The 6-8 St. Louis Rams are set to play the 5-9 New York Giants that are hoping to win their final road game of the season. Make no mistake about this the Rams record is deceiving, they are a quality opponent. The Rams play in the NFC West, one of the toughest divisions in the NFL.
St. Louis saw their starting quarterback Sam Bradford tear his ACL and have relied on both Austin Davis and Shaun Hill under center this season. The Rams have taken down some marquee teams this season including the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos. One can only imagine what the Rams could have accomplished with their starting quarterback not sidelined.
Dec 7, 2014; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins running backAlfred Morris
(46) is tackled by St. Louis Rams defensive tackleAaron Donald
(99) and defensive endRobert Quinn
(94) during the second half at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
The strength of the Rams is their defense and that is where we will begin this brief scouting report. The Rams play a 4-3 defense and have arguably the best defensive line in the game.
Robert Quinn their outstanding defensive end, has 10.5 sacks this season. Rookie defensive tackle, Aaron Donald has 8 sacks on the season. The defensive line is not only strong but insanely quick and athletic. This great defensive front is a large part of their success, they have the 11th ranked defense in football.
The Rams’ defense is not dominant but it is very strong. If their offense was not so good at giving them bad situations its conceivable that this defense would be even tougher. The thing you have to know about this defense is that it can convert turnovers into points.
The Rams have returned 4 interceptions for a touchdown and 3 fumbles for a touchdown. No team in the National Football League has more defensive touchdowns than the Rams. The Giants will have to take care of the ball against this team.
The Rams’ offense is a little less intimidating but certainly not inept. Hill is a very dependable quarterback. He is not amazing or anything he just knows his job and makes good decisions. The veteran, who has been mostly a back up in his 7 season career, has thrown 6 touchdown passes and 4 interceptions this season. Hill has started 7 games this year.
Dec 11, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams quarterbackShaun Hill
(14) attempts a pass under pressure from Arizona Cardinals cornerbackJerraud Powers
(25) during the first half at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
The Rams come up with creative ways to get Austin the ball and he is a terror in the open field. Bailey is a great option in the passing game who plays in the slot. The leading receiver for the Rams is Jared Cook, the tight end. Kenny Britt is their most dynamic target averaging just over 17 yards per reception.
Tre Mason and Zac Stacy are a pretty powerful 1-2 punch in the backfield. Mason averages 4.3 yards a carry and Stacy gets 3.9 yards per attempt. Their offense is capable of having big days but usually fails to produce big numbers.
Offensive Game Plan:
The Giants need to have a commitment to the running game this Sunday. If they abandon the running game the Rams will just have their great pass rushers pin their ears back to go get Eli Manning. The Giants need to stretch the defense out with their defense. They must use screen passes and quick 3 step drop back plays. The short passing game may set up a couple of deep shots down the field.
Defensive Game Plan:
The Giants need to stop the run, and make Hill beat them. They need to play gap sound defense. The blitz could be highly effective as Hill is not an overly mobile passer. Hill is a midline passer getting in his grill with A gap pressure is exactly what the doctor ordered. If the Giants tackle well in the open field the Rams will struggle to make big plays. The Rams should bracket Jared Cook in the red zone.
Prediction: Rams win 24-14
The Rams are a better team than the Giants despite their similar record. The match ups also favor the Rams. I think this could be a frustrating day for the Giants.