After starting the season 1-0 against the Dallas Cowboys, the Rams travel to Philadelphia to take on their 2nd-straight NFC East opponent. The Eagles have given the Rams fits in recent years, winning 6 straight matchups dating back to 2005. Under Doug Pederson, the Eagles have gone 2-0 against the Rams, with both games coming down to the final seconds. With the Rams favored by just 1 point by most books, many expect this to be another thrilling matchup. While the Eagles are coming off a loss and are dealing with a multitude of injuries, they are still a force to be reckoned with. Which players need to step up for an LA victory, and give Sean McVay his first win over the Eagles? Keep an eye out for these 5 Rams.
In the Rams’ win on Sunday night, the offensive line shined. That is… except for Noteboom. He notched a grade of just 51.8 per PFF, by far the lowest among the Rams OL. The former TCU draft choice struggled at left guard, a position he never played in college. The Rams are letting Noteboom play guard until Andrew Whitworth retires, and then will likely shift him to left tackle. It doesn’t get any easier for the 3rd year pro, as he goes up against the best interior defender in the league (not named Aaron Donald): Fletcher Cox. Cox, a perennial Pro Bowler, and All-Decade Team member will look to feast against an unproven guard in Noteboom. The Rams will likely scheme to avoid pressure with quick throws like they did against Dallas, but Noteboom will still have to hold his own if he wants to keep QB Jared Goff’s jersey clean.
After the departure of Corey Littleton, Kiser was due to have an increased role in 2020. I don’t think anyone expected him to play the role he did against Dallas, as he joined John Johnson and Jalen Ramsey as the only defensive players to play 100% of the snaps. DC Brandon Staley and the rest of the coaching staff have trust in the young LB. It also has to do with the lack of depth at the position, but that’s not to take away from Kiser. Kiser played well on Sunday, recording 7 total tackles (6 solo) and 2 pass breakups (1st on the team). He will likely be asked to cover 1 of 2 Eagles that form the best tight end duo in the league, that being Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. They combined for 11 catches, 119 yards, and 2 TDs last week. Additionally, RB Miles Sanders is expected to play after missing Week 1, and Kiser will be asked to make plenty of open field tackles on the shifty back. Kiser is still unproven but will have plenty of chances to prove himself Sunday afternoon.
Speaking of snap counts, perhaps the only player to receive more snaps than expected was rookie S Jordan Fuller. The 6th round draft choice was initially set to be a season-long backup, but due to a great camp and Taylor Rapp’s injury, the former OSU Buckeye played 99% of the snaps and balled out. He’ll need to step up again this week. As aforementioned, the Eagles boast 2 good tight ends and solid receivers. Even if Alshon Jeffery misses this game like expected, Fuller will still need to be wary of deep shots to rookie wideout Jalen Reagor, like this one against Washington. Fuller may not play as much if Rapp is healthier, but if he plays well enough, he just might take Rapp’s starting job.
The most underrated receiver in the league did it again on Sunday. After catching 3 passes on the opening drive, Woods finished with 6 for 106 yards, and a 14 yard run on an end-around. This was a typical Bobby Trees performance, and as usual, he got no credit from anyone outside of Rams fans. Still, that shouldn’t bother anyone. As long as he keeps producing, who cares how the rest of the league perceives him? Woods is going up against an improved, but still average Eagles secondary. It’ll depend on who CB Darius Slay goes up against, but the potential is there for Woods to have another big game. For comparison, Slay allowed 2 catches for 28 yards on 3 targets against Washington’s top receiver, Terry McClaurin. Dating back to last season, Woods has recorded at least 6 catches and 95+ receiving yards in 5 of his past 7 games. Look for him to continue that streak in Philly.
After the Rams drafted Cam Akers out of Florida State, many thought he would instantly become the starter in the LA backfield. Brown had other plans. The veteran took the reigns Sunday night and had a career game, notching 110 total yards and 2 TDs on 21 touches, while also leading all Rams RBs with 60% of the snaps. As I predicted in my fantasy preview, I believe Akers will surpass Brown by the midway point in the season. However, until Akers learns the offense, Brown will be the lead back. The Eagles held Washington to just 80 rushing yards on 36 carries (2.2 YPC), so Brown will face tougher sledding than last week. McVay will want to establish the run early against the vaunted Eagles DL, and it’ll be up to Brown to set the tone.