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The Eagles won the battle but they may have lost the war this week in their defeat of the Rams. With this Philly win and the Vikings loss, the Eagles have a strong hold on earning the #1 seed…a critical thing to make warm weather threats like the Rams go to the Northeast, potentially. However, with the joy from the win comes a dagger…losing Carson Wentz for the season, which pretty much sinks their Super Bowl aspirations.
I didn’t believe it would ever be true, but I cannot deny what I’ve seen for weeks – Carson Wentz is carrying this Eagles team. Every week he makes several ‘how did he do that?’ escape from trouble in the pocket and then make a great throw type of plays…plays that have saved games over and over, especially earlier in the season. He was worthy of the MVP talk. His playmaking ability meant Philly could beat any team on any given Sunday. Now, that’s gone.
Enter a legit QB backing him up – Nick Foles. Why more teams do not invest money or draft stock in their backups, I have no idea. Nick Foles has a high winning percentage and a quality passer rating in the NFL…and had a season for the ages just a few short years ago. He steps in…and if everything goes right he might sneak this team into the Super Bowl. If the Rams lost Jared Goff…season over. If the Steelers lose Big Ben…season over. If the Patriots lose Tom Brady…season over. The Saints lose Drew Brees…the Panthers lose Cam Newton…the Falcons lose Matt Ryan…Seattle loses Russell Wilson…it’s over for all of them. Among the playoff contenders, only Philadelphia and Minnesota could make a run if their current starter went down.
We’re about to find out how far Nick Foles can guide the Eagles. He ‘could’ make a run with them, but the NFC is so stacked…I can’t imagine he’ll pull it off. He should lead them to victory at NYG this week and then another when hosting Oakland on Christmas day, and then Week 17 with Dallas may not matter to Philly. The Eagles should hold the #1 spot the rest of the season and into the playoffs. I just don’t think they can wind up in the Super Bowl now.
The Rams could make that Super Bowl run, but it’s probably too much too fast for L.A. The Rams have been failing most of their ‘big boy’ games this season…lost to Seattle, Minnesota, and now Philly. Beat the Saints…when they had two top corners missing. The Rams are dangerous. The Rams are a team no one wants to play, but in the 1st-round the Rams are likely to draw a late-surging, veteran playoff team like Green Bay, Seattle, or Dallas…and they’ll get their clocks cleaned.
The Rams will be in a virtual freefall if they lose to Seattle Week 15 and essentially lose grip over the NFC West. A win for the Rams next week pretty well seals up the NFC West title and they have the inside track to the #3 seed with their win over New Orleans. If the Rams want to prove they’re ready for a bigger platform – they have to go to Seattle Week 15 and whack them. Send a message. The Rams should win, considering the Seahawks mounting injuries…but with Russell Wilson nothing is impossible.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- So, what impact will Nick Foles (6-10 for 42 yards, 0 TD/0 INT) have on the Eagles offense going forward for fantasy?
Because Foles cannot provide the razzle-dazzle that Wentz does extending plays…it’s going to put a serious cap on this offense. The Eagles, at their core, are a running team with mediocre RBs and then Wentz making plays with so-so WRs and a solid-not-spectacular TE. Now, the Eagles will likely run more with their mediocre RBs and not convert as many 1st-downs because teams don’t respect the QB (Foles)…there will be too many 2nd & 8 type plays now. Foles is a great downfield passer but he’s a stiff in the pocket so if he doesn’t have all day to throw…he’ll get sacked a bunch. Alshon Jeffrey’s best days, athletically, seem behind him and Nelson Agholor just isn’t a very good WR…so, Foles doesn’t have a great cast to work with. He does have a good on-field relationship with Zach Ertz from way back so I suspect Ertz will be fine…if he’s healthy.
This Philly offense goes from ‘defenses better keep on their toes’ to a pretty traditional looking offense. They will have moments of good, but they will not be ‘electric’ or feared anymore…just solid, efficient and with flaws.
-- Jared Goff (16-26 for 199 yards, 2 TD/0 INT) had a solid game, but not eyepopping with the numbers. Consider one thing – the Eagles nearly had a 2-to-1 time of possession advantage. They kept the ball away from the Rams in this game. When the Rams had the ball, they were pretty good/efficient…they just couldn’t keep the ball away from Philly long enough to rack up decent stats.
Goff vs. Seattle this week shouldn’t be bad considering all the Seahawks injuries – they’re already without several top DBs, but they may be missing their 1-2 best linebackers as well.
-- I have to say – this was the best I’ve seen Todd Gurley (13-96-2, 3-39-0/5) look in a while…maybe back to his days at Georgia. This was the most elusive he’s been in recent memory.
Normally, for the past two seasons, Gurley ran straight ahead as a punishing ‘big back’. He rarely made people miss (thus his ypc issues). In this game, he had a hop in his step…making several cuts and twists to spring into the second-level. The O-Line did a terrific job as well.
It may be a one-off, or perhaps Gurley has unlocked or found something/rediscovered his elusive ways. If so, then the Rams can get serious for a Super Bowl run. I’ve watched/studied a lot of Gurley in action the past two years and been very critical…and that’s been correct (as a runner, not as a receiver) – so, when I say I see something different, I have a good baseline and skepticism of where I’m coming from. We’ll see if ‘it’ is there next week.
-- Cooper Kupp’s (5-118-1/7) numbers have jumped since Robert Woods went out with injury. Woods is set to return Week 15, and I suspect he returns to where he was before he left – Goff’s most trusted WR. However, Kupp is right there too…like a 1a and 1b of WRs for Goff.
Both are WR3s for sure, with WR2 upsides in PPR.
-- What happened to Josh Reynolds (2-17-0/2) is anyone’s guess. He’s a talent. Had the nice game in his filling-in-for-Woods debut, and then two weeks of nothing. So critical is ‘time with the 1s’ for a WR and an established (all season) QB.
-- Trey Burton (5-71-2/6) made no one mourn the loss of Zach Ertz (unless you didn’t grab Burton last week).
I would, and have, argue Burton is a better TE than Ertz, but maybe it’s more proper to say he’s a more dangerous TE than Ertz. Zach Ertz is fine. He’s good. Solid blocker, makes catches…a very solid, good player. However, you saw a little ‘it’ with Burton here in this game – the leaping catches, etc.
Burton is a weapon at TE…on a scale of Jordan Reed. It’s not a cliché’ either…it’s not ‘athletic, shorter TE gets compared to Reed all the time’ quips. Burton had a college experience much like Reed, at the same school…a multi-positional freak that no one knew what to do with. He didn’t fit the mold of any presupposed positions. Burton is similar in size, athleticism, and background as Reed.
A young Washington Redskins TE coach and later O-C for the ‘Skins, Sean McVay, spawned ‘Jordan Reed’ as a verb.
Rookie head coach Sean McVay just watched Burton score 2 TDs on his defense…Burton, the free agent to be in a few months.
McVay can skip this nonsense with Gerald Everett, and cut right to the chase with Reed 2.0 – Trey Burton. If Burton does land in L.A. (Rams), then all the ‘Jordan Reed’ stories come flying out…and then how highly do you think Burton goes for valuation in fantasy? This is why we have him ranked well for our dynasty stash…and will move him up a little more now that he auditioned for McVay right in front of his eyes.
-- Rams Rookie DB Josh Johnson (11 tackles, 2 PDs) is putting up terrific numbers as the Rams starter this season. He’s been on IDP-fire of late…6.7 tackles, 1.0 PDs per game his past 6 games.
Snap Counts of Interest…
34 = Higbee
12 = Everett
48 = Trey Burton
43 = Ajayi
27 = Clement
15 = Blount