Heading into the pivotal week 14 matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles, here are FPC’s picks for the players who will need to shine for the Rams to get to 10-3.
Andrew Kelly – Jared Goff
Though they boast the league’s #3 defense overall, Philly is middle of the pack in pass defense at #16. Clearly, Rams quarterback Jared Goff will need to have another solid game throwing the ball if the Rams are to upend the Eagles this Sunday. If he gets time, he should be able to make some hay. See: Eli Manning tossing for 366 against the Eagles Week 3. It is impossible not to expect Goff to find special motivation for this game, matching up with Carson Wentz.
Andrew Ortenberg – Aaron Donald
For as dominant as Rams defensive end Aaron Donald has been this season, he’ll need to raise the level of his game this week. The Rams’ run defense remains atrocious, and big backs Jay Ajayi and LeGarrette Blount will certainly test the waters. Add Carson Wentz’ mobility to the equation, and big 99 will be called on to create pressure, contain, and plug the middle against the versatile Eagles attack. Andrew’s pretty sure Donald is up to the task.
Brian Joanou – Greg Zuerlein
Leave it to Brian to pick a KICKER as his Standout Star. I mean, young Geezy has only missed one field goal under 60 yards, and though he uncharacteristically bricked a PAT last week, he’s been damn near automatic this season. Considering the Rams unfortunate red zone struggles, the Leg has been called on often this season and could be the difference maker in this heavyweight title fight. Legatron for the win!
Scott Wagner – Alec Ogletree
If he plays, Ogletree will be critical for the Rams this Sunday. Despite his penchant for making big plays a la last week’s Pick-Six, Tree’s been average at best against the run this season. He’ll also need to keep his eyes on Wentz and try to thwart long runs or touchdowns outside the pocket. How well his hyperextended elbow heals between now and Sunday will be a telling factor in the effectiveness of the Rams D against the Eagles. Otherwise, whatchu know about Bryce Hager, Rams fans?
Isaiah Trevino – Lamarcus Joyner
LMJ set the tone early last week with a nice centerfielder snag on an errant Blaine Gabbert throw. His physicality and range have given the Rams the best free safety play they’ve had in years (and will present yet another tricky contract for Snead/Demoff to draft this offseason). Containing the likes of Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor is a tall order with the strong-armed Wentz dropping dimes like he does. Isaiah’s got Joyner pegged as his Standout Star this week, and certainly, his play along with the rest of the Rams secondary will be a key factor in the outcome.
Mike Cahill – Samson Ebukam
The raw rookie defensive end from Eastern Washington has flashed so far this season, albeit in limited action. Connor Barwin’s injury opened the door for an extended look, and last week’s five tackles, along with obvious power and athleticism did not disappoint. Mike’s looking for Samson to take the next step this week with a breakout game in our biggest contest so far. Would two sacks and a forced fumble be out of the question? Hopefully not.
Martin Smith – Sammy Watkins
Though Watkins once again found the end zone last week against the Cardinals, it wasn’t the big numbers performance many predicted in Robert Woods’ absence. That said, Sammy’s impact is felt in more ways than just targets and catches – he stretches the field, keeps defenses honest, and blocks like a beast. It’s an old (and silly) football adage that “big time players play big in big games,” and Martin’s looking for Sammy to shine on Sunday. Wouldn’t it be sweet to see him sprint past former Rams free safety Rodney McLeod for a long touchdown?
Andrew Irvin – Todd Gurley
Gurley’s 1500+ yards from scrimmage leads the NFL, yet he’s strangely not being mentioned as a legit MVP candidate. Despite slightly lighter workloads the past few weeks, it remains clear that the Rams’ offensive success lies squarely on the shoulders of #30. If he can top 150+ and score a few touchdown’s (as Andrew’s bold prediction goes) against the league’s top-ranked rush defense, he may get a few more looks for that MVP nod. Better still, if that happens the Rams will most certainly win the game.
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