Despite a two-touchdown spread for the New York Giants against the Los Angeles Rams, there are several matchups to keep an eye on.
The New York Giants have a tall task ahead on Sunday as they take on the Los Angeles Rams (2-1). The Rams have mismatches on both sides of the ball which is why they’re a two-touchdown favorite. Many expect this game to mirror the Rams’ 51-17 victory over the Giants in Week 9 of the 2017 season.
But head coach Joe Judge feels confident his team will respond well after being embarrassed 36-9 by the 49ers last week.
“Going based on the way they’ve worked and the energy and urgency they’ve brought to every meeting and practice, really well,” Judge explained. “Our focus is on the Rams right now. Last week is done. Regardless of the result, you turn the page and move on to the next opponent, and right now, we’re focused on LA.”
How the Giants fare on Sunday will come down to these key matchups.
Aaron Donald against the Giants offensive line
Based on how poorly the Giants offensive line has played in the first three weeks of the season, the expectation is that Aaron Donald, who is the best defensive player in the league, will have a field day. Look for him to make life miserable for quarterback Daniel Jones and the Giants running backs.
Center Nick Gates will have to deal with Donald often but don’t be surprised if the Rams move Donald across the line depending on the down and distance. If Donald wreaks havoc the way many expect, the Giants will have difficulties scoring all afternoon.
Blake Martinez against the Rams running backs
Inside linebacker Blake Martinez has been one of the few bright spots for the Giants this season as he leads the team in tackles with 30. The Rams are averaging 170.3 yards per game on the ground led by running backs Darrell Henderson Jr. and Malcolm Brown.
It will be imperative for Martinez to fight off Rams blockers and find ways to get to Henderson and Brown at or near the line of scrimmage. The Rams are averaging 4.6 yards per carry for the season and if that continues on Sunday, not only will the Rams run all over the Giants, but their play action will be effective as well.
Jalen Ramsey on Darius Slayton
Since his six catches for 102 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1 against the Steelers, Slayton’s production has dipped dramatically. In the last two games, he has six catches for 86 yards and no scores.
If the Giants are going to get anything going offensively, Slayton has to become more involved. The Rams have one of the best corners in the NFL in Jalen Ramsey. It’s unlikely Ramsey will shadow Slayton but those two will be matched against one another throughout the course of the game.
Slayton has to show he can compete with one of the best corners in the game, to prove he has the potential to be a true No. 1 receiver going forward.
Giants secondary vs. Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods
James Bradberry has had a solid start to his Giants career as he leads the NFL in pass breakups with nine. The rest of the secondary has been shaky at best. Last week Isaac Yiadom made his first start of the season opposite Bradberry and will likely start again. Safety Jabrill Peppers has already been ruled out and Julian Love is questionable as he’s dealing with a knee and ankle injury.
James Bradberry has broken up 9 passes this season, the most in the NFL pic.twitter.com/NrKJ3KPb4P
— New York Giants (@Giants) October 1, 2020
The Rams have a dynamic duo at wide receiver in Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. So far this year the duo has combined for 31 receptions for 421 yards and two touchdowns.
It’s hard to deal with Kupp and Woods with a healthy and experienced secondary, let alone the inexperienced unit the Giants will put on the field on Sunday. Quarterback Jared Goff will look for his two best receivers early and often. Bradberry will be able to hold his own against whoever he’s matched up with. But other members of the secondary will have to step up their game.