(3-3) vs Rams (3-3)
The Rams played a back
and forth game in Detroit last Sunday with the Lions. Each team scored just one
touchdown in every quarter, so it was 28-28 at the two minute warning. Detroit
added a field goal, and followed that up with an interception to end the Rams
final drive, leaving them with a 31-28 loss.
The Giants ended their three game losing streak with a 27-23 win over Baltimore.
They kept the fans in suspense, as they didn't take the lead until the fourth
quarter. The Ravens took it back at about the two minute mark, and Eli Manning,
on a fourth-and-one play, threw a 66 yard touchdown pass to Odell Beckham Jr.
- Ravens Wrap-Up
Los Angeles Rams
It was hard on some of
the St. Louis Rams fans when they heard that their team was moving back to Los
Angeles. Many remembered the Rams glory years from 1998 to 2003 with Kurt Warner,
and when he led the team to a Super Bowl victory after the 1999 season. The year
after Warner left in 2004, the Rams had 8 regular season wins and a wildcard victory,
but have not managed to hit that mark since, winning 8 games just once, and less
than that in the rest of the years.
Other than Warner, Giant fans will be
familiar with some of the Rams quarterbacks who have played in the NFC East; Trent
Green, A. J. Feeley, Gus Frerotte, Sam Bradford, and Nick Foles. In 2015, backup
Case Keenum won three of the final four games for the Rams after Nick Foles was
benched. Foles is in Kansas City now and Keenum is the current starter.
Fisher took over the head coaching reigns from Steve Spagnuolo in 2012, after
the Rams finished with a 2-14 record. Fisher has yet to top more than 7 wins in
a single season, and is in the final year of his contract. There had been talk
of an extension, but things quieted down after the Rams lost 28-0 in Week 1 to
the 49ers in San Francisco. The Rams did win their next game, playing at home
against the Seahawks in Los Angeles for the first time, with a 9-3 score.
You just read that the Rams had
no touchdowns, and had scored just 9 points in their first two games, but they
have since done better. The passing attack is their weakest area and they still
need to improve on that. Years ago the Rams made Sam Bradford the the number one
overall pick in the draft, and they did that once again to Jared Goff this year,
drafting him to be their quarterback of the future. The future looked suddenly
eminent after the first game, when Case Keenum completed less than half his passes
while throwing for just 130 yards, and with two interceptions. Keenum has steadily
improved, and even though taking a tough loss to the Lions,
Keenum threw for 321 yards and two touchdowns. He completed 19 straight passes
at one point in the game.
Running back Todd Gurley was named the NFL offensive
rookie of the year last season. His average yards per carry has dropped since
then from 4.8 to 2.9, but he recorded his best average to date last week (4.1)
against Detroit. Gurley had only 14 carries because the Lions had to pay more
attention to him and to stopping the run. That gave Keenum more passing opportunities,
and he used them well. His favorite target was wide receiver Kenny Britt, who
had 7 catches for 136 yards and 2 touchdowns. Tavon Austin, their top receiver
and third best rusher last year, has the second most catches. Brian Quick, with
the most yardage per catch on the team, is off a lingering shoulder injury and
doing the job for them this year at tight end.
The offense did well, but the defense
let down in the final quarter last week in Detroit, when they couldn't protect
a fourth quarter 28-21 lead. A third-and-ten sack on Matthew Stafford was taken
away by a defensive offside penalty. A few plays later, on a third-and-twelve,
a defensive pass Interference call kept Detroit's drive alive. Stafford finished
it off with a touchdown pass to tie the game, and then had his team go ahead 31-28
in the next drive after a field goal.
The Rams defense allowed Stafford to
have a good day throwing four touchdowns, while sacking him just once. Aaron Donald
got that sack, and now he has three on the season. Donald leads the league with
15 quarterback hits and 37 total pressures. If defensive end Robert Quinn had
played, the outcome of this game could have been very different. He and top cornerback
Trumaine Johnson were out for the game, and they later lost tackle Michael Brockers
and cornerback Lamarcus Joyner. Quinn looks to be back, but Brockers and Johnson
will be out for this game with the Giants.
As we saw last week, the Giants
passing attack can be very effective as long as Eli Manning has protection. Robert
Quinn is an expert at forcing fumbles, and if he's back at full strength assisting
Aaron Donald there will be pressure up front. If the offensive line can hold up
against them, Manning should be able to continue where he left off in the passing
game. Last week without cornerback Trumaine Johnson, the
Rams had no real answers for top receivers Golden Tate and Anquan Boldin as they
caught 16 of 19 passes from Matthew Stafford.
Odell Beckham Jr. might not be at his best, still recovering from a hip pointer
from last week's game, but if he's in the game it still makes it tough for opponents
to defend against Sterling Shepard and Victor Cruz. The
Giants rushed for just 38 yards against Baltimore,
and should have an edge here on the Rams, working without run stuffer Michael
The Giants have faced some top notch quarterbacks
in these first six games of the season. Case Keenum had everything going for him
last week, but he's not in that category. The Giants will have an opportunity
to rattle him, if they are actually capable of doing so. Keenum has been sacked
13 times this season, but still the Giants have only six on the season, and two
were from safety Landon Collins. If they can actually bring pressure up front,
this would be the game to show it.
Defensive tackles Jonathan Hankins and
Damon Harrison have had good success against the run, and Todd Gurley can be stopped.
They will have to be very alert for Tavon Austin, as the Rams like to use their
receiver as a runner. A passing play can suddenly become a running play, and it
worked well last year for four touchdowns. Austin ran the ball 52 times for 434
yards, averaging 8.3 yards a carry, and currently is the second leading rusher
on the team.
Rams have lost two straight games since winning three in a row. They
left town fast, right after their loss in Detroit, and arrived in London on Monday.
The Giants didn't board a plane until Thursday evening. That might not have been
the best plan. The Giants haven't traveled well, taking two losses in their last
two away outings, which included just minor
time shifts for late night games. This longer trip includes more jet lag, getting
used to a new time zone, and entails more distractions than usual compared to
playing stateside in an NFL stadium.
The Giants also had to abruptly switch
kickers. Josh Brown successfully kicked 11 out of 12 field goals in the five games
he played this season. Robbie Gould was Chicago's kicker from 2005-15, and he
made 33 of 39 field goal attempts last season. Gould struggled in preseason, was
cut and available, and now he will be taking Brown's place, at least for this
game. Gould's under quite a bit of pressure in this situation, and the Giants
don't really know what they have. This is a game the Giants should win, but the
kicker situation, and late traveling aspect put me off on that happening.
Sunday at 9:30am Giants (3-3)
at Rams (3-3)
Sunday at 1:00pm Vikings (5-0) at Eagles (3-2)
Sunday at 1:00pm
Redskins (4-2) at Lions (3-3)
The Giants are the only NFC East team favored
to win in these games.
have allowed only six passing touchdowns this
Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins
played for the Rams for four seasons.
Steve Spagnuolo was the head coach of the Rams
from 2009-11, (10-38).
Giants will use
a different kicker for the third time in seven games this season.
last played the Rams in 2014, and three players were ejected after a brawl.
beat the Miami Dolphins 13-10 in the NFL's first regular-season game played outside
of North America in 2007, on their way to winning Super Bowl XLII.
Case Keenum threw for a franchise-record 19 consecutive completed passes last
game in Detroit.
Rams have lost their
last six games against the Giants dating back to 2002.
Jeff Fisher is the first NFL coach since the merger to get a fifth season after
having a losing record through his first four seasons.
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Nov 6 - Eagles at Giants.
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