Rams vs. Giants matchups: Look for Matthew Stafford to spread ball around
Breaking down how the Rams (4-1) and the New York Giants (1-4) match up heading into their game at 10 a.m. Pacific time Sunday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. The game will be carried on Fox (Channel 11).
When Rams have the ball: Rams receivers have enjoyed individual big games. The question is: When will all of them be involved? In a 26-17 victory over the Seattle Seahawks last week, Robert Woods was the focus, and he responded with 12 catches for 150 yards. Look for quarterback Matthew Stafford to attempt to spread the ball among Woods, Cooper Kupp, Van Jefferson, DeSean Jackson and tight end Tyler Higbee. Stafford has passed for 12 touchdowns, with three interceptions. He has been sacked an NFL-low four times, a credit to coach Sean McVay’s play calls and an offensive line that includes center Brian Allen, guards Austin Corbett and David Edwards, and tackles Andrew Whitworth and Rob Havenstein. The line has paved the way for running backs Darrell Henderson and Sony Michel. Against the Seahawks, the two each carried at least 11 times and scored a touchdown. The Giants’ defensive front features tackle Leonard Williams, the former USC star who was chosen sixth overall by the New York Jets in the 2015 NFL draft. Williams has 1½ sacks and tackle Austin Johnson has three. Cornerback James Bradberry has two interceptions for a secondary that includes former USC star Adoree’ Jackson.
The Rams hope to continue to diversify their offense by having Darrell Henderson and Sony Michel share the load against the banged-up New York Giants.
When Giants have the ball: The Giants offense took a major hit during a 44-20 defeat last Sunday to the Dallas Cowboys. Quarterback Daniel Jones suffered a concussion, running back Saquon Barkley suffered an ankle injury and receiver Kenny Golladay suffered a knee injury. Barkley and Golladay will not play Sunday. Jones practiced Friday and is expected to play. Jones, the sixth pick in the 2019 draft, has passed for four touchdowns, with one interception. He also has rushed for two touchdowns. If Jones does not play or is forced to leave the game, journeyman Mike Glennon would step in. Devontae Booker will start at running back. Receiver Kadarius Toney caught 10 passes for 189 yards against the Cowboys. Receiver Sterling Shepard and tight ends Evan Engram and Kyle Rudolph are other targets. Rams star lineman Aaron Donald was limited in practice last week because of a knee issue but will play Sunday. Cornerback Darious Williams was placed on injured reserve because of an ankle injury, so rookie Robert Rochell, third-year pro David Long and second-year pro Terrell Burgess are being counted upon to step in and allow Jalen Ramsey to continue tormenting offenses from all points on the field.
When they kick: Matt Gay of the Rams will try to bounce back after missing an extra-point attempt and having two kickoffs bounce out of bounds against the Seahawks. Gay has made 10 of 11 field-goal attempts. Johnny Hekker has put nine of 13 punts inside the 20-yard line. Graham Gano has made 11 of 13 field-goal attempts for the Giants.
Gary Klein’s prediction: The Rams must make a cross-country trip, but they should be rested from having last weekend off, following a Thursday game. Without Barkley and Golladay, the Giants will struggle to keep pace.
RAMS 34, GIANTS 17
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