The Giants look to get back in the win column Sunday when they welcome the Los Angeles Rams to MetLife Stadium.
The Giants had a rough day in Dallas last week, falling to the Cowboys, 44-20. The team saw several key players go down with injuries, as Daniel Jones (concussion), Saquon Barkley (ankle) and Kenny Golladay (knee) left the game in the first half and were unable to return. Rookie cornerback Rodarius Williams was also lost to a torn ACL.
The Rams are coming off an extended break after traveling to Seattle last Thursday and defeating the Seahawks, 26-17. Matthew Stafford threw for 365 yards, the offense rushed for 118 yards and two touchdowns and the defense registered two interceptions. The win brought them to 4-1 on the season, one game behind the Arizona Cardinals for the lead in the NFC West.
The Giants will also celebrate the 10th anniversary of the 2011 Championship team with a special halftime ceremony during Sunday's game.
Here are five storylines to follow in the Week 6 matchup:
Last week's loss was felt beyond just the final score. Heading into the game, Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton were ruled out for the second consecutive week with hamstring injuries. Jabrill Peppers also missed the game with a hamstring injury, while Ben Bredeson didn't suit up due to a hand injury. While he was active for the game, Andrew Thomas did not play a single snap due to a foot injury he suffered during the Week 4 win in New Orleans.
The injury list got a lot longer once the game in Dallas kicked off. Just a few plays into the game, Saquon Barkley hurt his ankle after he landed on the foot of Cowboys CB Jourdan Lewis.
"I can't confirm a timetable," Coach Joe Judge said about the back's possible return. "In terms of the X-rays that came back, (it was) better news than it could've been for us, so it was a little bit of a sigh of relief with a couple of things just knowing the player and what he's battled through."
Daniel Jones soon joined Barkley on the sideline after suffering a concussion on a goal line run in the second quarter after he was hit in the helmet by Cowboys LB Jabril Cox. Jones is currently in the NFL concussion protocol with no set timetable for a return to practice or game action. The QB must complete a five-step, return-to-participation protocol.
"We won't know anything officially until later in the week," Judge said. "He's got a series of steps by league mandate he has to go through, so we'll wait patiently and get the other guys ready as we wait on him. Hopefully, he's out there to play. Won't have a definite answer on that until much later in the week."
Kenny Golladay hurt his knee during the first half of Sunday's game, but Judge told the media they are "hopeful they dodged a couple of bullets" with both Golladay and Barkley's injuries. However, neither practiced on Wednesday. Meanwhile, an MRI confirmed that rookie CB Rodarius Williams suffered a torn right ACL.
Judge was able to deliver a bit of good news on the injury front when he said they are "optimistic" that Andrew Thomas will be able get going this week. In addition, second-year linebacker Cam Brown returned to practice Wednesday after missing the last three games with a hamstring injury.
Kadarius Toney's breakout
With Shepard, Slayton and Golladay sidelined, the Giants needed someone to step up at wide receiver. Kadarius Toney took the opportunity and ran with it, etching himself in the franchise's record books.
The rookie wide receiver caught 10 passes for 189 yards against the Cowboys, setting a new single-game Giants rookie record. The previous record was 185 set by Odell Beckham Jr. in 2014. Toney was recognized for his breakout performance, as he was named Pro Football Focus' Rookie of the Week and earned a nomination for the Pepsi Zero Sugar Rookie of the Week. Toney earned an elite 92.4 overall grade from PFF, including a 93.3 receiving grade, which was the highest receiving grade among all wide receivers in Week 5. It was also a top-5 receiving grade among all rookie wide receivers since 2010.
"It really felt special really just going out there and executing the game plan," Toney told the media Monday. "We worked on the plays over and over throughout the week and it just felt good to execute at a high level going out there."
The first-round pick also suffered an ankle injury in last week's game, but indicated that it would not be something that would keep him from playing against the Rams.
"Yeah, I'm good, just sticking to the plan as far as listening to the trainers," he said Monday.
The Rams enter Week 6 ranking 23rd in passing yards allowed, surrendering an average of 271 passing yards per game. But the defense has been able to keep opposing offenses out of the end zone, as their six passing touchdowns allowed are tied for the fifth-fewest. In last week's win over Seattle, Los Angeles allowed D.K. Metcalf to catch five passes for 98 yards and two touchdowns. However, Tyler Lockett was held to five receptions for just 57 yards.
Mike Glennon's first start?
If Jones is unable to get through the protocol in time, veteran Mike Glennon will get his first Giants start. Filling in for the injured Jones last week, Glennon completed 16 of 25 passes (64 percent) for 196 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. In five starts for the Jaguars last season, Glennon completed 62 percent of his passes for 1,072 yards (214.4 avg.), seven touchdowns and five interceptions and averaged 6.0 yards per attempt.
