On Sunday the Philadelphia Eagles (10-2) play the Los Angeles Rams (9-3). Under center for the Rams is the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Jared Goff. When the Eagles offense takes the field, Carson Wentz, the number two overall pick in that draft, will be the signal-caller. This game was circled on NFL calendars from the day schedules were released, but for a very different reason. Fans anticipated this as a matchup that could show how far ahead of Goff Wentz is after Goff’s poor play last season and Wentz seemingly on track towards elite status. However, things have certainly changed. Goff and Wentz now lead teams that are tied for the most points scored in the NFL and are leaders of their respective divisions.
It is only right to start off with a little breakdown of the guy who went first overall. After critics prematurely wrote Goff off as a bust after a poor seven starts last season, he is thriving under Sean McVay. Already throwing for over 3,000 yards and 20 touchdowns this season, Goff’s passer rating sits just below 100. The young quarterback has greatly improved his pocket presence, which has allowed him to show off his above-average arm talent. Goff is also doing a good job taking care of the ball this season, throwing just six interceptions.
While Wentz and Goff will both clearly be special talents, Goff clearly has a higher ceiling in the pocket. When dropping back or catching snaps in the shotgun, Goff sits with such a condensed frame and is able to rifle off accurate passes from tight spaces in the pocket. Goff excels at throwing intermediate routes, often hitting receivers on dig routes just where they need the ball. Meanwhile, Goff certainly lacks the mobility that Wentz has, but is able to scramble out of the pocket to extend plays enough to get the job done.
While Wentz was the number two overall pick, he was much better than Goff in his rookie season. Without a doubt, that solid play transitioned to year two, where Wentz is playing like an MVP candidate. The young quarterback was off to an incredible pace and has come back down to earth a bit as of late. Also over 3,000 passing yards and with 29 touchdowns on the season, Wentz’ passer rating is just over 100. He is also doing a much better job taking care of the football this season, throwing just six interceptions, compared to 14 last season.
One thing about Wentz is his struggles in the pocket. The young quarterback is awkward in the pocket, with strange hitches and a wide base. These mechanics are something that likely would have changed already, but it seems the Eagles are having a tough time. Thankfully, Wentz is impressive outside of the pocket and skilled getting there. Possibly the best in the league besides Russell Wilson at escaping a collapsed pocket, Wentz always finds room to get where he needs to be to throw. Once out of the pocket, the crafty quarterback is not afraid to pull the ball down and run. While his legs are dangerous, his arm is lethal, and teams must sometimes allow the run to avoid being beat by the pass.
The number one and number two overall picks from the 2016 NFL Draft are both panning out quite well. On Sunday, Goff and Wentz will be squaring off to play for the number two seed in the NFC. Momentum is on the side of Goff and the Rams, coming off two straight wins, one of which their best of the season against the Saints. Meanwhile, the Eagles are coming off their first loss in eight weeks, going down to the Seattle Seahawks. One interesting note is that there is much more on the line for the Rams in this game. While the Eagles are playing for potential seeding, the Rams have the Seahawks just one game behind them in the division and playing great football. Sunday’s game will be a great test for both quarterbacks, as both the Rams and the Eagles have great defenses.
In a marquee matchup, it will be interesting to see how Goff and Wentz react. A big game for both teams that could have potentially huge playoff ramifications, be sure to look out for this showdown on Sunday.
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