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Los Angeles Rams vs New York Giants: Matchups to Watch

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The Rams are road favorites, but still need to win these key matchups to come out on top Sunday at the Meadowlands.

NFL: International Series-Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams and New York Giants are coming off their bye weeks in similar situations. The Giants were expected by most to contend in the NFC East while nearly everyone believed the Rams would have growing pains in Sean McVay’s rookie campaign as head coach.

Heading into Week 9, both teams have surprised the NFL. The Giants are plummeting into what looks to be a lengthy offensive rebuild while the Rams are arguably the most surprising team in the NFL with their high flying offense and +74 points differential.

Eli Manning has struggled mightily since Odell Beckham Jr went down for the year and has looked weary behind a bad offensive line. Throw in that former Rams Janoris Jenkins will be suspended for this matchup, and this looks like an easy win for the Rams.

But anyone can win on any given Sunday in the NFL. Which is why the Rams need to come out on top in these pivotal matchups if they are going to be victorious.

Jason Pierre Paul vs Andrew Whitworth

Whitworth has been an absolute stud for the Rams. He’s provided Jared Goff with the confidence to stand in the pocket even when facing elite pass rushers - a complete 180 from the days of Greg Robinson. JPP has faded in recent years, but still has the talent to wreak havok.

Expect Whitworth to continue to stand tall in this one.

Oliver Vernon vs Rob Havenstein

The Giants dropped a lot of jaws in the NFL when they gave Vernon a 5 year, $85 million contract in their free agent frenzy of 2016. While he has played relatively well, it certainly hasn’t been worth more than J.J. Watt.

Havenstein has enjoyed somewhat of a resurgence under the tutelage of Whitworth. He still struggles occasionally and this could be a difficult matchup for Hav to win solo. I’d expect the Rams to have an extra blocker helping the Rams RT in obvious passing situations.

Orleans Darkwa vs Resurgent Rams ILBs

I gave Alec Ogletree and Mark Barron a lot of hell early in the season. But since halftime of the Cowboys game, they’ve led quite the turnaround for the Rams defense. They’ve still had their mistakes, but they seem to have settled nicely into Wade Phillips’ defensive scheme.

Darkwa is still a big unknown - and that could be dangerous for this Rams defense. One one hand, he blistered a very, very good Broncos defense for 117 yards. On the other hand, he was bottled up by the Seahawks defense a week later. The Rams defense is getting better, but it’s not quite on the level of the Seahawks or Broncos.

If the Rams can contain Darkwa, they’ll have a much easier time pinning their ears back and going after Manning.