(1-6) vs Rams (5-2)
The Rams have
won four of their last five games prior to their bye week. The most recent win
was a 33-0 trashing of the Arizona Cardinals
at Twickenham Stadium in London, England.
Giants lost 24-7 to the Seattle Seahawks in their game right before their bye
week. They had their first season win against the Denver Broncos just before that,
but Seattle exposed their weaknesses.
- Seahawks Wrap-Up
Los Angeles Rams
Rams fans remember back
to the 1998 - 2003 Kurt Warner era and how he led the St. Louis Rams to a Super
Bowl victory after the 1999 season. Warner's Greatest Show on Turf was back two
years later after an NFL-best 14–2 regular season record for Super Bowl XXXVI,
where they lost to New England. The year after Warner left in 2004, the Rams had
8 regular season wins and a wildcard victory, but have managed to win 8 games
just once since then, and less than that over the rest of the years.
Fisher took over the head coaching reigns from Steve Spagnuolo in 2012, after
the Rams finished with a 2-14 record. Fisher never got the Rams past 7 wins and
last year he was the first NFL coach since
the merger to get a fifth season after having a losing record through the first
four. Hopes might have been that Fisher could provide some stability as the team
made its move back to Los Angeles. After a very poor start and a 42-14 loss to
Atlanta, Fisher was let go. Special teams coordinator John Fassel (Jim Fassel's
son) was the interim head coach for the final three games. The Rams finished with
a 4-12 season and Fassel returned to his former position.
Sean McVay, the offensive
coordinator for the Washington Redskins from 2014–2016, became the youngest head
coach (30 years old) in NFL history when he signed up for the job with the Rams.
Until their new stadium is completed, the Rams will play at the Coliseum, where
they played for 34 seasons (1946–1979), before moving to Anaheim Stadium in Orange
County in 1980. They then moved to St. Louis in 1995.
Last year the Rams gave up six draft
picks in order to move up and select Jared Goff as their quarterback for the future.
With Case Keenum starting nine games, and with the 4-5 team last in points scored,
Goff was pushed into service. Golf did about as well as another former first round
overall pick if you remember his first season starts as a rookie, Eli Manning
(1-6). The Rams lost all their remaining seven games, but that was last year.
Now working with new coaching, more experience under his belt, and with a better
offensive line, Golf has now gone from zero wins to five out of seven. It certainly
helped that they signed veteran tackle Andrew Whitworth in the offseason. Golf
was sacked 26 times last year and now only 10 in the same number of games.
The Rams, a team that had finished with the least amount of points scored per
game (14), is now second in the league, averaging 30.3 per game. Running back
Todd Gurley has also benefited from the offensive line improvements. Gurley, the
offensive rookie of the year in 2015, was working behind an offensive line ranked
amongst the worst of the lot. The running game has shown major improvement, going
from next to last place to sixth, averaging 127.6, compared to 78.2 yards per
game. Gurley is productive in more ways than one, and has as many receptions as
wide receiver Robert Woods, a free agent they added to boost the passing game.
The Rams also drafted wideout Cooper Krupp in the third round and it's all working
Although they improved last year
from the one before in overall passing and rushing defense, they slipped in some
other areas. Interceptions, sacks and points allowed were all down, and below
average. When head coach Sean McVay took over, he brought in Wade Phillips to
run his defense, and things have improved in all key areas, with the exception
of rushing yardage per game. The Rams have allowed 123 yards per game on the ground
as they adjust to the transition from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense.
It could be
important this game as the Giants had their best rushing performances in the two
games (152 yards, 148 yards) prior to the Seahawks shutting them down realizing
that Eli Manning's new receivers needed minimal coverage. Orleans Darkwa still
averaged 3.9 yards a carry in that Seattle loss. If the Giants can get something
going with their passing game, and not be so one dimensional, they may cause more
problems for the Rams than they are expecting.
