Aaron Donald is the best athlete playing in Los Angeles right now.
John Schmeelk: Fiction- For those of you out there that follow Lance Medow on twitter, Dan has teed up another one for him to discuss one of his favorite topics. He will undoubtedly select "Fact" here, but I am going to go with "Fiction". It is LeBron James. What James is able to still do physically at the age of 35 after the grind of 17 NBA seasons is awe inspiring. He still dominates with his inhuman combination of speed, quickness and raw power at 6'9 and 250 pounds. Most players his size are power forwards, but he moves like a 6'0, 200-pound point guard. It's simply astonishing. He is probably the best raw athlete I have ever witnessed in any sport in my lifetime.
Lance Medow: Fact- Aaron Donald is listed at 6-1, 280 pounds yet it's fair to say he plays much bigger than those measurements. Just ask opposing NFL offensive linemen. Donald has a quick first step, his power can be overbearing and double teams aren't always effective in slowing him down. He's posted double-digit sacks in four of his first six seasons in the NFL including 20.5 in 2018 when he led the league in that category and earned NFL Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season. When you look at his stats, the only thing that's surprising is the fact that he hasn't scored a defensive touchdown because he certainly has the athleticism to record a strip-sack and take it to the house. Donald is an absolute freak.
Daniel Jones will lead the Giants in rushing on Sunday.
John Schmeelk: Fiction- The Rams' defense struggles against the run, allowing 119 yards per game, which is tied for 18th in the NFL. The fact Jones used those read-option designed runs last week should help open up the traditional run game this week, since the Rams should be hesitant to crash down with the backside defensive end and linebacker on some of those zone runs. Aaron Donald's ability to penetrate can also create some big holes at the line of scrimmage, if they can keep him off the running back in the backfield. The Giants may use some trap plays to open some big holes in the middle of the line. I think Wayne Gallman will lead the team in rushing this week.
Lance Medow: Fact- the Niners were surrendering 142 yards on the ground per contest yet the Giants only managed to collect 66 yards and they haven't had more than 75 in any game this season. Daniel Jones has led the team in rushing in two of the team's three games and a big reason is because the Giants have consistently been playing from behind so there hasn't been many opportunities to run the ball. I think Devonta Freeman will get more touches this week because he's a bit more comfortable with the offense. But until the trend of playing from behind ends, it's hard for me to pick someone else other than Jones to top the chart on the ground.
James Bradberry will lead the NFL in passes defensed for the season.
John Schmeelk: Fact- Bradberry has such a large lead, he has nine with the next player at five, I'm not sure anyone will be able to catch up to him. I also believe other teams will continue to pass the ball against the Giants' defense until they prove they can stop them. Bradberry is very good at playing the ball in off-coverage, which is something the Giants have asked him to do a lot this season. There is a chance teams just stop targeting him and look elsewhere, but I find that unlikely.
Lance Medow: Fact- James Bradberry has nine passes defensed in just three games. To put that in perspective, his career-high is 15 (2018) and last season he had 12 in 15 games. He's already three away from tying his 2019 total. The next closest player is Bears rookie corner Jaylon Johnson with five. In case you're interested, New England's Stephon Gillmore and, Giants defensive back Logan Ryan, when he was with the Titans, tied for the NFL lead in passes defensed in 2019 with 20 apiece. The NFL single-season record is 31 set by Darrelle Revis in 2009, when he was a member of the Jets. Although I think Bradberry's pace will eventually slow down, opposing quarterbacks aren't shying away from throwing his way and if he continues to match up with the opposing best wide receiver, there will be plenty of opportunities to make plays.
Special teams will be a bigger factor Sunday than most weeks.
John Schmeelk: Fiction- The Rams' Johnny Hekker is one of the best punters in league and excellent at executing punt fakes. The Giants have to be on-guard all game. I do not think, however, in a game where the Giants have to slow down a Top 3 offense - and Aaron Donald - that special teams will prove more vital than usual.
Lance Medow: Fiction- Yes, Johnny Hekker is one of the most dangerous punters in the NFL because of his leg and his ability to throw as a former high school quarterback, but a lot of the special teams trickery the Rams have run in the past was under former special teams coordinator John Fassel. He now has the same role with the Cowboys. That's not to say that new Rams special teams coordinator John Bonamego won't continue some of the creativity that Fassel implemented. It's just important to note that there is now a new voice in charge and sometimes facets of a team take on the personality of the coach or coordinator. With the Giants off to an 0-3 start, special teams has and will continue to be a big factor because the team can't afford to make mistakes or provide gifts within that unit. That's why I don't think this Sunday it takes on more significance than previous ones.
View rare photos of the history between the New York Giants and Los Angeles Rams.