Last week's game against the Cowboys was rough on the injury front. Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley and Kenny Golladay were lost to injuries in the first half and were unable to return. On top of that, the offense was already playing without Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton and Ben Bredeson, who were all inactive for Week 5. Andrew Thomas was active but did not play. Meanwhile the defense, who had been playing without Jabrill Peppers and Blake Martinez, lost rookie corner Rodarius Williams to a torn ACL.
Williams has since been placed on injured reserve, ending his rookie season, while Barkley and Golladay have been unable to get on the practice field this week. However, the Giants have gotten some positive injury news over the last few days. Jones was a full participant in Friday's practice, and appears to be on his way to taking the field for Sunday's game against the Rams. Meanwhile, Shepard, Slayton and Thomas were able to return to practice, with each one having a good chance of playing this week.
The Giants and Rams have faced off 45 times since the two franchises first met in 1938, when the Giants shut out the then-Cleveland Rams, 28-0. The first game against the Los Angeles Rams occurred in 1946, with the Rams coming out on top, 31-21. The Rams returned to Los Angeles in 2016 after playing 20 years in St. Louis. The Giants came out victorious in the 2016 meeting, when the Giants intercepted Rams QB Case Keenum four times on the way to a 17-10 Big Blue win. The two teams last met in 2020, when the Giants traveled to LA to take on the Rams at SoFi Stadium. The Giants held the Rams to 240 total net yards, but the Rams won the game, 17-9.
Out: RB Saquon Barkley (ankle), WR Kenny Golladay (knee), LB Justin Hillard (Achilles/IR)
Questionable: OL Ben Bredeson (hand), WR Darius Slayton (hamstring), OL Andrew Thomas (foot), WR Kadarius Toney (ankle)
Daniel Jones was a full participant in Friday's practice and after an examination by an independent neurological consultant, he has been cleared to play in the Giants' home game Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams.
Jones, who suffered a concussion last week in Dallas, increased his workload throughout the practice week, from a non-participant Wednesday to limited work Thursday to a normal load Friday.
"We'll have to simulate some contact for where he's at in the process and he'll have a doctor's appointment later today with the independent doctor and that'll be the final step," coach Joe Judge said prior to practice.
FILLING IN FOR SAQUON
While Barkley is sidelined, Devontae Booker will serve as the team's lead back. Filling in last week, Booker carried the ball 16 times for 42 yards and a touchdown while adding three receptions for 16 yards and a touchdown. Booker averaged 4.6 yards per carry on 93 rush attempts for the Raiders last season (423 yards) and added 17 receptions for 84 yards.
"I just prepare every week as myself being the guy and just being out there to play and help this team," Booker told the media Thursday. "Nothing changed for me, obviously, it's just going out there and just being prepared for my opportunity."
PROTECTING THE QB
Over the last two weeks, the unit has done a good job of pass protecting. Against the Saints and Cowboys, the offensive line did not surrender a single sack. They were able to do this with Ben Bredeson, the starting left guard, missing both games and starting left tackle Andrew Thomas not playing a single snap last week.
"Coming out of the game last night with zero sacks, that's something that was a goal of ours going in, an emphasis on protecting," Judge said on Monday. "The Cowboys are a very good front, a very good defense, able to get some pressure at different times. In terms of holding up as a group through some moving parts. I was pleased with the way the guys prepared and came out."
Kadarius Toney missed time during training camp and the preseason, which might have led to his slow start to the season. But over the last two weeks, the rookie wide receiver has been a bright spot – he has registered a total of 16 receptions for 267 yards while showing an amazing playmaking ability with the ball in his hands. His 189 receiving yards against the Cowboys last week set a new franchise rookie record for receiving yards in a game.
"I think you're optimistic when you draft a player that high that he has everything that you want, but until you see it, see it in a practice setting and in a game setting, it's never really verified," offensive coordinator Jason Garrett said. "I think we felt good about his athleticism coming out. I mean, the numbers were well documented. The plays he made on tape were obvious to everybody to see. I do think his instincts and his feel and how smart he is as a player just early on in this whole process has been impressive. Again, I go back to the time he missed. He missed virtually all of training camp and to be able to transition as quickly as he has without that much work has been impressive to all of us."
