By Kevin McGuire
After taking the first loss of the season out west, the Philadelphia Eagles return home looking to get back on track with a win. This week the Eagles will host the St. Louis Rams, who come to town off a bye week to prepare for the match-up.
The Rams (1-2) are coming off a bye week to prepare for the road trip to Philadelphia. So far the Rams have taken losses to the Minnesota Vikings in blowout fashion and the Dallas Cowboys in a 34-31 setback.
The Eagles hold a slight edge in the all-time series with the Rams, with a lead of 18-17-1. This series dates back to 1937 when the Rams played in Cleveland, before moving to Los Angeles and then St. Louis. The Eagles have won three straight game sin the series and eight of the last ten regular season meetings dating back to 1990.
Rams on Offense
The Rams may have lost their franchise quarterback, Sam Bradford for the season, but the offense has not missed a beta in the passing game. Second-year quarterback Austin Davis of Southern Mississippi has led the Rams with an accurate arm, but he is still a bit of a work in progress. The Rams are struggling to get the running game going, ranked 23rd in the NFL. Zac Stacy is the go-to man at the running back position, with 42 rushing attempts and 181 yards in the first three weeks.
In three games this season the Rams have scored a total of 56 points. This Rams team is far from the days of The Greatest Show on Turf, but it is not one the Eagles defense can take lightly this weekend.
Rams on Defense
Similar to the offensive numbers, St. Louis has been playing very well against the pass but can be exposed on the ground. In first three weeks of the season, the base 4-3 defense of the Rams has allowed an average of 155 rushing yards per game, which is somewhat surprising. The defensive front of the Rams is supposed to be a strength for this team, and the linebackers are a pretty good trio including Alex Ogletree and James Laurinaitis.
The Eagles need to keep the offense on the field. In the last game St. Louis played, the Cowboys were five of 10 on third down conversion attempts.
Rams Players to Watch
Defensive Tackle, Aaron Donald: The first round draft pick of the Rams hauled in just about every defensive award in college football in 2013. The Pittsburgh product is not starting for the Rams but he is getting involved in the defensive rotation. In his time on the field Donald has recorded just seven tackles, but it may only be a matter of time before he starts seeing more playing time up front.
Wide Receiver, Brian Quick: With speedy Tavon Austin questionable for this weekend’s game, the Rams will likely be counting on third-year receiver Brian Quick to lead te way in the receiving game. Quick leads the Rams with 235 yards and a touchdown after three games.
The Rams were supposed to be one of the trendy up-and-coming picks in the NFC West this season, but when starting quarterback Sam Bradford went down for the season that talk was scaled back by most. The rams are still a dangerous team for the Eagles, although the Rams will be unlikely to do most of what the San Francisco 49ers were able to do on defense this past weekend. This is far from the ideal opponent for the Eagles to score a rebound on, but the Eagles should be able to get the offense moving, especially on the ground this week.
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Kevin McGuire is a Philadelphia area sports writer covering the Philadelphia Eagles and college football. McGuire is a member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. Follow McGuire on Twitter @KevinOnCFB. His work can be found on Examiner.com.