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How the Rams and Eagles match up in Week 15

How the Rams and Eagles match up in Week 15
In this Dec. 10, 2017, file photo, Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald, right, gets past Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman Lane Johnson. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Rams (11-2) vs. Philadelphia (6-7)

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When Rams have the ball

Jared Goff’s efficiency took a dive the last two games, but the third-year quarterback and coach Sean McVay aren’t in panic mode. Goff is completing 64% of his passes, 27 for touchdowns, with 11 interceptions. Until last week’s four-pick game at Chicago, Goff had almost equaled the 4-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio he finished with last season. Goff was under constant pressure against the Bears. So the much-celebrated Rams offensive line must get back on track and avoid the uncharacteristic and untimely penalties that plagued them against the Bears. Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz oversees a unit that boasts a strong front led by tackle Fletcher Cox, who has 6 1/2 sacks. The Eagles rank 10th in rushing defense. They figure to be tested by Rams running back Todd Gurley, the NFL’s second-leading rusher. McVay gave Gurley only 14 touches against the Bears, well below the 25 touches Gurley typically gets in victories during the last two seasons. So look for McVay to get the ball into Gurley’s hands more. Receiver Robert Woods became a member of the 1,000-yards-receiving fraternity last week, joining teammate Brandin Cooks, who achieved the feat for the fourth time a week earlier at Detroit.

When Eagles have the ball

Quarterback Carson Wentz, the No. 2 pick in the 2016 draft behind Goff, was diagnosed last week with a stress fracture in his back. He was ruled out Saturday and is probably done for the season, so veteran Nick Foles will start. Foles came off the bench last season at the Coliseum after Wentz suffered a season-ending knee injury. Foles guided the Eagles to victory, and then led them on a Super Bowl run that culminated with Foles winning Super Bowl MVP honors. Running back Josh Adams is averaging five yards per carry, but got only seven carries in last week’s overtime loss to the Dallas Cowboys. And running back Corey Clement — who amassed 100 yards receiving in the Super Bowl — was put on injured reserve last week. Tight end Zach Ertz has been the main weapon: He has 98 catches for 1,016 yards and six touchdowns. Receivers Nelson Agholor, Alshon Jeffery and Golden Tate are other targets for Foles. Rams cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Nickell Robey-Coleman and safety John Johnson intercepted passes against the Bears on a night when the Rams gave up only two field goals and a touchdown pass to an offensive lineman. Tackle Aaron Donald, with a league-leading 16 1/2 sacks, is looking to bounce back after being neutralized by the Bears.

When they kick

Last season against the Eagles, the Rams blocked a punt and safety Blake Countess returned the ball for a touchdown. Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein has made 21 of 24 field-goal attempts but is coming off a game in which an important one bounced off the right upright. Johnny Hekker is averaging 45.4 yards per punt. Eagles kicker Jake Elliott has made 20 of 24 field-goal attempts. Punter Cameron Johnston ranks second in the NFL, averaging 48.4 yards per kick.

Gary Klein’s prediction

The Rams have never lost consecutive regular-season games under McVay, and they won’t start now. Not against an Eagles team that has been ravaged by injuries and is far from the 11-2 team that won at the Coliseum in 2017.

RAMS 31, EAGLES 20

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