Last February, the Eagles’ Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots was a triumphant breakthrough for long-suffering Eagles fans. In the wake of their historic playoff run behind unlikely backup-turned-starter Nick Foles, most pundits figured the Eagles would be among the NFC elite again this season, with starting quarterback Carson Wentz returning to form.
Fast-forward to 2018, and the Eagles haven’t flown much. Their wings are fractured. Their backs are fractured, ACLs torn, knees sprained, and the team doctors and training staff are taking heat.
Carson Wentz is listed as questionable but his fractured back seems like it will need well beyond the season’s final three games to recover. Apparently the injury “evolved over time” to the point where we stand now, which has left Eagles fans scratching their heads. Should Wentz have been rested earlier? And whether fairly or not, some will start to throw the “injury-prone” tag Wentz’ way, with this just being the latest in a string of injuries that dates back the Wentz’ days at North Dakota State.
Then there’s the running game, which is currently ranked 28th in the league. The Eagles chose not to bring back a key contributor from last season in LeGarrette Blount, who signed with the Detroit Lions. Then Jay Ajayi tore an ACL in a Week 5 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Last week Corey Clement sprained a knee in the Eagles loss to the Dallas Cowboys, and that’s where they stand. Rookie Josh Adams has shown promise and his role has increased throughout the season, and Darren Sproles will be a weapon catching the ball out of the backfield.
Where the Eagles will pose an issue for the Rams is with tight end, Zack Ertz, who leads all NFL tight ends in receptions this season. Outside, receivers Nelson Agholor and Alshon Jeffrey have enjoyed moderate success this season, with Jeffrey missing three games.
So here they are, the NFL’s 21st highest scoring offense, who just a year ago were 3rd in scoring. The injuries are a factor, but so is the departure of offensive coordinator Frank Reich who has done a superb job in Indianapolis as the Colts’ head coach. Rams fans may recall current Eagles’ OC Mike Groh, who was a receiver coach/passing game coordinator under the Jeff Fisher administration, when the Rams were 31st in passing. So it should come as no surprise that Eagles fans are calling for Groh’s job only 13 games into his first season running the offense.
On defense, the Eagles still have an extremely stacked defensive line that features the great Fletcher Cox, Tim Jernigan, Michael Bennett, Brandon Graham, Chris Long, and the aging Haloti Ngata. While they don’t have the talent at all three levels to match the Bears personnel, they should be able to challenge the Rams line along with Jared Goff and Todd Gurley who are looking to reestablish their mojo heading towards the playoffs. The Eagles secondary has taken plenty of hits, and will be without safety Rodney McLeod and cornerback Jalen Mills, but still have Malcolm Jenkins.
The Eagles are currently ranked 13th in points allowed and 25th in yards allowed.