The New York Giants brace themselves for their first international matchup since 2007 after a thrilling victory at home. They regained confidence after last week’s resilient comeback, but there are still some underlying obstacles. Here are some things to keep in mind for Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Rams.
Season on the line: The Giants and Rams have a lot at stake as they try to get back on board after a mid-season meltdown. We’re looking at two teams who are 3-3, but have been struggling to maintain consistency in the past few weeks. After a three-game losing streak, the Giants finally bounced back last week with a 27-23 victory over the Baltimore Ravens. But, it didn’t come easy. Even with OBJ’s record-breaking performance, it was a fourth-quarter battle as the Giants relentlessly fought to keep their season alive. The victory was crucial and it tested their willingness to fight, while giving them a new found confidence as they travel abroad. The Rams have the same sense of urgency as they walk into a must-win on Sunday after losing their last two games.
OBJ’s injury: Odell Beckham Jr. had to have a career-best just to pull of a win last Sunday. Now, his health is a huge factor after suffering a hip pointer last week and somehow returning to the game in full-fledged attack mode. It physically took a lot out of him to get back on the field with a stinging hip pain, while the game was on the line. The Rams will be a tougher competitor than the Ravens and they needed OBJ’s best game yet to dig themselves out of a hole last week. Theoretically, he would have to once again take on a huge role but now, the injury might leave him on the sidelines. It is unclear whether the Giants’ offensive leader will play on Sunday, but regardless, Sterling Shepard and Victor Cruz have to step up. OBJ sat out at practice and worked alongside the trainers to subside soreness, but don’t count him out just yet. According to McAdoo, nothing is definitive until game day.
“If he's ready to play in the game, he'll play in the game," McAdoo said. “We’ll take it day by day.”
Bad history: The matchup has been dominated by headlines about the brawl that ensued when the teams faced off two years ago. A fight between Giants’ WR OBJ and Rams’ LB Alec Ogletree resulted in a sideline fiasco that later branded them as rivals. But even with all of the off-field tension, the Giants played at a high level with then rookie OBJ leading the team to victory. Eli Manning also had a memorable performance, finishing the game with three passing TDs and a quarterback rating of 148.8. Manning has traditionally glided past the Rams in previous matchups with some of the best stats of his career. In four career games against the Rams, Manning is 4-0. He has thrown for 1,170 yards, 12 touchdowns and just one interception.
Let’s not forget about the other aspect of history with the Rams. Janoris Jenkins will be playing his former teammates after they decided to prioritize their franchise CB Trumaine Johnson. There does not seem to be any bitterness as the Rams coach has already made comments about Jenkins playing at the highest level out of any CB in the league right now, while stating that he was one of his personal favorites. Jenkins was part of the Giants’ $200 million reconstruction process and he has definitely delivered. With 24 tackles and two game-changing interceptions this season, he lets his playing do the talking.
“I don’t need any extra motivation, man,” Jenkins said. “I play football every day. Me coming out to play football, that is my motivation.”
The Giants are the favorite to win, but with their star player in question, it will be a battle in London.