New York Giants
Inside Slant | Notes, Quotes | Strategy and Personnel |
This Sunday, New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin will bring his team into St. Louis to face a Rams team that despite its 6-8 record, can present a lot of headaches.
"I see a very (physical) team. This is a team you are going to have to fight four quarters, four and a half, five quarters, as long as it takes," said safety Antrel Rolle. "They are very schematic in what they do and they are going to come at you."
On offense, the Rams' best playmakers include rookie running back Tre Mason who leads the team with 661 yards on 155 carries, and tight end Jared Cook, who has 556 yards in 44 receptions.
"(Mason) is a dynamic player. He runs the ball hard and their offensive line is a physical group, and I think that's where it all starts," said linebacker Devon Kennard. "We're going to have our hands full with them."
As for Cook, Kennard said that the tight end does a nice job of slipping through the cracks in the defense.
"You have to know where he's at all times and be ready to cover him and make plays," he said.
Defensively, the Rams are led by defensive end Robert Quinn and rookie defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who have combined for 18.5 of the Rams' 26.0 sacks this season and who are part of a unit that hasn't given up a touchdown in 12 quarters of play.
"They have a good defense; it is not just their front seven," said quarterback Eli Manning.
"Their defensive backs are playing well and are aggressive. They have done a great job of getting to the quarterback lately (and) stopping the run. They'll get complex and show you a lot of different looks, so you have a lot of preparation to do."
Manning said the Giants are preparing for the possibility that Quinn and Donald will be moved around on passing downs.
"They will move them around a little bit, especially on third down, they will move some guys around and try to get some one-on-one matchups," he said. "For the most part, you know where they are going to be and they are good players. They don't need a whole lot of help."
Another thing the Giants will have to be wary of is the Rams' tendency to try trickery on special teams.
One of the most basic tricks this season came against Seattle, who on a punted ball, saw their defenders flow to the right where Rams receiver Tavon Austin was supposedly tracking the ball. Meanwhile the ball had actually gone to the other side where receiver Stedman Bailey took the return to the house for a 90-yard score to help upset the Seahawks 28-26.
The Rams also take advantage of their punter, Johnny Hekker's background.
The former college quarterback has completed five out of six pass attempts since 2012, including two this season.
One of his passes, which came when he served as a holder on a fake field goal, went for a 2-yard touchdown to receiver Danny Amendola in a 19-13 win against the Seahawks in 2012.
"They have an exceptional punter in that he was a scout-team quarterback at Oregon State," Coughlin said. "He throws the ball very well, so they do have that ability."
When it is all said and done, Coughlin and his players say they're expecting a hard-fought battle.
"The expectation is of a very physical football game," Coughlin said. "(Rams head coach) Jeff Fisher is an excellent football coach."
SERIES HISTORY: 40th regular-season meeting. Rams lead series, 25-14. Giants are 5-13 against the Rams on the road, but have won the last two road games, played in 2002 and 2008. The Giants have also won the last five regular-season games against the Rams, the last one coming in 2011, a 28-16 win in New York.