The Los Angeles Rams had a mini-bye at the perfect time. While every team except for the Saints will be coming into Week 17 with less than fresh legs, the Rams had some extra time off to rest, but not too much time so as to become stiff.
In addition, they have an easy-on-paper opponent in the New York Giants. It should be a simple win for the team, but there are multiple factors at play to complicate matters. Here’s a look at both teams as the countdown continues for the penultimate game of the regular season.
Week 17 Playoff Picture
The New York Giants are eliminated from playoff contention and currently sit in 13th place in the NFC. At this point, the team is looking to build some positive memories to carry into next season. If they can spoil the dreams of their final two opponents, that would be icing on the cake. The team is 5-10 and their ceiling is 7-10, which, all things considered, would be surprisingly impressive considering their 1-5 start.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Rams are in the best seed they can lock down based on how much time is left in the season and their current record. However, they have not yet clinched a playoff berth and a stumble at this point could prove to be fatal.
According to the NFL’s playoff odds, the Rams currently have a 65% chance of making the postseason. If they defeat the New York Giants, their odds jump to 99%. However, if they lose, their odds drop to just 25%. In other words, this is a playoff game.
With the 49ers on deck, a win heading into potentially the Rams’ most difficult game of the season will be critical. Put simply, there’s a lot of pressure on this week.
Giants’ Offense And Defense
The New York Giants are riding the quarterback carousel with Daniel Jones set to miss the remainder of the season. They had some success with rookie Tommy DeVito, but his viral run with the team appears to have dried up. Veteran backup Tyrod Taylor gave the Philadelphia Eagles fits at points last week and could be poised for a tough showing against the Rams if not taken seriously.
Offensively, the unit has been good for either a quality showing or a lifeless one. There is no in-between. Against the Eagles, the team scored 25 points. One week earlier, against the New Orleans Saints, they scored six points. Against the Packers one week prior to that, they scored 24 points. One game earlier, they scored 10 points.
Basically, Brian Daboll’s offense has alternated 20-plus point showings with 10 points or less. That would put the Giants on pace to have a down week against the Rams, but the NFL loves to throw curveballs as soon as patterns are spotted, so this could change this week.
Los Angeles Rams Offense And Defense
Since getting Kyren Williams back, Matthew Stafford‘s offense has hit a new gear. The Rams have scored 30 points in four of their last five games. Stafford hasn’t thrown an interception since November 26th, and the offense is cooking. Williams has earned at least 100 yards in five of the last six games as well. In their current form, the Rams’ offense is playing like the best in the NFC.
Defensively, however, the team has seen some leaks at times. The most recent one was in the closing stages against the New Orleans Saints when they let Derek Carr fire off a deep touchdown, reviving the Saints’ hopes for a split second in a previously decided game. Then, the previous week, the unit surrendered 20 points in the second half to the Washington Commanders.
For the Los Angeles Rams to have a deep playoff run, they will need the unit to prove they can lockdown opponents for an entire 60-minute game, considering they will surely face stiffer offenses in the playoffs.