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December 15, 2018

Week 15 NFL picks: Rounding up the experts' predictions for Eagles-Rams

This post should come with an explicit content warning for Eagles fans, because when it comes to picking a winner in the Week 15 matchup between the Birds and Rams, it's a bloodbath. 

Nearly everyone's picking against the Eagles, with the exception of an occasional coin flip... 

We've broken down the injuries and offered our own predictions for this one. Now, as we do every weekend, it's time to take a look around the nation to see how the various experts, both local and national, think Sunday night's matchup is going to play out.

•  PhillyVoice staff: Last week, we were split over our picks for Eagles-Cowboys. This week, not so much. Here's a look at what sports editor Evan Macy had to say (since he has the best record of any of us picking Birds game).

We'd need a Super Bowl-like performance from Foles to keep the Eagles in this one, on the road in L.A.

I have a little hope after seeing the Rams unable to do much in Chicago last week - but it was like 20 degrees there and that isn't Jared Goff's thing. Back home in Southern California, I think he'll be back to his old self.

Time to put this season out of it's misery.

•  ESPN staff: Not a single expert picked the Eagles over the Rams. I'm beginning to sense a theme.

•  Tim McManus, Eagles writer: Rams 33, Eagles 20

Nick Foles will be under center in place of Carson Wentz (back), and that's stirring up some memories of an improbable Foles-led run of a year ago. But this is a different Eagles team -- one that has 12 players on injured reserve and sits in a vulnerable position at 6-7. Reality will set in against a top-tier Rams team stinging from a loss to the Bears.

•  Lindsey Thiry, Rams writer: Rams 34, Eagles 25

The Rams haven't lost two in a row under second-year coach Sean McVay, so you can bet after a drubbing in Chicago that they'll bounce back. The Eagles' defense is ranked 25th in yards allowed per game (384.0). That's a nice matchup for Jared Goff, who needs to rebound after struggling in back-to-back weeks, and a Rams team that is looking to secure a first-round bye in the playoffs.

•  Elliot Harrison, Rams 34, Eagles 26

Last season's Eagles-Rams matchup played a huge role in Philadelphia's march to Super Bowl LII. Carson Wentz hurt his knee in Los Angeles, forcing Nick Foles to enter the game in the fourth quarter. Foles did his part, connecting with Nelson Agholor on a key third down to salt away the clock and ultimately earn home-field advantage throughout the playoffs for the Eagles. They are hanging on by a wing this year, with Sunday's contest at the Coliseum a must-win and Wentz not expected to play with a back injury. Sean McVay's group doesn't face such dire straits, but is coming off its worst performance of the season. Perhaps this is a week that McVay eschews going play-action constantly to set up the air game, and hands the ball off to Todd Gurley 25 times instead. Keep that Eagles front four at bay. The Cowboys did the same thing last week, though Jared Goff is more likely to make Philadelphia's secondary pay downfield than Dak Prescott. Eagles DC Jim Schwartz must find creative ways to help his corners, without showing his hand too quickly. You know, the same crappy homework assignment Schwartz has wrestled with all season. Goff rebounds this week. Mark it down.

• staff: Once again, it's all L.A. here, with each of their eight experts picking the Rams to take down the Birds.

MORE: Eagles-Rams predictions, odds and broadcast info

•  OddsShark: While their computer model is also picking the Rams, they're not predicting as big a blowout as some others.

•  Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk: Rams 38, Eagles 21

Philly’s slim playoff hopes officially fall to none.

•  Michael David Smith, ProFootballTalk: Rams 24, Eagles 20

Jared Goff has played poorly two weeks in a row, but he should bounce back and keep the Rams in contention for home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

•  Bleacher Report, NFL staff: Rams 33, Eagles 17

The Rams are averaging 37.7 points per game at home, while the Eagles have surrendered 77 points in their last two road games. The only way to beat the Rams is to establish the run to limit Aaron Donald and Co. and avoid explosive plays on defense, and Philadelphia failed to do either of those things in Dallas. In fact, only five teams have allowed more 20-yard gains this season than the Eagles, who haven't been able to recapture their 2017 mojo. 

There's also a chance they've lost hope, which could turn this into a laugher. 

•  SBNation staff: All seven of their experts picked the Rams. There was one exception, however, with the coin flip going in favor of the Birds. So they've got that going for them, which is nice...

•  Bleeding Green Nation staff: Two of their seven writers actually picked the Eagles to beat the Rams, marking our first non-coin predictions in their favor.

MORE: 'The Philly Godfather': Smart money is all over the Rams

• staff: All six of their football writers are picking the Rams, including Eagles beat writer Zack Rosenblatt.

The Eagles have remained down the middle all season. Not good enough to be a contender. Not bad enough to be among the leagues worst teams. They’re hovering at a line of mediocrity. The Rams haven’t. They’re elite. And the Eagles don’t match up particularly well with them, especially with a banged up secondary. 

PICK: Rams 35, Eagles 17

•  Philly Influencer staff: All six of their writers are picking the Eagles to lose on Sunday, including PhillyVoice contributor Nick Piccone, who sees a 41-21 win for the Rams.

I’m fully on the Nick Foles bandwagon. You just have to be. The irrational hatred of Foles and Wentz in favor of one over the other is about as ridiculous as an argument I’ve ever seen on social media. Plenty of people ready to pile on one guy because they’ve just gotta love the other. It’s weird. You’re damned Eagles fans. Either root for the team or don’t, ya bunch of weirdos. You’re the reason we can’t have nice things.

Rams roll.

•  David Steele, Sporting News: Rams 28, Eagles 24

The Eagles gave up 576 yards to the Cowboys last week, an atrocious figure unless you factor in that they forced three turnovers, kept them without a touchdown until the fourth quarter, gave up just 23 points in regulation and lost on a deflected pass. There are worse formulas to try against a team like the Rams, who took a beating in Chicago and turned the ball over a bunch. It could work, but … it won’t.

•  Vinny Iyer, Sporting News: Rams 45, Eagles 27

The Rams will follow their worst offensive performance of the season with one of their best. They will establish Todd Gurley early in this game, which will allow Jared Goff to get comfortable and pick apart the Eagles’ makeshift secondary with Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks. Carson Wentz and his weapons will hang around for a while until Gurley plays the closer role. PICK: Rams win 45-27 and cover the spread

RELATED: Jimmy Kempski's Week 15 NFL picks

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