Eagles-Rams Preview

Saturday, September 6, 2008 ·

As rain pours down on the Delaware Valley, hopes that are the rain will wash away a stench of an 8-8 season from our beloved Eagles. The Eagles begin their 76th season with a home game against the St. Louis Rams. The Rams, coming off a dreadful 3-13 season of their own, are in a rebuilding phase, and expect to compete for a top 10 draft pick coming in April. However, in the NFL, anything can happen. The Eagles are favored by seven and a half, but which Eagles will show up? The team that has shown flashes of dominance, or a team that plays down to their opponents? Under Head Coach Andy Reid, the Eagles are 3-6 in season openers and aren’t very good in September and October. This season, the Eagles will need a fast start to be competitive in the NFC this season. A big win over the Rams will give the Birds momentum going into Dallas next Monday night. Let’s take a look at the matchups:

Eagles’ Offense vs. Rams Defense
Brian Westbrook will have to be the main weapon with Kevin Curtis out, and Reggie Brown expected to miss the game. However, the field conditions may neutralize Westbrook. Correll Buckhalter and Tony Hunt will have to step up if the game turns into a slop-fest. Donovan McNabb is healthy and so is TE L.J. Smith. If these two can get into a rhythm, look for the Rams defense to open up and allow the run. Desean Jackson is getting his first start at wide receiver and will try to use his speed to open up the Rams defense even more. The Rams defense was pitiful last year (ranked 22nd in the NFL), and allowed 27.4 points per game. Their big addition was Virginia DL Chris Long. The defensive line has some solid players in Long, Leonard Little & La’Roi Glover, but little else at linebacker and in the secondary. If the Eagles can expose the Rams’ weaknesses, they should have an easy day.
Advantage: Eagles Offense

Rams’ Offense vs. Eagles’ Defense
The Rams boast QB Marc Bulger and former all-pro WR Torry Holt. HB Steven Jackson continues to be a workhorse for the Rams, quietly gaining over 1000 yards for the third straight season. Jackson is a powerback who will look to pound the ball against the Eagles’ front seven. However, the Rams’ offensive line is not as good as it used to be and can be penetrated. CBs Asante Samuel and Sheldon Brown have the task to shut down Holt and Drew Bennett, and it will be interesting to see how they do as a tandem, with Lito Sheppard playing the nickel. If the Eagles can penetrate the Rams’ offensive line, they will put pressure on Bulger and force him to make bad passes.
Advantage: (Slight) Eagles Defense

Special Teams
St. Louis has former all-pro KR Dante Hall returning kicks while the Eagles counter with KR Quentin Demps and PR Desean Jackson. Both Eagles returners had strong showings in the preseason. David Akers has one of the best accuracies in NFL history for field goals. Sav Rocca has vastly improved his inconsistent punting. The Rams have K Josh Brown, who is solid, and have P Donnie Jones, who is on his third team in four seasons.

Advantage: Eagles Special Teams

Keys to the Game for the Eagles:
1. Penetrate the Rams’ offensive line
2. Get on the scoreboard early and control the clock
3. Do not let the Rams hang around in the late stages of the game

Prediction: Eagles 24, Rams 13

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We Hate to Lose began in October 2007. The initial purpose of the website was to provide news updates and commentary on all four major sports teams in Philadelphia. Because of time-constraints, in April of 2009, I decided to post only on my first-love, the Philadelphia Phillies.

My name is Justin Evans and I hope you enjoy the site.

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