PHI: 2010 record – 10-6, 1st in NFC East
STL: 2010 record – 7-9, 2nd in NFC West
Spread: Eagles by 5
Where: Edward Jones Dome (St. Louis, MO)
When: 1:00, FOX
Last time met: Sept 7, 2008: DeSean Jackson caught a 47-yard reception on the second play from scrimmage, setting the tone for the Eagles 38-3 win. Donovan McNabb threw for 361 yards and three touch downs and both Jackson and Greg Lewis had over 100 yards receiving.
Opposing player to watch – RB Steven Jackson: Jackson is still one of the top running backs in the NFL. Coming off a 1,241-yard season, his sixth straight season with at least 1,000 yards, Jackson will give the Eagles linebacking corps its first test of the season against a premier running back. Expect to see a lot of #39 on the score sheet, especially with a young quarterback like Sam Bradford.
Eagles: It’s another highly-anticipated season for the Eagles, who boast potentially the most dynamic offense in the NFL. The key to their success this season won’t lie on the weapons however. Instead, the pressure will be pitted on an offensive line who hasn’t taken a single game snap together. But with the line aside, the weapons Philadelphia boast include Pro Bowl quarterback Michael Vick, running back LeSean McCoy and star wide receivers Jeremy Maclin and Jackson will be what is going to put them far beyond the Rams. Both Maclin (illness) and WR Steve Smith are expected to play on Sunday, adding more weapons to Vick's arsenal.
Rams: It’s a new era under center in St. Louis. With Marc Bulger out and Bradford in, the Rams are looking to rightfully take back the NFC West. With a running back like Jackson, the Rams are going to be a run-heavy team heading into week 1, providing the test for the Eagles’ inexperienced backers. Receiving the ball from Bradford will be former Eagle Danny Amendola and newly acquired Mike Simms-Walker. Bradford has a lot of speed and a handful of comparable weapons to work with. But the pressure will be on Jackson to keep the Eagles defense on their heels.
Advantage: The Eagles have more experience playing together than St. Louis. Advantage goes to them.
Eagles: The big question mark for Philadelphia will be their linebackers. Obviously the secondary and defensive line are among the league’s best with the additions of DB’s Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, DT Cullen Jenkins and DE Jason Babin. Manning the middle linebacker position will be rookie Casey Matthews, younger brother of Green Bay’s Clay Matthews. Akeem Jordan, Trent Cole, Asante Samuel, Nate Allen and Mike Patterson lead the group of returning Eagles.
Rams: DE Chris Long and LB James Laurinaitis head a young and inexperienced Rams defense. Long will be the first test for newly named RT Todd Herremans of the Eagles, who made the move from left guard a week ago. Former Eagles safety Quinton Mikell signed with St. Louis in the off season and will be their starting free safety.
Advantage: The Eagles boast one of the top three defenses in the NFL. This should be a no-brainer.
Eagles: Questionable: QB Vince Young (hamstring), WR Steve Smith (knee). Probable: S Nate Allen (knee), WR Jeremy Maclin (illness).
Rams: Out: WR Mark Clayton. Questionable: TE Michael Hoomanawanui (calf). Probable: WR Danario Alexander (knee).
Prediction: Despite an inexperienced offensive line and linebacking corps, the Eagles have a far more talented and elite team than St. Louis. With all the playmakers the Eagles have on both sides of the ball, they should come out firing on all cylinders, ready to play football. In conclusion, the Philadelphia Eagles football season will start out on a high note with a 31-14 win over the Rams.