The New York Giants are back on track. Sure, they’re still bringing up the rear in the competitive NFC East, but at least they’re back to .500 and snapped a three-game slide with a 27-23 victory over the Baltimore Ravens at home last Sunday.
Big Blue will look to carry that momentum across the Atlantic Ocean as they face the Los Angeles Rams, who are 3-3 like the Giants, in London on Sunday morning.
In what amounts to a home game for neither team, here are three keys to the matchup.
Will OBJ play?
Odell Beckham Jr. exploded for the right reasons Sunday, racking up 222 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns in a sorely needed breakout game.
But just a few days later, Beckham was sitting out practice dealing with a hip injury. As of Thursday, his status for Sunday was far from certain despite his coaches’ optimism.
If all works out, Beckham could be in for another big game against the lackluster Rams secondary.
It’s Donald, duck!
The groan induced by the aforementioned pun is the same one opposing quarterbacks let out when Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald is bearing down upon them.
A potential Defensive Player of the Year candidate, Donald has 23 sacks since entering the NFL in 2014. He’s a monster when it comes to stuffing the run, too.
The Giants’ offensive line kept the vaunted Minnesota Vikings pass rush at bay three weeks ago, but Donald is a force all his own. Stopping him will bode well for Eli Manning’s chances at remaining upright.
Since they faced the Vikings, the G-Men have been limited to 81 rushing yards - over two games. Their corps of rushers just isn’t cutting it this year.
And somehow, their numbers are better than those of Todd Gurley, who was second-team All-Pro as a rookie last season. He’s averaging 2.9 yards per carry compared to the Giants’ cumulative 3.6 average.
Make no mistake, though. Gurley is as talented as ever, but his offensive line is a mess. With that unlikely to improve, the Giants must ffocus on preventing Gurley from getting to the second level.
If the Giants break off a decent run or two of their own, then all the better.