams' high-scoring offense. The Rams have the 15th-ranked defense (334 yards per game) and the seventh-best scoring defense (18.5 points per game).
The Rams are most vulnerable against the run, ranked 27th in the NFL with 122.8 yards allowed per game. This is a game in which the Eagles need their running back committee to shine. Jay Ajayi received his most playing time since coming to Philadelphia last week and will likely be a key part of the offense on Sunday. LeGarrette Blount and Corey Clement will continue to play roles – the Eagles are not abandoning their rotation – but don't be surprised if Ajayi looks like the Pro Bowler the Eagles acquired against the Rams. The Rams' top linebacker is Alec Ogletree, who is expected to play with an elbow injury, and converted safety Mark Barron will swarm to the ball.
The strength of the Rams defense is on the defensive line, where Aaron Donald is one of the NFL's best players. Donald has eight sacks this season as a 3-4 defensive end. Stefen Wisniewski stayed under the radar this season, which is a good place for a left guard. He'll get a lot of attention on Sunday because of his responsibility against Donald. Robert Quinn is also an accomplished pass rusher around the edge, and he'll challenge Halapoulivaati Vaitai, who struggled at left tackle last week. The Rams are missing former Eagle Connor Barwin, who will be replaced by rookie Samson Ebukam.
The offensive line needs to give Carson Wentz time, and look for Wentz to have a good game even though the Rams rank ninth in the NFL against the pass. Nelson Agholor is coming off of the best game of his career and will see Nickell Robey-Coleman in the slot. The status of tight end Zach Ertz is still in question while he recovers from a concussion. Alshon Jeffery didn't find the end zone last week for the first time since October and will be key in the red zone, where the Rams allow touchdowns 59.4 percent of the time opponents visit.
WHEN THE RAMS HAVE THE BALL
Although Jared Goff's development has been the big story in Los Angeles this season, the player to watch on Sunday is running back Todd Gurley. He's second in the NFL with 939 rushing yards, although he hasn't topped 100 yards since Oct. 22 after a scorching early-season stretch. But Gurley is also dangerous through the air. He had 84 receiving yards in last week's win over Arizona and averages 11.7 yards on passes. The Eagles need a good game from linebackers Nigel Bradham and Mychal Kendricks, who will be key against both the run and the pass. Defensive tackles Fletcher Cox and Tim Jernigan will need to clog the middle.
With first-year coach Sean McVay, the Rams have an inventive offense that spreads the ball around like the Washington teams of recent years. Goff if an accurate passer who completes 62.2 percent of his attempts and averages 8.1 yards per attempt – both superior marks to Wentz. He has 20 touchdowns and only six interceptions with a 98.4 quarterback rating, which is where Wentz has the edge. The Rams are missing Robert Woods, their most productive wide receiver. Rookie Cooper Kupp has become a reliable target in the slot and already has 51 catches. Sammy Watkins was their big preseason acquisition, and though the talented wide receiver only has 31 catches this season, he averages 17 yards per catch and leads the team with six touchdowns. Ronald Darby could see time on Watkins. The former Bills teammates played against each other in practice the last two years and were traded the same day. Tavon Austin is in the mix, but he has more carries than receptions this season. The Eagles need good center field play from safety Rodney McLeod, who started his career with the Rams.
The Rams' offensive line has improved since last season, and Goff has been sacked only 20 times in 12 games. Brandon Graham has a sack in three consecutive games and needs 1.5 sacks to reach double-digit sacks for the first time his career. He'll rush against tackle Rob Havenstein. The Eagles need to get pressure on the interior, where Cox is rushing against Jamon Brown.
The Rams have one of the NFL's best special teams unit. Both kicker Greg Zuerlein and punter Johnny Hekker are among the best at their positions. Hekker has two passes this season, and the Eagles must be aware of the possibility of a fake punt.
Both the Eagles and Rams average 30.1 points per game, tied for the top mark in the NFL. The New England Patriots rank behind them with 29 points per game. The Rams are buoyed by big scoring games. They've topped 40 points three times this season. Their scoring defense is nearly identical, too. The Eagles allow 17.9 points per game, and the Rams allow 18.5 points per game. The over-under on Sunday is 48 points.
Zach Berman: Eagles 31, Rams 27
Jeff McLane: Eagles 29, Rams 27
Les Bowen: Eagles 26, Rams 24
Paul Domowitch: Eagles 31, Rams 30