Your eyes do not deceive you, Odell Beckham is dominant. Antics, and consequent hot takes aside, he’s arguably the NFL’s premier home-run threat. Thanks to Pro Football Focus, you don’t simply have to take our word for it.
Beckham is the most effective wide receiver in the league on the slant route, per PFF, thanks in large part to his 66-yard catch-and-run TD against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 6.
Odell Beckham might love kicking nets more than touchdowns. pic.twitter.com/yM4qXBbqfD— SB Nation (@SBNation) October 17, 2016
So far this season Beckham has caught every slant thrown his way, gaining 137 yards and scoring a touchdown. He ranks second among WRs with a yards-per-catch average of nearly 20 on slant routes.
The Los Angeles Rams middle-of-the-pack pass defense (246.2 yards allowed per game, 16th in the NFL) will likely be without top CB Trumaine Johnson, who’s week-to-week with an ankle injury. Another big day could be in store for Beckham and a Giants offense that finally got rolling a week ago.
Or possibly not. Two factors are at play here.
This is the Rams first crack at Beckham since 2014, when his excessive TD celebration led to linebacker Alec Ogletree taking a shot at him on the Giants next drive. What followed was an ugly brawl between the teams, which led to three ejections. Beckham finished the game with 8 catches for 148 yards and 2 TDs. Their secondary is one of the league’s more physical, and they’ll be eager to renew acquaintances.
The second, and more tangible reason the Rams may limit Beckham’s effectiveness, is DT Aaron Donald. PFF rates him (ahead of Denver Broncos LB Von Miller) as the most unblockable pass-rusher in the league.
Donald is smaller than your traditional DT (6-foot-1, 285 pounds), but what he lacks in size he makes up for in ferocity. He’s more productive from the tackle spot than most ends, averaging 5.8 QB hurries per game. Donald has reached the backfield 35 times on 330 snaps played in 2016.
Donald’s college rival Justin Pugh will be tasked with keeping him off of Eli Manning, but the Giants will want to roll double-teams his way often. Pressure on Eli was the biggest hindrance to the Giants offense, which had struggled mightily prior to the Ravens game. On Tuesday, Pugh said Donald is “one of the best defensive tackles in football.”
One way to ensure Beckham and ‘Annette’ won’t enjoy their honeymoon in London? Don’t allow Manning the time to look for his star WR downfield. It worked especially well for the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers. While the Rams defense as a whole isn’t on that same tier, Aaron Donald is an elite level game-changer.