An inside look at Sunday’s Giants-Rams Week 6 matchup at MetLife Stadium:
Rams DT Aaron Donald vs. interior offensive linemen Will Hernandez at right guard, Billy Price at center and Matt Skura or whoever else lines up at left guard
The matchup to watch whenever the Rams’ defense is on the field is the poor soul asked to line up opposite Donald, considered the NFL’s premier defensive player pretty much since he arrived in 2014. There is nothing he cannot do, and his three sacks and eight quarterback hits this season only hint at the disruptive nature of his game. The Giants played the Rams in 2020 in Los Angeles, and center Nick Gates did a great job containing Donald. Alas, Gates is on injured reserve. Price, Hernandez and Skura will have to communicate with precision when Donald starts going into his array of swim, spin and rip moves.
After defensive coordinator Patrick Graham’s impassioned plea to his players following their thrashing at Dallas — he kept saying “unacceptable,’’ over and over — this is a last stand of sorts for that side of the ball. Perhaps a line-in-the-sand moment is coming. Maybe the early start (10 a.m. West Coast time) will have the Rams sluggish early. Keeping it relatively close is possible and probably the best the Giants can do here.
Rams 27, Giants 20
Relocation program: For anyone who ever thought, “I wonder what that guy would look like and play like in a different uniform,’’ we give you Matthew Stafford. Everyone knew he was a quality quarterback, but 12 years in Detroit left this question unanswered: Is he a winner? Stafford had 282 touchdown passes, 114 interceptions and was 74-90-1 as a starter for the Lions. His pairing this season with Sean McVay is everything they hoped it would be. Stafford, 33, has 12 touchdown passes, three interceptions and a career-best passer rating of 113.2. And, lest we forget, the Rams are 4-1.
View from the other side: The Giants said Daniel Jones, cleared from concussion protocol, has no limitations. Still, it will be interesting to see how inclined he is to take off and run — a staple of the offense. The Rams are interested, as well.
“He’s actually a fast guy,’’ All-Pro Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald said. “He doesn’t look like he’s fast, but he can do a lot of things with his feet. He’s a tough player. Anytime you’re playing against quarterbacks that’s real mobile, and they can make things happen and make you miss for a pass rusher, it’s a problem.’’
Jones, in last season’s 17-9 loss to the Rams, led the Giants with 45 rushing yards, averaging 7.5 yards a carry.
Toney time: Is this a case of too much, too soon for rookie Kadarius Toney? He erupted for 10 receptions for 189 yards last week in the loss to the Cowboys and, all of a sudden, he is being characterized as the key to start the entire offense. After throwing a punch (and getting ejected) last week, Toney has to keep his cool against cornerback Jalen Ramsey, a renowned instigator.
“He knows that and I mean everybody has talked to him,’’ Sterling Shepard said. “He’ll be fine. Jalen likes to talk — everybody knows that around the league. We’re not going to shy away from anything. We’re going to play our game and we’re going to do what we do, no matter who’s out there. That’s that.’’
Give and take: This seems like it will end badly for the Giants. They are tied for 28th for fewest sacks on defense in the NFL, with eight. The Rams are No. 1 in preventing sacks, allowing just four in five games, giving Stafford exquisite protection on almost all of his 172 pass attempts.
“We can’t do that unless our guys up front are playing the way they’re playing,’’ Stafford said. “They’re playing at an extremely high level. That makes my job, and really all of our jobs, easier.’’
Where does the pressure come from for the Giants? Their edge rushers have a total of three sacks in five games, all from rookie Azeez Ojulari.