A third straight victory for the New York Giants? Can they pull that off today on the road against the 6-8 St. Louis Rams? Let's check the Big Blue View staff picks for some thoughts on that.
Can the Giants extend their winning streak to three? Well, we're going to find out this weekend.
The Rams are struggling on offense after the loss of Sam Bradford, but their defense, particularly the defensive front is dominating. On the other side, the Giants are starting to play like a team with the arrow pointing up. Jason Pierre-Paul, Johnathan Hankins, Devon Kennard, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie are playing some of the best football of anyone at their position. DaMontre Moore and Kerry Wynn are showing promise for next year as well. Eli Manning is wrapping up one of his better seasons and Odell Beckham Jr. has quickly become one of the most exciting players in the whole league. The rookie receiver has become must-see TV while he re-writes Giants' and NFL record books.
All that is great, but unfortunately for Eli Manning, one of the weaknesses of the Giants, their interior offensive line, is matched up on the strength of the Rams, their defensive line.
It's tough to figure out how this game is going to break. Eli Manning was protected well against Tennessee (who, despite all their deficiencies have some real players on their defensive front) and Washington (who have a number of dangerous pass rushers). Also, there is a bit of a difference between Oakland or Washington's offense and Eli Manning.
But, the offensive line has yet to show that they can consistently deal with stunts or blitzes, and against as athletic a defensive line as St. Louis has, that is a bad combination. Eli and Odell can't do much if Eli is running for his life.
I'm going to pick the Giants, but the offensive line makes me uneasy about it
This is going to be a close game. There are strengths and weaknesses on both sides that will be exposed, as the matchups will be exciting to watch. With two rookie of the year candidates on the field at the same time, it's clear that the Giants offense vs the Rams defense is going to be the more interesting battle. The Rams defensive front is one of the best in football and could feast on a crippled, below average offensive line. If Eli Manning isn't on his back, however, it's difficult to imagine anybody on the Rams coming close to covering Odell Beckham Jr.
On the flip side, the Giants defensive front will be able to tee off again on another weak offensive line. With 22 sacks in the last three games, it will be fun to see if they can keep up their torrid pace. The Rams do have the firepower on offense, however. Brian Quick, Tavon Austin, Tre Mason, and Kenny Britt are all capable of hurting a defense, so the Giants need to be careful.
All in all, I think the Giants come out on top. They are playing well and I don't think the Rams have a way to stop the offensive rookie of the year.
Pick: Giants 24, Rams 23
(From Jesse's Week 16 picks against the point spread)
Let's see what we have here, Giants fans. This Rams defense is ferocious especially in the front seven. The Giants offensive line is terrible. Eli Manning's 40-yard dash is slightly slower than the Statue of Liberty's time, so I hope they bring extra ice for after the game. The Giants pass rush has been the league's best the last three games despite playing the worst teams in the league (which coincidentally also coincided with playing the young guys more?), which could give the Rams not-very-special offensive line problems. Nothing that happened in the last three games should influence what the Giants do with their head coach, but I think the next two should. The Rams are one of the toughest teams in the league (physically), the Eagles will likely be in a win and in playoff game against the Giants in week These two will be a true barometer of whether or not the Giants are on the up and up. I really don't know where to go with this game, but I think my final thought is the Giants offensive line can't block anyone and Robert Quinn, Chris Long, Aaron Donald and crew will probably live in the backfield. Hopefully OBJ can keep his ROY (and my Fantasy championship hopes) alive, but this could be ugly.
I am not sure I truly believe that the Giants can go on the road and beat a relatively good team at this point in the season. I want to believe it, and two straight wins over NFL bottom-feeders make it easy to convince yourself they can. Victories over the two-win Tennessee Titans and now four-win Washington Redskins don't mean, however, that the Giants have suddenly morphed into a good team. By the way, who -- other than Philadelphia Eagles' fans -- didn't enjoy the Redskins upset of the Eagles on Saturday? The only down side is that the Giants might not get the opportunity now to be the team that knocks Philly out of the playoffs -- since they will already be out if the Dallas Cowboys win today.
Anyway, back to today's Giants-Rams game.The Giants' victories over Washington and Tennessee mean they are still pretty much what we thought they were, and what they have been most of the past two seasons. That is a team just good enough to -- usually -- defeat mediocre to bad competition, but not good enough to beat winning teams.
The 6-8 Rams are a team with a losing record and a journeyman backup quarterback in Shaun Hill. They are at home, though, and boast a young, aggressive, talented defense. This will provide a good test to see where the Giants actually are in their development.
For no other reason that it feels better to be optimistic than pessimistic I am going to go with the Giants to win here.