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Rams vs. Eagles matchup: Can the 3-back attack carry Rams?

Rams running back Malcolm Brown celebrates after rushing for a touchdown.
Rams running back Malcolm Brown (34) celebrates after rushing for a touchdown in the team’s season-opening win over the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 13.
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

Breaking down how the Rams (1-0) and the Philadelphia Eagles (0-1) match up heading into Sunday’s game at Lincoln Financial Field.

When Rams have the ball: Coach Sean McVay’s running back-by-committee approach got off to a successful start in a season-opening victory over Dallas. The question: Can the Rams sustain it? Veteran Malcolm Brown did not start but the veteran serves as the go-to back. He scored two touchdowns. Rookie Cam Akers started and gained confidence, and Darrell Henderson showed he had recovered from a hamstring strain. McVay is expected to keep quarterback Jared Goff out of the pocket and on the move. Goff completed 20 of 31 passes for 275 yards against the Cowboys. He had a pass intercepted but officials missed a clear hit to Goff’s head by linebacker Aldon Smith on the play. Productive receivers Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods got contract extensions, Kupp before the opener and Woods on Friday. The offensive line performed well against the Cowboys and could get a break because several members of the Eagles defensive front are nursing injuries. The Rams, however, still have to neutralize tackle Fletcher Cox. Former Rams slot cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman plays for the Eagles.

The Los Angeles Rams drafted Jared Goff over Carson Wentz with the top pick of the 2016 NFL Draft. Did the Rams get a better QB than the Eagles?

When Eagles have the ball: Carson Wentz, the second pick in the 2016 draft behind Goff, had to be sore this week after getting sacked eight times in a 27-17 defeat at Washington. Wentz completed 24 of 42 passes for 270 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions. The Eagles feature perhaps the NFL’s best tight end combination with Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, both of whom caught touchdown passes against Washington. DeSean Jackson is the star receiver but Greg Ward caught five passes in the opener. Running back Miles Sanders sat out the opener because of a hamstring injury but is expected to play against the Rams. The offensive line could get a boost if right tackle Lane Johnson returns from an ankle injury. The Rams missed numerous tackles in the first half against the Cowboys and gave up two touchdowns, but surrendered only a field goal in the third quarter and no points in the fourth. Defensive linemen Aaron Donald, Michael Brockers and Sebastian Joseph-Day could make it tough on the Eagles’ interior offensive line. Jalen Ramsey is the highest-paid cornerback in NFL history and played that way in the opener, breaking up a key third-down pass and forcing an offensive pass-interference call late.

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When they kick: Rookie Samuel Sloman saw his first NFL field-goal attempt bounce off an upright but came back to kick two field goals in the victory over the Cowboys. Punter Johnny Hekker appears to be in midseason form. Kupp is returning punts. Eagles kicker Greg Elliott made one of two field-goal attempts in the opener.

Gary Klein’s prediction: The Rams have confidence after defeating the Cowboys. The injury-plagued Eagles are trying to stave off an early-season disaster after collapsing against Washington. With no crowd at Lincoln Financial Field, the Rams should be fine.

RAMS 27, EAGLES 24


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