The Giants (5-9) are on a roll lately – well, a roll for them, anyway – as they look to win their third-straight game against the St. Louis Rams (6-8).
Both teams are well-coached, have premium pass rushers, and standout rookies who spark the offense.
Giants’ head coach Tom Coughlin and Rams’ lead man Jeff Fisher have history dating back to their battles in the AFC (Coughlin at Jacksonville and Fisher in Tennessee), so they should know each other’s every move.
The defensive fronts of both teams are also menacing with the Giants corralling the quarterback 41 times on the year, while the Rams have registered 36.
To finish off the mirror image, New York has a first-year player who is the likely favorite to win the Rookie of the Year award in Odell Beckham Jr. while St. Louis finally found its lead running back in Tre Mason – team high in yards (661), touchdowns (three), and longest scoring play (89 yards) — who is a third-round gem that they nabbed with the 75thoverall pick.
Metro breaks down key storylines to follow.
1.The Big ‘O’
It seems like everyone has been watching Beckham. And rightfully so, because since missing the first four games with a lingering hamstring injury, Beckham has set the league on fire. The wideout didn’t make his debut until Week 5 against the Atlanta Falcons. And despite the relatively slow start when he totaled 10 catches for 106 yards and three touchdowns in his first three games, since then he has averaged 8.7 catches and 123.7 yards a game and set an NFL rookie record with seven consecutive games with at least 90 receiving yards. There are two games remaining and Beckham already shares the lead among all rookies with 71 receptions (tied with Miami’s Jarvis Landry) and is tops with 972 yards and nine touchdowns. The Rams would be wise to shade as many defenders as possible unless they get added to the list of victims.
2. Conquer the Hill
The Giants’ pass rush has been as impressive as their rookie standout in recent weeks, as they’ve tallied 22 sacks in the last three games. Defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul, Demontre Moore, and Kerry Wynn have terrorized opposing quarterbacks, while rookie linebacker Devon Kennard has been the blitzing menace that Big Blue hasn’t had in years. Rams’ starting quarterback Shaun Hill is a cagey veteran who is as competitive as they come and likes to extend plays. Should Hill hold on to the ball as he is accustomed to doing, the Giants will once again rack up impressive sack and hit totals.
3. Four score
The Rams’ defensive front four entered the season as the unquestioned best. And while they endured a collective slump to start the year, they’ve been as hot as any unit over the last two months. When you dominate Peyton Manning (two sacks, two interceptions, and seven points allowed) and Philip Rivers (three sacks and a forced fumble) in consecutive weeks, you’re doing something right. St. Louis plays in an NFC West division that’s littered with top-flight defenses, but they sport the best pure pass rush in the league – led by defensive end Robert Quinn (10.5 sacks) and standout rookie defensive tackle Aaron Donald (eight) — so Eli Manning and Co. should be on high alert.