Los Angeles Rams: Three key matchups vs. Philadelphia

Sep 13, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald (99) reacts after the game against the Dallas Cowboys at SoFi Stadium. The Rams defeated the Cowoboys 20-17. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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It was a stellar start to the season for the Los Angeles Rams as they narrowly defeated the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football in Week 1, 20-17. Just a week after defeating Dallas at home, Los Angeles will travel across the country to square off against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2.

In their Week 1 bout with the Cowboys, the Rams flashed quite a few positives on the offensive side of the ball. Jared Goff played a clean game, for the most part. Besides the interception he threw — which should have never materialized due to him being thumped over the head while throwing it — Goff looked comfortable operating the offense.

To no one’s surprise, Robert Woods proved to be a valuable option in the offense, producing the quietest 105 receiving yards you may ever witness. At the same time, the backfield duo of Malcolm Brown and Cam Akers proved to be effective, with Brown accounting for 110 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns by his lonesome.

Of course, Aaron Donald made his presence felt for the defense, recording one sack and four quarterback hits despite being double-teamed the majority of the game. Heading into Week 2, Donald could feast against a depleted offensive line of the Eagles. Aside from the much-anticipated battle between Donald and Philadelphia’s injury-riddled offensive line, what are some matchups to focus on for the Rams when they face the Eagles on Sunday?

Rams IOL vs. Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, & Malik Jackson

There’s no denying the fact that Donald is the most dominant interior defender in the NFL. However, Fletcher Cox deserves some recognition as well as one of the best interior defenders in the league.

Since arriving in the NFL in 2012, Cox has accumulated 48 sacks, 121 quarterback hits, and 11 forced fumbles. To go along with Cox, Philadelphia also has Javon Hargrave and Malik Johnson rotating in the defensive trenches.

Provided that, the Rams — specifically their interior offensive line — is going to be tested in Week 2. During Los Angeles’ contest with the Cowboys, the interior offensive line performed well.

The trio of Austin Blythe, Austin Corbett, and Joseph Noteboom all looked vastly better than they did a season ago, allowing Goff to conduct the offense in a smooth manner. With that being said, Philadelphia presents a tougher task for Los Angeles than Dallas’ interior defenders did.

Rams safeties vs. Eagles TEs

Throughout the Rams’ game against the Cowboys in Week 1, an interesting development was seeing rookie Jordan Fuller get the nod over Taylor Rapp at strong safety. It ended up being the right choice as Fuller was remarkable, notching a team-high eight tackles — including a clutch fourth-down tackle on CeeDee Lamb.

In addition to Fuller, the Rams also have John Johnson and Rapp at their disposal at the safety spots. The team’s versatility at safety should incite an interesting clash between Los Angeles’ safeties and Philadelphia’s tight ends.

Regardless of the Eagles’ concerted effort to improve their receiving corps around Carson Wentz, they love to have Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert on the field at the same time. Both of them combined for 11 receptions for 119 yards and two touchdowns in Philadelphia’s devastating Week 1 loss to the Washington Football Team.

Expect the Rams to insert Rapp more often this week, along with Fuller and Johnson, to match up with Ertz and Goedert. Also, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if Jalen Ramsey or Darious Williams see some time against Philadelphia’s tight ends as well in certain situations.

Aaron Donald vs. Eagles IOL

In the least shocking news of 2020, Donald was an absolute menace in Week 1 versus the Cowboys. It took until Dallas’ fifth offensive play for the two-time Defensive Player of the Year to notch his first sack of the season.

Donald was a constant irritant for the Cowboys, as the five-time All-Pro consistently found himself disrupting Dak Prescott’s timing. After facing Prescott, Donald will get a chance to pursue another member of the 2016 NFL Draft class in Wentz.

While he’ll be looking to get his hands on Wentz, Donald will be lining up across from the likes of Jason Kelce, Nate Serbig, and Isaac Seumalo. Altogether, Philadelphia’s offensive line surrendered eight sacks in Week 1 and Wentz fumbled twice.

Even though Kelce is one of the best centers in the NFL, Donald is salivating at the opportunity to face a hurting offensive line of the Eagles. Donald and the other members of the Rams’ pass-rushing unit could be setting up camp in Philadelphia’s backfield in Week 2.

 

 

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