|National Football League|
Wentz, Eagles look to rebound against Goff, Rams
A pair of NFC powers will battle in a marquee matchup on Sunday as the Philadelphia Eagles visit the Rams at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
The Eagles (10-2) had their nine-game winning streak snapped with a 24-10 loss at the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night. Philadelphia is still tied with the Minnesota Vikings for the best record in the NFC, with the Rams (9-3) and New Orleans Saints (9-3) one game back.
Sunday's game obviously has plenty of meaning in the race for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
"We need games where we get hit in the mouth, and we have to fight and battle and scratch," Eagles coach Doug Pederson told reporters. "(Sunday's) game was one of those games. You just have to understand that the preparation, there's no substitute for the preparation and the hard work. You can't substitute that. The guys have to know that, and it's my job to make sure that they understand that and how we prepare and how we coach and hold everybody accountable.
"When I start seeing the same mistakes in ballgames that you kind of see during the week, we've just got to get back to the, not necessarily the grind, but we've got to get back to just focusing in on all our jobs and owning that."
Philadelphia starting tight end Zach Ertz left the game against the Seahawks with an apparent head injury and has been placed in concussion protocol. Ertz's status is unclear for Sunday.
What is clear is this game will feature the top two quarterbacks selected in the 2016 NFL draft -- Rams quarterback Jared Goff (No. 1) and Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (No. 2).
Goff has completed 244 of 392 passes (62 percent) while throwing 20 touchdowns and six interceptions. Wentz is 242 of 399 (61 percent) while tossing 29 touchdowns and six interceptions.
"He's still young. They're using him a lot the same way that Washington uses Kirk Cousins," Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said of Goff. "A lot of the same kind of plays, a lot of deep balls down the field. He's got confidence in throwing the deep ball. He's got some scramble ability, nothing like we faced last week, but he's moved around a little bit. Run some boots and play-action stuff. He's had a good command of the offense. They don't take a lot of negative plays. I think they've had two games they've been held down in scoring, and everything else they've lit up the scoreboard."
The Rams weren't scheduled to practice Wednesday because of the poor air quality caused by the wildfires in Ventura County. Los Angeles is unsure if it will practice Thursday.
"We're aware of the proximity of the fires to our facility and its effect on the air quality. We're keeping an eye on it," Rams senior director of communications Artis Twyman told reporters. "We're going to make sure that we keep everybody informed. If there's an adjustment we have to make in terms of our practice schedule this week, we'll do that. Our thoughts are with those affected by these fires."
On the field, the Rams have won two straight and have a chance to deal the Eagles a second consecutive defeat.
"This is what you love about the NFL," Rams coach Sean McVay told reporters. "These games are fun. But it doesn't make it any more pressure. It just makes it more exciting because of what our guys have done and what they (Eagles) have done to make the game a little bit more intriguing."
Goff has thrown five of his interceptions at home, which is mildly surprising. Now he'll have a chance to compete against Wentz in a No. 1 vs. 2 matchup among draft picks.
"It'll be fun to play against him (Wentz)," Goff told ESPN.com. "But I'm more excited to play their team."
"It's not Jared versus Carson. It's the Rams versus the Eagles," McVay also told ESPN.com. "Jared's job is to play well against their defense, and Carson's will be to play against our defense."
Rams inside linebacker Alec Ogletree is expected to play despite injuring his elbow in last Sunday's 32-16 win at Arizona. X-rays were negative and the injury is listed as a hyperextension.
If Ogletree is unable to play, Bryce Hager would likely start in his place.
Regardless, it's going to be a difficult game against the 10-win Eagles.
"They don't have any weakness," McVay told reporters. "There's a reason why they're one of the top defenses in this league, and you see it show up with their personnel."
The Eagles have won four straight games in this series, with the last game in L.A. coming on Sept. 23, 1990 -- a 27-21 Philadelphia victory.
Updated December 6, 2017