For the second straight year, the Philadelphia Eagles will reportedly enter the stretch run of the NFL regular season without quarterback Carson Wentz. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday that the third-year signal caller is expected to miss Sunday’s game against the Rams in Los Angeles with a “back issue” that may also sideline him for the rest of the 2018 season.

Nick Foles would once again step in for Philadelphia should Wentz miss any time.

“It is certainly surprising although, for the Philadelphia Eagles, this is something that at least they were preparing for,” Rapoport said later Wednesday on NFL Network. “This goes back to a back issue that Wentz has been dealing with. The team is still waiting for more information on this. …

“Make no mistake: If the Eagles are going to make any sort of playoff run, it is going to be — at the very, very least — with Nick Foles starting this Sunday and perhaps beyond.”

The Eagles are facing a slightly different situation this season. Last year, Wentz went down with a torn ACL in a Week 14 victory over the Rams, a win that gave the Eagles the NFC East title. Foles didn’t play well but was able to help Philadelphia win the two games that followed Wentz’s injury, securing the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs. The franchise would end up winning its first Super Bowl title, with Foles being named the game’s MVP.

This year, Philadelphia (6-7) is among a sizable group of middling teams that are fighting for what likely will be the NFC’s final playoff berth. Wentz has put up some respectable numbers — 21 touchdown passes, only seven interceptions, a career-best 7.7 yards per attempt — but his QBR has dropped from a league-high 77.2 to 64.9 and he has been sacked 31 times in only 11 games, two off his career high of 33 set in 2016 when he started 16 games as a rookie. He has been sacked on 7.2 percent of his dropbacks, compared with 6 percent last season and just 5.2 percent in 2016.

Wentz has been on the Eagles' midweek injury reports since October, sometimes sitting out practice to “rest” and sometimes specifically because of his back. The NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero says Wentz’s chronic back injury was a big reason the Eagles did not trade Foles this season.

Before Rapoport delivered the news, reporters asked Eagles Coach Doug Pederson about Wentz’s injury and whether he would play on Sunday. According to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Pederson “said that they will focus on today and getting him better” while announcing that Wentz would be sitting out Wednesday’s practice (Foles and Nate Sudfield were the lone Eagles quarterbacks to practice, according to Zach Berman of the Inquirer/Daily News).

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