NFL Week 1 Pick: Philadelphia Eagles vs St Louis Rams
Philadelphia pulled out all the stops in the offseason to position itself to make a serious run at this year’s Super Bowl, and they will get to find out if all of their acquisitions will pay dividends when they hit the field in St. Louis on Sunday against a Rams team that is seeking their first playoff berth since 2004.
Philadelphia at St. Louis
Venue/Stadium: Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, Missouri
Time/Date: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, September 11, 2011
NFL Odds From: BetOnline
Moneyline: Philadelphia -210, St. Louis +180
Spread (ATS): Philadelphia -4
A number of key players were added to the Eagles roster this summer including one of the teams biggest free agent frenzy prize, cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. After spending eight miserable seasons with the Oakland Raiders, where he racked up 310 tackles and 11 INTs, he will be paired with Asante Samuel and another newcomer Dominique Rodgers-Cromartiewho came to the Eagles via a trade with Arizona for quarterback Kevin Kolb.
Samuel led the NFC in interceptions in 2010 while Rodgers-Cromartie snatched three picks last season with the Cardinals including two for a TD.
The trio will definatley wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks starting this Sunday when the meet up with 2010 Offensive Rookie of the Year, Sam Bradford.
Bradford turned in an impressive first-year under center in St. Louis, tossing the football for 3,512 yards en route to joining the Colts’ Peyton Manning as the only rookies ever to reach the 3,500 mark.
That effort led the Rams to their first 4-0 preseason since 1979.
But Bradford isn’t the only weapon in the Rams’ arsenal, as veteran running back Steven Jackson returns to the field on Sunday to start his seventh tour of duty in St. Louis, coming off his sixth straight 1,000-yard season – the NFL’s longest active streak. Jackson ripped off 1,241 in 2010 and has averaged a league-best 118.2 yards per game since 2006.
On the opposite side of the field, Eagles running back LeSean McCoy will try to wear down a St. Louis defense that recently made an move to beef up their numbers by adding veteran safety and former Eagle Quintin Mikell, and linebacker Ben Leberto to a unit that ranked 12th in the NFL in 2010, allowing 20.5 points per game.
Still, the Rams will have difficulty containing the Eagles two-headed attack that includes McCoy, who led all running backs with 78 receptions and topped the NFC with 1,672 yards, and 2010 Comeback Player of the Year, dual-threat quarterback Michael Vick.
Vick turned in an inspiring performance last season, setting career highs in passing yards (3,018), quarterback rating (100.2) and completion percentage (62.6).
It appears that he will be poised to lead the Eagles back to the playoffs where they made an early exit in 2010.
The Eagles have won nine of the last 11 meetings between the clubs, most recently a 38-3 rout at home on Sept. 7, 2008. Their last contest in St. Louis was Dec. 18, 2005, when Philadelphia edged out the Rams 17-16.
Matt’s NFL Picks & Prediction: Eagles 35, Rams 21 -The Rams defense will have its hands full with Vick and McCoy while Asomugha and Samuel make things difficult for Bradford to throw the football, allowing the Eagles to focus on Jackson.
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