1. Putting the pressure on
Whether the Giants get to Rams’ second-year quarterback Sam Bradford will go a long way in deciding a winner. Bradford, who’s nursing an injured finger on his throwing hand, is listed as probable, but could be a sitting duck against a pass rush that will likely get defensive end Justin Tuck back.
Tuck, who missed last week’s game with a neck stinger, is arguably the one pass rusher the Giants can’t afford to lose. Osi Umenyiora will most likely miss the game, but Tuck’s bookend will be the electric Jason Pierre-Paul, who tallied two sacks last week. The Eagles racked up five sacks against St. Louis last week and despite all that “Dream Team” talk, Philadelphia can’t match New York’s front four. If the Eagles can get to him, imagine what a nearly healthy Giants’ D-Line could do.
2. A brand new Cadillac
The Rams’ franchise running back Steven Jackson will not play tonight, due to an injured quad. Jackson is the team’s workhorse, but without him St. Louis will be forced to use former Buccaneers running back Carnell “Cadillac” Williams as the featured back. While Williams acquitted himself nicely last week in a loss to the Eagles (19 carries for 91 yards), he’s nowhere near the level of Jackson. Stopping the run is paramount for the Giants, as it’ll force Bradford into long down and distances. St. Louis was just 2-of-12 on third downs last week, so if Big Blue can force the Rams into that same type of inadequacies they should roll.
3. Third and … convert!
Conversely, the Giants need to convert on their third downs. Last week in Washington, the Giants converted just one of their 10 third-down opportunities. It’s an ongoing downward trend for Big Blue, as they only converted on 36 percent last year — good for the bottom half of the league. And their 3-of-11 fourth down conversions were dead last in 2010. They didn’t get off to a good start last week, either, as they failed to gain a yard on 4th-and-1. The Giants need to rectify their third-down problems if they expect to shake off the pesky Rams.
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.