STAFFORD VS. GIANTS
Stafford has started five career games against the Giants, all while a member of the Lions, going 3-2 in those contests. He has completed 66.9 percent of his passes for 1,305 yards (261 avg.), seven touchdowns and five interceptions while being sacked 11 total times. His last meeting against the Giants came in 2019, when he completed 78 percent of his passes for 342 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in a 31-26 Lions win.
Stafford is off to a tremendous start this season. Through five weeks, the 33-year-old has completed 68 percent of his passes for 1,587 yards, 12 touchdowns and three interceptions. He has earned a passer rating of 113.2 while firmly placing himself in the MVP discussion.
A big part of the veteran quarterback's success is due to the performance of his offensive line. Through five games, Stafford has only been sacked four times. Pro Football Focus ranked the Rams' offensive line the fourth-best unit in the NFL, led by the play of ageless left tackle Andrew Whitworth. Whitworth has a top-five PFF pass-blocking grade after allowing just seven total pressures on nearly 200 pass-blocking snaps.
The Rams have playmakers up and down their offense, starting in the backfield. Darrell Henderson is averaging just under 5.0 yards per carry while scoring a touchdown in three of the four games he's played in. He has also made an impact in the passing game, catching 10 passes for another 90 yards. Henderson is joined in the backfield by Sony Michel, who has gained 163 yards and scored a touchdown this season.
In the passing game, Cooper Kupp has emerged as Stafford's favorite target this season. Kupp is near the top of the leaderboard in several categories, including receptions (37), receiving yards (523) and receiving touchdowns (5). Kupp's 84.5 overall grade and 86.5 receiving grade from PFF both rank within the top five among all wide receivers.
Right behind Kupp is Robert Woods, who is coming off a breakout performance last week. In the Rams' Week 5 win over Seattle, Woods caught 12 passes for 150 yards, giving him 27 receptions for 322 yards.. Not to be forgotten are Van Jefferson (14 receptions for 242 yards and two touchdowns) and DeSean Jackson (seven receptions for 215 yards and one touchdown), along with tight end Tyler Higbee, who has caught two scoring pasees.
"We know the guys they have on their team," defensive back Logan Ryan said. "Their team is filled with stars. They have some really highly-paid star-studded talent, a really good receiving core, they're good at running the ball, really good quarterback, good offensive scheme. That's just the challenge, but that's what you sign up for and we've got to go be ready to embrace that and attack that."
DON'T LET DONALD, RAMSEY TAKE OVER
The Rams have two of the most talented players on the defensive side of the ball at their respective position, starting with three-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald. Donald has made his presence felt in the first five games, registering three sacks, one forced fumble and two pass breakups. He has three quarterback hits in two games this season, and at least one in four of five.
"This guy is a different type of player," Judge said about Donald. "I mean, he's a different type of player. He's extremely strong, he's extremely fast, he's very, very active, he has a high motor, he's got great instincts. You watch him and (Rams Outside Linebacker Leonard) Floyd and the others really play off each other in the pass rush through the middle and off the edge – look, this guy is an issue. Point blank, this guy is an issue. He's one of the best players to have played in the National Football League and you name the amount of years, he's in that category."
Donald leads the Rams with five tackles for loss, while his three sacks is tied with Leonard Floyd for a team-high. Floyd is also second on the team with his four tackles for loss.
In the secondary, star cornerback Jalen Ramsey leads a unit that is tied for the fifth-fewest passing touchdowns allowed (six) this season. Ramsey leads the defense with five pass breakups to go with his one interception. He comes into this game tied with Chicago's Jaylon Johnson for the 10th-highest overall grade from PFF among cornerbacks.
View rare photos of the history between the New York Giants and Los Angeles Rams.