Following last week’s 36-9 shellacking at the hands of the injury-depleted San Francisco 49ers, the New York Giants’ approval rating is at an all-time low. Fans are equal parts furious and deflated after the embarrasing defeat put the team’s record at 0-3. No shortage of blame has been doled out to all possibly culpable parties. From ownership, to the front office, to the coaching staff, to the players, criticism has been levied at every level of the Giants organization.
General manager Dave Gettleman has received the largest heap of opprobrium. Only four players remain from Jerry Reese’s tenure, meaning this team is almost entirely Gettleman’s creation. That the many glaring holes on this roster (offensive line, pass rush, cornerback) are the same that existed when Gettleman took over is a damning statement on his performance. In fact, he even made a weakness where there was none at receiver by trading Odell Beckham Jr. away. Barring a miraculous turnaround from this seemingly talent-barren team, Gettleman’s firing at the end of the season is a foregone conclusion.
Big Blue will attempt to get the miracle started against the 2-1 Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. The Rams have started the year playing very good football. Their offense has been sharp after looking sluggish at times last season. In lineman Aaron Donald and cornerback Jalen Ramsey, they have two elite defenders that are leagues better than anybody on the Giants. They were a very questionable pass interference penalty away from beating the Buffalo Bills last week and staying undefeated.
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Here’s an overview of everything you need to know ahead of Sunday’s game, followed by a prediction for the final score.
Where and When
SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California on Sunday at 4:05 p.m. EST/1:05 p.m. PST
Most Concerning Matchup: DT Aaron Donald vs. C Nick Gates
The Giants should be afraid of Donald no matter what. The prospect of a sophomore undrafted free agent starting his first season at a new position having to block him is downright terrifying. Gates has already had to face very good defensive tackles in Pittsburgh’s Cam Heyward and Chicago’s Akiem Hicks, but Donald is a different specimen altogether. There’s simply nobody else with the pass rushing ability Donald has from the interior. Gates will get help, as New York will make sure Donald sees a double team more often than not. But if Gates can’t at least hold his own against the five-time All-Pro, it could be another long day for quarterback Daniel Jones and company.
Most Promising Matchup: TE Evan Engram vs. SS John Johnson III
With star running back Saquon Barkley out for the season, Engram needs step up as the primary playmaker for this Giants’ offense. His speed and athleticism should still make him an explosive weapon in the middle of the field. The fourth-year tight end has had a rough start to the season, but this Rams game represents an opportunity to find his footing. Los Angeles let coverage linebacker Cory Littleton go in free agency, meaning the task of marking Engram will likely fall on the safety Johnson. The Boston College product has developed into a solid player, now in his fourth season. But at 6’0, he’ll be at a size disadvantage against the 6’3 Engram. If Engram can make some early plays and demand bracket coverage in the middle of the field, things could open up for secondary options like Golden Tate and Kaden Smith.
Keys to Victory
The Giants are 0-3, coming off a humiliating loss, and fans hate their guts. Might as well throw caution to the wind. Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett’s play calling has been far too conservative. New York has rarely pushed the ball down the field. Their run game has been vanilla and unproductive. Garrett needs to give Jones a bright green light to throw the ball deep, even if it means greater risk of an interception. Whatever trick plays Garrett has up his sleeve need to start being called liberally.
New York will be at a talent deficit to most teams they play the rest of the way. Time to jump on the high-variance roller coaster and hope for the best results.
Final Score Prediction: Rams 31 – Giants 16
The Rams have the edge in every conceivable category. Coaching, star power, depth, experience, and anything else you can name is in favor of Los Angeles. New York at least played competitively in losses the first two weeks, but last week’s thrashing at the hands of the 49ers showed how far away this team truly is. Rams head coach Sean McVay will mercilessly exploit the Giants’ weaknesses just like Kyle Shanahan did, and the final result won’t be much prettier.