"I have a ton of confidence in Mike," Judge said Monday. "I have confidence in every player on our roster. Specifically being asked about Mike, I watch the way this guy prepares on a weekly basis. Does a great job as far as knowing our offense and also going against our defense and giving them fits in terms of how he's really going out there and really competing within the periods, whether he's running similar schemes to ours or something completely foreign to him that he's got to simulate for the opponent's look.
"I think Mike does a lot of good things, he's got experience in the league, he's very knowledgeable in our system, has a lot of good command at the line of scrimmage. He and Daniel work in hand-in-hand every day really seeing things through the same lens and making sure that the offense is being run the same way regardless of who's in there, so I have a lot of confidence in Mike."
The Rams' pass defense has had a mixed performance this year, as they are allowing a lot of yards but keeping opponents out of the end zone. In Week 5, Seahawks quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Geno Smith combined for 283 passing yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. The unit has allowed only one quarterback (Tom Brady) to throw for 270+ yards, while Arizona's Kyler Murray is the only QB to throw for multiple touchdowns against the Rams. Troy Reeder currently leads the defense with two interceptions, but Jalen Ramsey cannot be overlooked.
View rare photos of the history between the New York Giants and Los Angeles Rams.
Filling in for Saquon
Following Barkley's ankle injury, Devontae Booker was thrust into his first extended action of the season. The sixth-year back wound up touching the ball 19 times (16 rushes, three receptions) against the Cowboys, totaling 58 yards and two touchdowns. It was his first two touchdowns of the season.
"I can only control what I can control," Booker said after Sunday's loss. "The stuff that happened today with Saquon, I am just getting ready and prepared every week as if I am the starter or whatever. It sucks to see him go down, now I just got to be ready."
Booked played well in limited action last season. In 16 games for the Raiders, Booker registered 93 rush attempts for 423 yards (4.3 avg.) and three touchdowns while adding 17 receptions for 84 yards. In his one start filling in for the injured Josh Jacobs, he finished with 51 yards on 17 touches.
"I think overall, from the eyeball test, he did some solid things out there for us," Coach Judge said about Booker after the game. "Obviously, finishing right there in the end zone at the end, he did some tough running right there. I saw him step up on some blitz pickups. Pick up the safety off the edge a couple of times, did a nice job right there. Obviously, I've got to watch the tape and see exactly what he did."
Los Angeles' rush defense has been middle of the pack this season, ranking 19th in yards (117.2 per game) and tied for 22nd in touchdowns (six) allowed. However, the unit's 4.5 yards per carry surrendered ranks 25th. They have allowed 109+ rushing yards in three of its five games this year, including 216 rushing yards to the Cardinals in Week 4. Aaron Donald currently leads the Rams with five tackles for loss, with Leonard Floyd and Kenny Young right behind him with four apiece.
Slowing down Rams offense
The Rams enter this matchup with one of the most talented all-around offenses in the NFL, and it starts with quarterback Matthew Stafford. Stafford has completed 68 percent of his passes this season for 1,587 yards, 12 touchdowns and three interceptions. He has earned a passer rating of 113.2, and is firmly in the early MVP discussion.
The run game is led by Darrell Henderson, who's recorded 60 rush attempts for 294 yards (4.9 avg.) and three touchdowns in four games. Henderson has also played a role in the passing game, catching 10 passes for 90 yards. Sony Michel is second on the team with 45 carries for 163 yards (3.6 avg.) and a touchdown.
The Rams have a ton of weapons in the passing game, led by their wide receiver duo of Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. Kupp has been one of the top receivers in the league this year. He enters Week 6 tied for second in receptions (37) and receiving touchdowns (five), while his 523 yards ranks third. Woods got off to a bit of a slow start, but is second on the team with 27 receptions for 322 yards and two touchdowns. In last week's win over Seattle, Woods went off for 12 receptions for 150 yards.
Van Jefferson serves as the team's third receiver and has reeled in 14 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns. Not to be forgotten is old Giants nemesis DeSean Jackson, who has turned a mere seven receptions into 215 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Tyler Higbee is also a favorite of Stafford's, registering 17 receptions for 166 yards and two touchdowns through the first five games.
Stafford has been sacked just four times in five games and never more than once in a single game. In Pro Football Focus' offensive line rankings heading into Week 6, the Rams' came in at No. 4. The unit is led by 39-year-old left tackle Andrew Whitworth, whose 81.6 pass block grade is fifth among all tackles after allowing just seven total pressures on almost 200 pass blocking snaps.
"Sean (McVay) does an outstanding job with the offense in terms of using his weapons," Judge said Wednesday. "They have a lot of them. They do a great job of utilizing the offensive line to open up run opportunities, as well as the play-action pass and shots down the field. They do a great job of playing with tempo, they do a great job of adjusting play by play, as well as within the game schematically."
View photos of the Los Angeles Rams likely starters ahead of the Week 6 matchup against the Giants at MetLife Stadium.