Los Angeles Rams at Philadelphia Eagles on September 20, 2020

WEEK 2 • SUN 09/20 • FINAL

Los Angeles Rams 2 - 0


Philadelphia Eagles 0 - 2


Los Angeles Rams vs. Philadelphia Eagles: Week 2 - September 20, 2020

Record vs. Rams at Lincoln Financial Field: 2-0

Key additions: Defensive Coordinator Brandon Staley, RB Cam Akers, LB Leonard Floyd, LB Terrell Lewis, WR Van Jefferson, DT A'Shawn Robinson

Key departures: Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips, WR Brandin Cooks, DE Dante Fowler, RB Todd Gurley, LB Clay Matthews, CB Nickell Robey-Coleman, K Greg Zuerlein

Key stat: 767

Todd Gurley was a first-team All-Pro in 2017 and '18 when the Rams went 24-8 and won the NFC West in consecutive seasons and the conference title in the latter year. Gurley was a shell of himself in 2019 as he gained a career-low 857 rushing yards and just over 1,000 yards from scrimmage. In fact, he had 767 fewer yards from scrimmage than in his 2018 campaign. The decrease in production had an effect on quarterback Jared Goff, who led the NFL in pass attempts, but averaged 1 fewer yard (7.4 compared to 8.4 in 2018) per pass attempt than the previous season.

Player to watch: DT Aaron Donald

Rarely are the two best players on the field interior defensive linemen, but you can make the case here when it comes to the Eagles' Fletcher Cox and the Rams' Donald. A two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and five-time All-Pro, Donald had 12.5 sacks in a "down year" in 2019 compared to his 20.5-sack campaign the previous season. According to Pro Football Focus, Donald's 268 pressures since 2017 are 44 more than the next closest defensive player and that includes edge rushers.

Team preview: 9-7 in 2019, third in NFC West

The Rams pushed all of their chips to the middle of the table in 2019 and came up short.

Coming off back-to-back division titles and an NFC Championship in 2018, the Rams made blockbuster trades for a talented weapon on offense in wide receiver Brandin Cooks and cornerback Jalen Ramsey in mid-October.

As good as Head Coach Sean McVay's offense has been, the lack of consistency up front with the offensive line hurt the team in 2019. All five started were on the field for all 16 games in the NFC title campaign of 2018. That wasn't the case and the offense struggled.

Ramsey's acquisition didn't drastically alter the defense and the Rams gave up over 40 points twice in the final six games, losses to Baltimore and Dallas.

In the new playoff format, the Rams would have made the postseason in 2019. But unfortunately, they're in a division with the consistent Seahawks and the ascending 49ers. Los Angeles was 3-3 in division games last season, the difference between another postseason trip and missing out on the playoffs.

The Rams retooled by shedding some big contracts like Gurley's in the offseason to try and offset the inability to bring in young talent through the draft thanks to the marquee trades. They did find a taker for Cooks after just one season, although they held on to some older veterans such as 38-year-old Andrew Whitworth, who did start all 16 games in 2019 to his credit.

Los Angeles will also feature a first-time defensive coordinator in Brandon Staley, who previously studied under Vic Fangio. Staley replaces Wade Phillips, who served as a steady hand with a lifetime of experience for McVay.

The Eagles and Rams met in 2017 and '18 and Head Coach Doug Pederson got the best of McVay in both matchups that proved to be season-defining victories. Will this game set the tone for both squads in 2020?