The Los Angeles Rams are in the midst of the final stretch of the season. On Sunday, they’ll have another must-win game against a winnable team when they go up against the New York Giants. Matthew Stafford has been on a hot streak lately, having not thrown an interception in four consecutive games. The Giants aggressive defense will provide a different kind of challenge, but Los Angeles will need their quarterback to once again play a clean game and continue his hot streak. Here are five keys to victory against the Giants.
1. Don’t Give Giants Opportunities to Steal the Game
It’s no secret that the Rams are the more talented team and should win this game against the Giants. However, the Giants will also look for any crack to make their way into this game. The last time Stafford went up against a Wink Martindale defense, he threw two interceptions, including a pick-six. Stafford has been playing clean football as of late and will need to keep it that way against a Giants defense that will be looking to make a play.
This also leads into defense and special teams. The Giants have playmakers on offense with the issue mostly being the ability to get them the ball. Jalin Hyatt has big play ability and Wan’Dale Robinson can be difficult to tackle. New York doesn’t have great special teams, but that’s a place they’ll likely be looking to take advantage of when it comes to the Rams. In order to avoid an upset, Los Angeles needs to play sound football.
2. Utilize screens on offense
There is no other team that blitzes more on defense than Martindale and the Giants. The Rams have handled stunts and blitzes better up front as of late, but Martindale is known to get creative and stay aggressive. Sean McVay will need to dial up some screens to tight ends Davis Allen and Tyler Higbee. It wouldn’t be surprising if McVay also tried to get Kyren Williams more involved in the passing game on screens.
Davis Allen has the size, receiving and YAC ability to excel in the middle of the field. A true "seam buster" at TE.— Blaine Grisak (@bgrisakTST) December 14, 2023
Love these delayed releases. Clear routes from Kupp and Nacua open up middle of the field. Nothing but open space for Allen. pic.twitter.com/aHqtF0hvk1
By utilizing screens, the Rams can use the Giants’ aggressiveness on defense against them. This should set up some easy throws for Stafford and allow him to get into a rhythm. The Rams offense will still take their shots, but they should be able to create some explosives in the screen game against this defense.
3. Ride Kyren Williams into the New Year
Kyren Williams has rushed for over 100 yards in three consecutive games. He’ll have an opportunity to make it four against the Giants. So far this season, the Giants rank 27th in run defense DVOA and 26th in run defense EPA. Dexter Lawrence is a force in the middle of the New York defensive line, but there will still be plenty of room on the ground.
The Giants will likely try to make this a physical game up front. Unlike some years in the past, that seems to be the kind of game that the Rams want to play. The offensive line is more willing to initiate battles up front and they’re winning those battles. In a must-win game on the road, expect the Rams to turn to Williams who has played a big role in the offense as of late.
4. Contain Saquon Barkley
With Tyrod Taylor at quarterback, the Giants will be looking to Saquon Barkley on the ground to spark the offense. Outside of games against the Las Vegas Raiders and Dallas Cowboys, when Barkley has 15 or more touches, the Giants have either won or lost by one score. The Giants offense runs through Barkley.
The Rams run defense this season has been pretty good. Jonah Williams remains a big body on the defensive line and Kobie Turner has surprised as a run defender despite his smaller frame. Ernest Jones and the Los Angeles edge defenders will be responsible for containing Barkley from breaking outside and covering him in the passing game. The Rams need to eliminate Barkley and put as much of the offense on Taylor as possible.
5. Get to Tyrod Taylor With Four
This season, the Giants offensive line has been a mess. They rank just 25th in pass-block win rate and they lead the league in sacks allowed with 77. Morris will likely bring pressure with more than four, but if they can drop seven and force Taylor to hold the ball, it will be a benefit for the defense.
Byron Young has been quiet as of late and will go up against Andrew Thomas who has struggled at times this year. Michael Hoecht should also have a favorable matchup on the outside. There have been times this season when the Rams defensive front has given opposing quarterbacks too much time to throw. They should be able to win their one-on-one matchups on Sunday against a struggling offensive line.