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Giants at Rams 2014, Week 16: Five things to watch on Sunday

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What to watch for on Sunday.

Can the Giants continue terrorizing opposing quarterbacks?
Can the Giants continue terrorizing opposing quarterbacks?
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants seek a third straight victory, and a little respect, Sunday when they travel to face the St. Louis Rams. Here are five things to watch during the game.

Battle of the defensive lines

The Giants have 22 sacks in the past three weeks. A revitalized Jason Pierre-Paul (9.5 for the season) leads the charge, along with second-year players Johnathan Hankins and Damontre Moore [film study], surprising undrafted rookie Kerry Wynn and rookie linebacker Devon Kennard. The Giants, missing a consistent pass rush most of the season, suddenly find themselves fifth in the league with 41 quarterback sacks.

The blitz-happy Rams have 36 sacks. Defensive end Robert Quinn has 10.5, rookie defensive tackle Aaron Donald has 8 [Donald vs. Weston Richburg match-up] and defensive end Chris Long is back after missing most of the season.

Can the Giants continue to bring the heat? Can their offensive line handle the pressure from the Rams?

Rams' special teams

St. Louis punter Johnny Hekker is a former high school quarterback who has completed five-of-six passes on fake punts during his three-year NFL career. Two of those were this season, so the Giants will need to be on guard against that.

The Giants also have to be concerned about the Rams' return game. Kickoff returner Benny Cunningham is averaging 28.3 yards per return, and punt returner Tavon Austin gets 10.3 yards per return.

All Odell all the time

What can Odell Beckham accomplish this week? Well, here are a few of the franchise milestones within his reach with two games left in the season:

  • Beckham (71) needs four receptions to surpass Jeremy Shockey (74 in 2002) for the most receptions by a Giants rookie in franchise history.
  • Beckham needs four touchdowns to surpass former Giants RB Bill Paschal (12) for most touchdowns by a rookie in team history. (1943).
  • Beckham needs five receiving touchdowns to record the most in franchise history. The franchise record is currently held by Homer Jones (13 in 1967).
  • Beckham needs nine receptions to join Steve Smith (107 in 2009), Victor Cruz (86 in 2012; 82 in 2011) and Amani Toomer (82 in 2002) as the only players in franchise history to record 80 receptions in a single season.
Weston Richburg vs. Aaron Donald

'Rap' is right. It should be a blast to watch the defensive tackle many Giants fans wanted do battle with the offensive lineman the Giants ended up getting. Donald is having the better rookie season, but there is every reason to believe Richburg will be a quality player for the Giants for a long time. Especially once they move him to center.

Eli's Numbers

Eli Manning is currently at 63.2 percent completions for the season, which would be a career-high. Barely. His previous best was 62.9 percent in 2010. Manning needs 410 yards for the third 4,000-yard passing season of his career. He has currently thrown 13 interceptions, which would be his lowest total since he threw 14 in 2009. His interception percentage of 2.5 is currently the second-lowest of his career, behind only his 2.1 percent mark in 2008. Manning needs seven touchdown passes over the final two games to surpass Dave Krieg for 13th place on the NFL's career touchdown passes list.