Posted on December 6, 2017, by Travis Pulver
At this point in the season, it is clear who is good and who isn’t. We know for certain that the Browns are still the Browns, the Giants are terrible, and the Colts still need an offensive line. But there are still plenty of mysteries that can be solved as the season winds down. For instance, which playoff teams are for real and which ones have been feasting on an easy schedule?
Fans of the Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Rams are ecstatic over how well their teams are playing this season and with good reason. Both teams appear to have found their quarterback of the future in Carson Wentz and Jared Goff. Their offenses are two of the most prolific in the NFL and their defenses are among the toughest as well.
Each team appears to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Philadelphia is running away with the NFC East. The Rams lead their division. But they’ll need to beat the Seahawks in a couple weeks in order to begin securing the NFC West crown.
Both teams pass the eye test; they look great. But looking great and being great are two different things. Anyone can look fantastic when playing the New York Giants. But how about when the competition is a lot tougher?
What about against a team like the Seahawks?
Philadelphia was dominated by them last week. Seattle’s defense, despite the many injuries it is dealing with, made Carson Wentz look pedestrian. As for Philadelphia’s running game—well, it was non-existent.
To be fair, the Rams didn’t have much luck against Seattle either.
Maybe they are both pretenders or maybe they’re both the real deal. Whatever the case may be, the winner on Sunday will have control over the No. 2 seed in the NFC and a first-round bye. So, whoever is the better of the two on Sunday will be in good position for the postseason.
So—who’s going to win?
The quarterbacks in this one, Carson Wentz and Jared Goff, are going to get much of the attention leading up to the game and with good reason. Both are having great seasons. Each has thrown over 390 passes, completed over 60 percent of them, and have only thrown six interceptions. Both are great when it matters most, on third downs and in the red zone.
The most significant difference in regard to production is touchdowns; Wentz has thrown 29 to 20 for Jared Goff. But this could be more a result of the Rams having a go-to running back they can count on in Todd Gurley.
Philadelphia gets a lot out of its stable of running backs, but they don’t have anyone they can count on every time in the red zone. Yes, LeGarrette Blount is a human battering ram, but when he’s in the game, defenses know what’s coming.
Each has a good offense that is effective in its own way which means the winner will need to have the better defense.
Carson Wentz seems to do some of his best work on the run, but the Seahawks showed that forcing him to run is the way to go. They kept the pressure on with 12 hits, three sacks, and seven pass deflections. Yes, he still threw for 348 yards and a touchdown. But he had to since the running game was no help.
Philadelphia’s defense is strong, but where they’ll have trouble is dealing with Goff and Todd Gurley. If they focus on one, the other will dominate the game. Somehow, they will have to figure out how to stop both—which is easier said than done.
This one should be a close, hard-fought, and thoroughly entertaining game. The key to the game will be in the run game. Whoever can get their run game on track and grind out the tough yards will win this game. In doing so, they will not only score some points but keep the other’s offense off the field.
The Eagles have a good stable of backs, but Todd Gurley is better. If the Rams get him on track, they win this game. They are favored by two but don’t worry. They’ll win by seven.