The New York Giants and St. Louis Rams both face an early season game they really need, as both playoff hopefuls dropped their opener. For the Giants the urgency is particularly acute, since they’re the home team tonight and they’re in the division that’s strong top-to-bottom. As for St. Louis, win or lose, they’ll finish tonight with both New York and Philadelphia off their schedule and no one in the weak NFC West out to a 2-0 start.
Injuries have played a big role in both teams’ early storylines. The Giants get one big part back tonight when defensive end Justin Tuck returns. They’ll still miss his fellow end Osi Umenyiora, but at least they won’t be completely bereft of any sort of pass rush. St. Louis was banged up at the skill positions in their Week 1 loss to the Eagles, and the most notable was Sam Bradford. He’s expected to play tonight, as is running back Stephen Jackson. The Rams will miss receiver Danny Amendola, but one of this team’s strengths was supposed to be depth at the wideouts and this gives the opportunity for someone like a Danario Alexander—a highly touted draft choice a year ago, and one this writer took a late-round flyer on for his Fantasy team—a chance to step up and make some plays.
Third-down conversions were terrible for the Giants a week ago, as Eli Manning led an offense that was only 4-of-13 in moving the chains. The running game looked good with Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs being their usual selves, providing a combination of shiftiness and power. But Manning couldn’t complete key throws. This was a problem for New York last year and it must get better immediately. If St. Louis is going to get a road win here tonight, they have to get defensive end Chris Long in Manning’s face and at the very least, they can’t be dominated at the line of scrimmage.
The Projected Vegas Score on this game (Combination of pointspread & total) is 26-19 Giants. I could see it a little lower scoring, but overall that does sound about right. I wouldn’t pick either team with any enthusiasm right now, but going with a conventional home team choice on Monday Night works for me here.
Check back tonight as the Notebook looks at the ACC’s big football weekend and evaluates baseball’s top catchers.
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