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Los Angeles Rams Face New York Giants Across the Pond


Tim Godfrey
With the running game still stalling, the Rams will have no choice but to rely heavily on their air-support to carry the offense. | Photo Credit: USA Today - Sports

Keenum, Rams hope to ride last week's offensive success into game against NY

Quarterback Case Keenum is hoping this week will be different for the Los Angeles Rams. 

"I've got to --- we've got to --- finish," Keenum said to the Los Angeles Times. "To have the ball in your hands with a chance to tie or win the game with a minute-and-half left, you've got to do it in this league." 

Keenum was talking about the Rams losing in the final minute of last week's game to the Detroit Lions. It was Keenum's first game of the 2016 season, and with the Rams, in which he threw for at least 300 yards. It was also a game where he threw a game-ending interception on just the second throw of the drive. 

For Keenum's sake, and his team's, let's hope a win is not resting on the shoulders of another comeback. With the New York Giants traveling to London for the Rams' "home game", a chance of a comeback drive is not looking likely. 

Will London's jet lag bring any difference? 
Probably not. 

The last time the Rams traveled to London was in 2012, when they played the New England Patriots. Just like in 2012, the Rams arrived almost a week before the game, while the Pats elected to come in as late as possible. The Rams got demolished 45-7. 

This week, the Rams headed to London early, and the Giants went late. Does that mean the Rams are guaranteed to lose? No, but getting adjusted to the timezone is no guarantee of a win, either. 

Another opportunity for Gurley to hit 100 yards (finally)? 
Rams running back Todd Gurley is having arguably the worst luck of any Ram. After having a monumental rookie season, his sophomore slump is a gross understatement. Gurley is averaging fewer yards before first contact and can't even get to the line scrimmage without a handful of defenders in his face. His offensive line has done him no favors and Head Coach Jeff Fisher, being the run-first coach that he is, refuses to adapt his running game for a possible solution to their ever-growing problem. 

Unfortunately for Gurley, there is no guarantee that this week will be no different. 

The Giants are giving up the sixth-fewest yards-per-attempt average. However, in the last three games, they have given up 100 or more yards in two consecutive weeks and are allowing an average of 116.3 yards per-game. Last week, against the Baltimore Ravens, the Giants allowed just 98 yards. their lowest allowance since Sept. 25, when they relented 90 yards against the Washington Redskins. 

Can Keenum repeat?
Keenum never looked better than he did against Detroit. Well, up until his final throw of the game. 

What made the Rams so much better compared to their Week 5 performance against the Bills was their ability to stretch the field and throw it deep. Kenny Britt and Brian Quick have emerged this season as the best receivers on the team, which is a far cry from 2015. Britt would catch huge passes maybe twice a game, if that, and Quick was MIA. This season, both receivers are willing and able to catch the deep ball and Keenum looks more than capable of throwing it to them. 

With the running game still stalling, the Rams will have no choice but to rely heavily on their air-support to carry the offense to the red-zone, and hopefully, the end-zone. But they will need to be careful. While their interception number is low, opposing quarterbacks are only completing 59.4 percent of their passes and have the 10th-lowest quarterback rating when facing the Giants. 

Will Manning repeat, himself?
Against Baltimore, the Giants quarterback Eli Manning and the offense had a field day with 397 passing yards against a Ravens team that hadn't let up more than 250 yards through five weeks. 

The Ravens pass defense is No. 11 in the league. With their best cornerback on the sidelines, the Rams will be lucky to cap Manning's passing at 300 yards. 

While their secondary was ranked rather favorably by Pro Football Focus (No. 16 in the league), the Rams are still operating with a No. 1 cornerback E.J. Gaines, who missed all of 2015 with an ankle injury, and a No. 2 cornerback, Troy Hill, who was rated worst in the league by PFF. 

To read more on the passing defense's outlook on stopping Manning, click here.

Prediction: Giants extend their winning streak, while the Rams ride into another loss. 
New York is not much better than Los Angeles, at least in terms of professional football this season. The Giants had a statement game against the Baltimore Ravens and what a statement it was from their offense. The offensive line kept Manning upright, and all he did was unload on the Ravens. 

The Rams have the benefit of a great pass-rushing unit, but their pass-defense has been their achilles heel. As of late, the defense has been weak, allowing opposing teams to run up the points on them. Detroit came out firing with great calls and a pass-happy Matthew Stafford. With Odell Beckham Jr. at his disposal, and a slew of other receivers, Manning will be spreading the ball around all day. 

Los Angeles will not have a great day, especially Keenum. The Detroit defense allows the highest quarterback completion in the league, so it's no wonder why Keenum was able to have a spectacular game. 

Giants 45       Rams 20

Tim Godfrey is a Featured Analyst who covers the Los Angeles Rams for Pro Football Spot. Follow him on Twitter @MrTimGodfrey!


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