EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - SEPTEMBER 14: Head coach Joe Judge of the New York Giants looks on during warmups before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at MetLife Stadium on September 14, 2020 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

After being embarrassed by the injury-ravaged 49ers, it’s time for the New York Giants to show some pride against the Rams on Sunday.

Jason Leach

Last Sunday’s 36-9 beat down by the San Francisco 49ers might’ve been the lowest point for the New York Giants over the last three seasons. That’s saying something, especially considering the team has gone 12-39 over its last 51 games.

But when you consider the most recent defeat was essentially against the 49ers J.V. team — taking into account all the injuries — it’s hard to argue that this was not the Giants’ most embarrassing loss in recent memory.

They started the game flat, were dominated at the line of scrimmage, and didn’t force a 49ers punt the entire game. Not to mention, Daniel Jones turned the ball over two more times. We know the Giants roster is void of talent, but there’s no excuse for New York’s Week 3 performance.

Now, the Giants will face the Los Angeles Rams, who sport one of the most explosive and innovative offenses led by head coach Sean McVay and quarterback Jared Goff. They additionally employ the best defensive player in football in Aaron Donald.

If the Giants play like they did last week, the Rams may be up by three touchdowns at halftime.

Much of the attention heading into this matchup will be focused on how the offensive line, which has been dominated in all three games this season, will handle Donald.

“Everyone has to be alert. We have to make sure we know where 99 is on every snap,” head coach Joe Judge said. “The thing that makes this guy so unique, I know this is going to sound very generic, but the effort he plays with is just truly relentless. This guy does things, you watch and think ‘wow.’ He really will show up and ruin your day. You watch the Buffalo game, the fourth quarter especially as they were climbing back in the game and playing competitive, this guy almost singlehandedly ended the game for Buffalo with the way he got after the quarterback and the way he played.”

“He’s explosive on runs, explosive in the passing game, he has great instincts,” Judge added. “You watch this guy on the goal line. Buffalo tried to cut him. He just jumped up over the center trying to cut in front of the runner, and then just completely made a stand by himself. These are plays you don’t see every guy in the league being able to do. He’s a unique guy.”

Calling Donald a “unique guy” is an understatement. He’s made the Pro Bowl in each of his first six NFL seasons and is a two-time Defensive Player of the Year (2017, 2018).

Almost as daunting as having to face Donald will be how the Giants defense deals with the Rams passing game, especially if safety Jabrill Peppers is unable to play. This will be a huge step up in class for Big Blue’s unit. In the first three weeks, the Giants went up against Ben Roethlisberger, who hadn’t played in a year due to elbow surgery, Mitchell Trubisky, who was benched the following week, and Nick Mullens, who hadn’t started a game since 2018.

Goff and his top two receivers — Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods — have overwhelmed defenses, averaging 279.3 passing yards per game.

In addition, the Rams ground game with Darrell Henderson Jr. and Malcolm Brown has been very impressive, averaging 170.3 yards per game.

If Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham doesn’t have his unit ready to compete at a high level, Big Blue won’t force a punt the entire game (just like last week).

The Rams are huge favorites. They should be, as they’re vastly more talented than the Giants. But sometimes, football can come down to not letting the guy in front of you get the best of you.

Judge often talks about changing the Giants’ culture. If his team can compete with one of the top teams in the NFC, it’ll be a good first step towards doing just that.

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