How Goff And The Rams Beat Jones And The Giants
After the New York Giants lost to the San Francisco 49ers with backup quarterback Nick Mullens by a score of 36-9, it seems that Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams are also set to coast to another win. However, this early game against the Giants is eerily similar to another team that had just been in the Super Bowl, went 9-7 the next season, and started rolling in September the season after that: the Denver Broncos.
Those who remember watching the Broncos in 2017 should remember that they also rolled through September, starting 3-1 with the first win of the season being a result of a missed field goal and the only loss being to the Buffalo Bills in the third game of the season. The Broncos also faced a Giants team that was missing some of their best players due to injuries. Denver ended up losing the game by almost two touchdowns and went 5-11 that season. They haven’t been above .500 since.
Of course, the odds that history repeats itself are extremely slim. Although, Goff and the Rams cannot give up anything cheap and easy, especially after their comeback attempt fell short against the Buffalo Bills in Week 3. They need to treat this game with respect to make sure they don’t drop what should be a relatively easy game.
The biggest losses for the Giants are expected to be wide receiver Sterling Shepard and running back Saquon Barkley. This really damages their offense as Barkley is the most explosive player on their team and Shepard will be missed as well. As for the Rams, offensive guard Joseph Noteboom and possibly running back Cam Akers will be out for this game. The Rams are much better off with their injuries than the Giants as Noteboom’s replacement, David Edwards, is actually playing much better to the tune of a 36.5-point better rating according to Pro Football Focus. As for Akers, the Rams have Darrell Henderson who has been rolling during the last two games so they should not miss him if he doesn’t end up playing.
Offensive And Defensive Rankings
The Rams offense is currently ranked as the third-best in the league, being ranked seventh in passing and fourth in running. They’ll be facing a middling defense ranked at 13th-best, including being the 10th-best against the pass and 20th-best against the run. Based on the gap between the two teams, it is pretty clear that the Rams should be able to do work against the Giants’ defense.
On the other hand, the Rams defense is ranked 18th while their defense against the pass is ranked 21st and their defense against the run is ranked 18th. Meanwhile, the Giants’ offense sits at the bottom of the league at 31st overall while being 26th in terms of passing and the worst-ranked offense in terms of rushing.
Put simply, the Rams have the edge on offense and defense in terms of stats going into this game. This makes the gameplan relatively simple.
High-Level Gameplan Do’s And Dont’s
Going into the game, the Rams will want to use the run more than the arm of Goff to exploit the Giants run defense (which plays directly into Head Coach Sean McVay’s offense). On the flip side, the Rams should not get cocky and try to push the ball down the field through the air to “make a statement.” As a whole, the team should not try to show off how much better they are, or else it could blow up in its face. In fact, with the Giants having the 10th-best passing defense in the league, the Rams would be playing directly into their strength with this mindset.
Defensively, the Rams need to prioritize playing against the pass over trying to stop the run. With the injury to Barkley and already being 0-3 with the most recent game being the biggest loss of the season, the Giants will likely be pass-heavy coming out the gate and too impatient to run the ball with anyone not named “Saquon Barkley.” The defense can take advantage of that.
Alternatively, the Rams should not go for the shutout and try to blow up quarterback Daniel Jones on most downs through heavy blitzes. If the Rams do this, Jones will eventually find a weakness to exploit in the man-to-man secondary and that could pose big problems for the Rams.
The Giants will likely try to load the box early, forcing Goff to pass on third down after stopping runs on first and second down. They also will want to make up for their horribly ranked run defense. To counter this, the Rams should use screens early to negate the stacked boxes and then make some easy, quick passes when they start playing for the screen. Halfback angle routes would decimate man-to-man blitzes that also cover the screen.
If the Giants were not 0-3 and thinking emotionally, they would be smart to fake blitz and then drop into short zones. This could force the Rams to throw an early interception. However, if they did start fake blitzing, the Rams could just run right at the fake blitz right as the linebackers that had been coming up start backing off which could open big holes for the running back. Then, once the defense actually does real blitzes, the Rams can go back to screens and quick passes.
As a whole, the defense should start out playing deep zones such as Cover 4 or Cover 6 which would force Jones to dump the ball off for small gains. The goal would be to see if the Giants 31st-ranked offense can do 10-or-more-play drives. During these drives, the odds are extremely high that there will be a false start or an offensive holding call that puts the Giants in a hole in which they cannot get out. Additionally, the defense can send a blitz to the quarterback’s blind side every once in a while to keep the offense honest and, if well-timed, could force a turnover. Eventually, the offense will break itself.
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Top Matchups To Exploit And Avoid
For the offense, Goff should be picking on cornerback Isaac Yiadom on throwing plays no matter if the matchup is one of the receivers named Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, or tight ends Tyler Higbee or Gerald Everett. Yiadom has a 42.5 PFF rating and should be easy to exploit. On the flip side, it might be a good idea to try to avoid linebacker Blake Martinez when possible as, while not exactly dominant, he is one of the best defenders on their team with a 76.4 rating per PFF.
Defensively, top cornerback Jalen Ramsey should be shadowing Golden Tate, which should take him out of the equation. The rest of the cornerback matchups are pretty evenly matched. The biggest issue for the Rams in this defense will be the linebackers matched up against tight end Evan Engram and running backs Devonta Freeman and Dion Lewis. It will be up to the rest of the defense to help out the linebackers when possible. Otherwise, the Giants might be able to take advantage. The biggest question in this game will be whether the linebackers can cover and not be the leak that sinks the ship.
Don’t Get Cocky, Kid
In the end, there is almost no good reason why Goff and the Rams should lose this game. They have a better roster, a better coaching staff, and they are healthier. Basically, the Rams will win this game if they approach it in a mature fashion with respect. If not, they could find themselves in an early hole which could be problematic, especially if the Giants are able to pick on the linebackers throughout the game.