After their offseason shopping spree, all eyes in the NFL will be on the Philadelphia Eagles when they open up their 2011 regular season. According to our friends at Odds Shark, the Eagles are five point favorites over the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome this Sunday.
The Rams and Eagles have not met in St. Louis since 2005. The all-time series between the two clubs is tied, thanks largely to the Eagles winning nine of the last 11 games, including a 38-3 rout back in Week 1 of the 2008 regular season at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
A lot has changed for both franchises since that last meeting.
For starters, the Rams are entering the third season under head coach Steve Spagnuolo, who coached the Eagles' defensive backs and linebackers from 1999-2006. That history gives Spagnuolo a lot of familiarity with how Eagles head coach Andy Reid thinks and any edge -- such as signing veteran safety Quintin Mikell, who spent the previous eight seasons in Philadelphia -- will be needed to slow down a Michael Vick-led offense that set franchise records with 439 points scored and 6,230 yards.
St. Louis has the building blocks in place for a high-powered offense that is led by former Heisman Trophy winner and 2010 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year quarterback Sam Bradford. The Rams changed offensive coordinators, hiring Josh McDaniels (ex-New England Patriots offensive coordinator, Denver Broncos head coach) who brings a spread-style passing attack (similar to what Bradford ran at Oklahoma) to augment the bruising running of workhorse back Steven Jackson. The Eagles have a new defensive coordinator (former offensive line coach Juan Castillo) and a young linebackers corps that could be struggle coming out the gate in Week 1.