Two games ago in Denver, running
back Orleans Darkwa had 21 carries for 117 yards, the most in his career. The
Giants went with 32 runs and just 19 passes, and they pulled off a surprising
win over the Broncos, who still currently rank second in run defense, allowing
just 73 yards a game. The Giants 148 total rushing yards made the Seahawks take
notice, and they made run stopping a priority, forcing Eli Manning to throw more
to his inexperienced group of wide receivers, and it worked for them.
with the bye, the Giants have had a full two weeks to get their pass catchers
on board. Sterling Shepard is back for this game, and would now be considered
the go-to receiver, with Odell Beckham, Jr. and Brandon Marshall gone for the
season. In the past two games the wide receivers have caught a total of only seven
passes, and Shepard will draw some coverage off them.
Tight end Evan Engram
has become an important target for Manning and has caught a touchdown in each
of the last two games. Engram now leads all rookie tight ends in receptions (30)
and receiving yards (342). Center Weston Richburg has missed the last three games
while on concussion protocol and had been ruled out for this game. Now the Giants
have placed him on injured reserve. Brett Jones has played in Richburg's place
and has done well. Offensive lineman Justin Pugh is out for this game, and Bobby
Hart will be the starting right tackle.
defense is up against the second-best offense in the NFL. Aside from injuries
to players who are out for this game, linebackers Jonathan Casillas and B.J. Goodson,
defensive ends Olivier Vernon and Kerry Wynn, the Giants have spotted the Rams
cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who has been suspended for this game. Cornerback Donte
Deayon is listed as questionable, and since they have placed center
Weston Richburg on injured reserve, cornerback Tim Scott has been signed off the
practice squad. None of this sounds good especially when you consider that the
Rams offense is ranked first (49.0) on third downs, up against a Giants defense
ranked 22nd (40.8) on third downs.
On a positive note, fifth-round pick defensive
end Avery Moss played well in the last game with the Seahawks, forcing a fumble
that led to the Giants scoring. The Giants also picked up veteran defensive end
Devin Taylor, who was with the Giants during preseason, but did not make the final
cut. Jason Pierre-Paul came up with three sacks in the Denver game, and he was
able to get consistent pressure on Russell Wilson in the last game. Rams quarterback
Jared Goff is not as elusive as Wilson, but getting past tackle Andrew Whitworth
is not an easy task.
Giants will play a team coming off a bye week for the third game in a row. It's
not as daunting as it sounds as the Giants were also on a bye. If you want some
hope, look what happened the last time Sterling Shepard led the way without Odell
Beckham Jr. playing (game 1). Shepard caught 7 of 8. Evan Engram was 4 of 5. Shane
Vereen 9 of 10. Roger Lewis 4 of 6. I'm not making it up, just look at that completion
ratio with the same players you'll have on the field this Sunday.
go into why they scored only 3 points and lost to the Cowboys right now. We're
busy dishing out hope here, and hey, the running game has showed some promise
with Orleans Darkwa. Also, the Rams are traveling
across the country and have an early kickoff, which could work against them. So
there, what more can I say to make you feel good about this game?
Sunday at 1:00pm Rams (5-2)
at Giants (1-6)
Sunday at 1:00pm Broncos (3-4) at Eagles (7-1)
4:05pm Redskins (3-4) at Seahawks (5-2)
Sunday at 4:25pm Chiefs (6-2) at Cowboys
The Eagles and Cowboys are the NFC East teams favored to win in these
Eli Manning has not lost a game as a starter against the Rams (5-0) .
Giants have allowed a touchdown to a tight
end in all seven of their games this season.
wide receivers, just 7 catches in the last two games, had their lowest two-game
total since 1996.
Giants have won their
last 7 against the Rams, their longest active winning streak against one opponent.
running back Todd Gurley has 8 touchdowns on the year, 5 running and 3 receiving.
Wade Phillips has been a head coach or defensive coordinator for nine NFL teams.
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