Rams vs. Giants: Seven Things To Watch
Rams vs. Giants: Seven things to watch
By Jim Thomas
Monday, September 19, 2011
Ready for some muscle-ball?
Four of the Rams' first six games are against NFC East teams. After the Rams fell short against the speed and big-play ability of Philadelphia, tonight's NFC East foe presents a different challenge. The Giants are big and physical on defense and still can get after the passer. On offense, they like to run and use play-action passing. "It's going to be smash-mouth football," safety Quintin Mikell said. "So it's more in a sense traditional football. Lining up and seeing who's tougher kind of football."
In massive Brandon Jacobs (264 pounds) and speedy Ahmad Bradshaw, the Giants have a potent thunder-lightning combination at running back. "Sometimes you can't tell which one's thunder, and (who's) lightning," Mikell said. "They both can run. They both can break tackles. And they both have breakaway speed. So they're a tough combo." They combined for 2,058 yards rushing and 373 yards receiving last season. But the Giants ran the ball only 20 times last week against Washington and weren't very effective.
Dynamic duo II
The Giants no longer have WR Steve Smith or TE Kevin Boss, so they're searching for answers at tight end and No. 3 wideout. But Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham are still around, and together they form one of the league's more dangerous WR tandems. "They're both big-play guys; they can both get down the field and stretch you vertically," Mikell said. They combined for 1,996 yards receiving and 20 TDs last season. Nicks is clearly the No. 1 option, but he's questionable for tonight with a knee injury.
During a radio appearance in August, Eli Manning (below, left) said he considers himself a top 5 quarterback in the league and in Tom Brady's class. But Manning, the MVP of Super Bowl XLII, didn't play like it against Washington. The Giants converted only one of 10 third-down opportunities and managed just 102 yards of offense in the second half, and Manning had a tipped pass intercepted and returned for a TD. Manning says the Giants need to establish their offensive identity; the Rams hope that doesn't happen tonight.
The Rams were very effective blitzing the Eagles in Week 1; they just had all kinds of trouble getting Michael Vick on the ground once they broke through the line. Vick was sacked three times. Manning is much more of a stationary target, so if the Rams can duplicate last week's pressure, they could double that total tonight. Manning was sacked four times in the second half against Washington operating behind a revamped line that no longer includes past mainstays Shaun O'Hara at center and Rich Seubert at guard.
The teams have met eight times since the move to St. Louis, with the Rams winning the first four and the Giants taking the next four. New York topped 40 points in both of the most recent meetings (2008 and 2005), with Manning throwing a combined seven TD passes, with no INTs and a passer rating of 125.5 in those games. But only 10 members of the current Rams roster were with the team that was blown out 41-13 in '08, including just three probable defensive starters tonight (James Hall, Chris Long, Justin King).
Spags' return to New York
They text each other "good luck" at start of the season and look for each other at the NFL scouting combine and the owners' meetings. When Steve Spagnuolo (above)needs advice on practice schedules or meetings, he never hesitates to call old friend Tom Coughlin, coach of the Giants. "He is a great resource and has always been terrific with that," Spagnuolo said. He also called Coughlin after drafting Sam Bradford for hints on the care and handling of a No. 1 overall pick at QB. Coughlin had Manning in 2004.
Re: Rams vs. Giants: Seven Things To Watch
Eli never said he was a top 5 quarterback. He was asked if he was in Tom Brady's class, and he said he thinks he is. He never specified a number and it was an obvious trap question to make it a big deal. He is in top brady's class in terms of being an nfl quarterback and an NFL champion and superbowl MVP.