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Rams-Eagles: Key Players

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Looking at the key players from the Eagles going into Sunday's meeting.

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Rams will be heading to Philadelphia to play the Eagles this Sunday. The Rams were on a bye week last year so they will be heading into Philadelphia 1-2, while the Eagles suffered their first lost of the season against the San Francisco 49ers.

The Eagles might have three wins on the season, but the Rams could pull an upset against the Eagles this week. If they are going to beat the Eagles they will have to pay attention to these key players.

Zach Ertz & Jeremy Maclin

The Eagles have two playmakers on their offense that should worry Ram fans and those players are Zach Ertz and Jeremy Maclin. Both players didn't reach 70 yards or even reach the end zone against the Niners, but they could prove to be headaches for the Rams defense.

Maclin is the big-play receiver for the Eagles, and the Rams defense has been known to allow big plays.  It will be interesting watching him and Janoris Jenkins battle. Ertz has been disappointing the last couple of weeks, but the middle of the Rams defense has been pretty bad, so this could be a great matchup for Ertz.

Nick Foles

Nick Foles took the NFL by storm in his first season as a full time starter in 2013. This year things have begun to unravel for him and he's starting to trend downwards. Don't take my word for it here's Bleeding Green Nation writer Brandon Lee Gowton on his team's quarterback play.

Nick Foles needs to play better, and that's not the first time that's been said this season. Like McCoy, Foles does not look 100%, and he is playing behind a less-than-ideal offensive line. But also like McCoy, Foles cannot be completely absolved of blame. There are times where he is holding onto the ball too long. There are other times where he is missing open receivers. On Sunday against the 49ers he overthrew a number of open targets. Through the first four games of the season, Foles has only played one game where he's look really good. That game was last week against the Washington Redskins. One good game in four attempts just isn't good enough. Again, Foles needs to be better.

Gowton also provided stats from Pro Football Focus which looks at the Foles when he wasn't pressured.

Nick Foles was obviously not good. Not all of the blame can be shifted on the offensive line. Even when Foles had time, he didn't execute. Take a look at his stats from plays where he wasn't pressured: 17/30 (56.7%), 153 yards, 5.1 y/a, 0 TD, 1 INT, 56.7 rating. Bad.

Taking it a step further, Foles currently ranks 35th out of 36 eligible quarterback in PFF's "Accuracy Percentage" stat. This stat is like regular completion percentage except it adjusts for "dropped passes, throw aways, spiked balls, batted passes, and passes where the quarterback was hit while they threw the ball - factors that hurt the quarterback's completion percentage but don't help show how accurate they are." So even when Foles' completion percentage is adjusted for errors that aren't his fault, the result is still really bad.

The Offensive line

Against the San Francisco 49ers the Eagles offensive line didn't play great, but you would assume so since they only allowed one sack against the 49ers. Sometimes the stats don't tell the whole story however, since Nick Foles was hurried a few times and they couldn't open up running lanes for last year's star running back LeSean McCoy. The main reason that this unit played poor was the fact that three of their starting did not play in the game. This week could prove to be different when right tackle Lane Johnson returns to the starting lineup after missing the first four games under a league suspension.

Malcolm Jenkins

Jenkins has been a pleasnt surprise for the Eagles. When the they signed him they more than likely thought thay they were bringing in a stop gap option, but instead he's currently ranked in PFF top-five safeties, he also has three interceptions on the season. Jenkins will be the player on the defensive side of the field that Rams starting quarterback Austin Davis (or Shaun Hill) will have to avoid.