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Wink Martindale: Rams’ QB Matthew Stafford playing at ‘Hall of Fame-type level’

Giants’ defense will have its hands full on Sunday

New Orleans Saints v Los Angeles Rams
Matthew Stafford
Photo by Ryan Kang/Getty Images

New York Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale on Thursday had high praise for Los Angeles Rams’ quarterback Matthew Stafford, saying he is “playing at a Hall of Fame-type level.”

Stafford and the 8-7 Rams come to MetLife Stadium Sunday hoping to win and clinch an NFC playoff berth against the 5-10 Giants.

“He’s making throws that you just sit there and go, ‘wow.’ From all different kind of arm angles, no looks, all those things you’ve heard about, you’re seeing him do it and they’re playing at a very high level,” Martindale said. “Stafford is playing unreal. I mean, he’s a great football player, but I think that he and (Ravens quarterback) Lamar (Jackson) should be up for the MVP candidate.”

The Rams began the season 3-6, but have gone 5-1 over their last six games. In their last five games, they have score 30 or more points four times while barely missing the 30-point mark in a 28-20 victory over the Washington Commanders.

In the Rams’ last six games, Stafford has thrown 15 touchdown passes and just 2 interceptions. His lowest passer rating in the last five games was 103.1, and he has twice been above 120.0. In his 15th NFL season, the 35-year-old Stafford’s 65.8 QBR is the second-best of his career. Stafford has not thrown an interception in his last four games while throwing for 1,159 yards and 10 touchdowns.

The Rams can throw it, with Stafford having weapons liks wide receivers Cooper Kupp and rookie Puka Nacua. They can run it, with Kyren Williams having gained 1,057 yards rushing in 11 games. Los Angeles is eighth in the NFL in points scored and seventh in yards gained.

“I think that the thing that [Rams head coach[ Sean [McVay] has done is that they’ve made a commitment to the run game and changing their offensive line this year,” Martindale said. “Now, it’s a two-headed monster that you have to deal with. So, they put you in a bind of what you want to try to do and how you’re going try to do it.”

The Giants are 31st in the league in scoring at 14.3 points per game. They have only reached 30 points twice, getting 31 against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 2 and Week 11 vs. the Washington Commanders.

Martindale and his defense likely need to come up with some way to slow the Rams if the Giants are to have any chance of an upset on Sunday.