The New York Giants will have their hands full this weekend when they try to win their third straight game. New York has probably been the streakiest team in the NFL this season. They opened up the season by dropping their first two games, before bouncing back with three straight wins. Then, they lost their next seven games, but managed to pull off wins in their last two contests. The Giants will have their hands full this weekend, however, when they visit the Rams in St. Louis.
The Rams were expected to have a strong defense this year, and it has largely been the strength of this team. However, losses early in the season prevented them from being a serious playoff contender. Still, the defense has stepped up in a huge way lately, and in the last three games in particular. They posted two consecutive shut out victories, which is an extremely rare feat that has only been achieved a handful of times in the last few decades. None of their opponents have managed to score any touchdowns against them during that span, and only one opponent, the Arizona Cardinals, even managed to break into the Rams 20-yard line during that stretch, and that was following a turnover deep in Rams territory. St. Louis also held the Broncos talented and explosive offense to only 7 points total in a blowout win. Those are historical level distinctions for a defense that is increasingly looking like an elite unit, and there are probably many teams breathing a collective sigh of relief that this team will not be in this year’s playoffs, given the way that they have been playing as of late.
In the meantime, New York has corrected many of the issues that were troubling them during the seven game losing streak with their two consecutive wins in the last couple of weekends. They dominated the Titans in Tennessee, and then handled Washington, who played surprisingly tough. But those two teams are also struggling, and the Giants will have their hands full when they go on the road to try to win on the road against the Rams, even though both teams have been eliminated from the playoffs. St. Louis is easily the best team that the Giants have faced in the last month, and most experts do not believe the Giants will have a strong showing against the Rams, who are a five-point favorite entering this game on Sunday.
These two franchises share a fascinating rivalry through the years. Both have histories going back many decades, and featuring championship teams. They have met in the playoffs a couple of times in recent decades. The first was a wild card game following the 1984 season, when the Rams were located in Los Angeles. It was a very tight, low-scoring affair that the Giants managed to win, 16-13. But the Rams would win the next playoff contest following the 1989 season, when a 13-13 overtime game ended suddenly with a very quick touchdown pass from Rams quarterback Jim Everett to wide receiver Flipper Anderson, who ran right into the tunnel after catching the winning score. That is an ending that remains one of the most shocking in the history of the Giants franchise. In the early 2000’s, the Giants often gave the Rams a tough game whenever they met, back when St. Louis had a high-octane offense of their own during the days when they had earned the nickname as “The Greatest Show on Turf.” More recently, the Giants earned their first victory of the 2011 season in their home opener against the Rams, in a season that saw New York eventually win the Super Bowl.
The Giants will try to pull out their third straight win, in what would likely be their most impressive win of the season when they renew their rivalry against St. Louis. They have their work cut out for them, however, as the Giants will have their hands full against a talented and physical Rams team that has managed impressive wins this season against San Francisco, Seattle, and Denver. This is the 40th meeting between the two clubs, and the Rams hold a 25-14 lead in those games, overall. Kickoff will be at 4:05 pm ET.
By Charles Bordeau