After beating the Washington Commanders in overtime at home to advance to 4-0, the Philadelphia Eagles are 5.5-point road favorites against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 5. This much according to our friends over at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Sean McVay’s team is coming off an OT win of their own; the Rams outlasted the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.
It’s hard to know exactly what to make of the Eagles’ upcoming opponent. The Rams entered the 2023 season with a projected over/under win total set at 6.5 games. Only the Arizona Cardinals ranked lower.
Through four games, the Rams already have two wins. They pulled off a surprising three-possession road victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Week 1. They hung tough with the undefeated San Francisco 49ers in Week 2. They lost to a struggling Cincinnati Bengals squad by three points in Week 3. And then they edged out a Colts team that looks more competitive than expected in Week 4.
One contributing factor to the Rams’ success is the unexpected emergence of Puka Nacua. The 2023 fifth-round pick leads the NFL in targets (52), receptions (39), and receiving yards (501) so far. Pretty crazy stuff for a rookie.
As if defending Nacua didn’t already present a challenge, the Eagles might also be tasked with stopping Cooper Kupp. Kupp is eligible to be activated from injured reserve and it sounds like he’ll be able to suit up against the Eagles. Not a particularly exciting proposition for a Sean Desai defense that struggled to stop Sam Howell and company in Week 4.
Aside from Aaron Donald, who is still very awesome, the Rams don’t have household names on defense. Seriously, can you name any of their other defenders off the top of your head? Despite this, the Rams have not been awful on that side of the ball. Raheem Morris is overseeing a unit that ranks 11th in opponent yards per play and 15th in opponent points per game. The Rams have been weaker against the run than the pass; only eight teams have allowed more yards per rush while only six teams have allowed fewer yards per throw.
Since the beginning of the Nick Sirianni era in 2021, the Eagles are only 6-7 against the spread as road favorites ... but they are 12-1 straight up in those games. The sole loss came to Joe Judge’s New York Giants in 2021. That remains the worst start of Jalen Hurts’ career; he threw zero touchdowns to three interceptions for a mere 17.5 passer rating.
There’s reason to believe Hurts is trending in the right direction coming off his best passing game of the season. The Eagles will probably need another big game from him to remain undefeated.
With the Eagles yet to play their ‘A-game’ this season, it’s not so easy to give them the benefit of the doubt and project that they’ll definitely cover. Taking the points is tempting here, though it won’t be a true home field advantage for the Rams with Eagles fans likely taking over SoFi Stadium.
What say you?
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