Week 7 NFL Gameday – Giants at Rams (Twickenham) Preview

BBC Two at 2pm

Last meeting: Giants 37 Rams 27 (21/12/14)
Overall record: Rams lead series 26-16-0

The NFL heads to the home of Rugby Union in the second of three games in London this year where the LA Rams host the New York Giants at Twickenham.

Both teams come into the game at 3-3 and this week’s game could be make or break as they look to make a push for the playoffs.

The Rams landed here on Monday and spent the week acclimatising whereas the Giants arrived at Heathrow just yesterday. This could be the difference in what looks like a close match up.

This year’s first overall pick Jared Goff is expected to get more reps in practice moving forward but for now Case Keenum will keep his job as the Rams starting quarterback. He comes into this week on the back of his best game of the season against the Lions where he threw for 321 yards and three touchdowns.

Despite an improved performance from the Rams’ offence they could not get the win. Speaking at Wednesday’s practice Keenum said:

“I hate losing. I want to win every time I step on the field no matter where it is and when it is.”

The defence has been hit by injuries but the team will not be happy that they couldn’t get the win with how well Keenum played in week six. Robert Quinn hopes that his return to the line-up this week could help the team and star defensive tackle Aaron Donald get back on track.

Quinn said: “I’ve got a lot of speed off the edge so it pulls some double teams. Without me out there, offences focus more on Aaron and he gets more double or triple teams.

“Hopefully if I’m out there then he can be real dominant like we’re used to seeing.”

The main area that the Rams defence is struggling is in the secondary. Janoris Jenkins left the Rams for the Giants in the offseason and it sounds like Jeff Fisher is regretting letting the cornerback go. Speaking on Thursday he said:

“I’ve got great respect for some of the corners in the league but you’d be hard pressed to find anybody playing better than he is right now.”

With Jenkins and the Giants secondary performing well, things might not be so easy for Keenum or his receivers this week.

Fisher had a lot of praise for the Giants team but he had special praise for Odell Beckham Jr who he said “has a chance to go down as one of the all-time best.”

Beckham struggled early this season but found his form last week against the Ravens where he went for 222 yards and two touchdowns including the 66-yard game winner in the final minutes of the game.

Despite Fisher singling Beckham out, the man himself said that the whole offence saw improvements in last week’s game.

The Giants wide receiver said: “I think the key thing that we really didn’t mention last week was the offensive line. They only gave up I think one sack. There were no penalties besides the penalty that I had. We played at a high-level on offense last week.”

Despite having such a talented group of receivers, the Giants have struggled to put up many points. 19.3 points per game has them sitting 25th in the NFL. As well as Beckham, Victor Cruz and Sterling Sheperd will need to find more if Big Blue is going to make the playoffs for the first time since they won the Super Bowl in 2012.

Over the past few seasons the Giants defence has been a big problem. However, some big free agent signings as well as the likes of first round draft pick Eli Apple have improved greatly on one of the worst defences in the league a year ago. Statistically they are still just in the middle of the pack, but they are no longer a huge weakness as they were not too long ago.

With a strong offence and decent defence, the Giants have the talent to make a run over the final two thirds of the season. The NFC East has been surprisingly good this season with the Cowboys in particular looking strong. Eli Manning still thinks that the team can catch Dallas but doesn’t want to look too far ahead.

He said: “We’re hoping we make up some ground in the division. Teams are playing well and the NFC East is strong. We just have to take it one game at a time.

“We’ve got to worry about the Rams on Sunday and get ready because they’re playing good football and just be prepared for that and do whatever it takes to get a win and go on from there.”

With both teams performing fairly well this season, this game has the potential to be a good one as the NFL heads to Twickenham for the first time. Whoever wins this will have a platform to build from when they return after next week’s bye. Whoever loses could leave themselves with too much to do in their remaining nine games.

Follow Author Dave Gray on twitter at djg23

Read more from Dave and other UK NFL fans at FirstandTen.co.uk

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