The New York Giants will look for their first victory of the season in Los Angeles, where they have not played in a quarter-century.
They last played there on Oct. 16, 1994, a year before the Rams began their 21-year stay in St. Louis. The teams last met Nov. 5, 2017, when the Rams ended the Giants' seven-game winning streak in the series; they had defeated the Rams in 2002, '03, '05, '08, '11, '14, and '16, a stretch of success that immediately followed five consecutive Rams victories in the series.
Here are three things the Giants must do to start a new streak:
Limit the turnovers, but don't lose the "stinger."
Daniel Jones will make his 16th career start on Sunday. In his first 15 starts, he threw 16 interceptions and lost 13 fumbles. Six of those turnovers came in the first three games of this season, but there has been no common denominator, according to offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, who knows there is a fine line between ball security and not being aggressive enough.
"I think if you look at the turnovers this year, they've happened in different ways. Sometimes it's been a sack in the pocket, it's been a pitch on an around play, it might be a fumble here, an interception there for different reasons," said Garrett, a former quarterback. "I think if you look back at last year, you'd probably see them the same way. I've been around young players before, we've had issues turning the ball over. You just keep emphasizing it and you keep trying to put them in an environment where the ball is not at risk. Having said that, when you play that position, you have to make plays in this league, too. You're always balancing those things. We never want to take the edge or the stinger off the player. But at the same time, I've seen it done where you can make plays and also take care of the football. That's what we're striving for with him and for everybody on our team."
When Jones finds that balance, Rams coach and offensive architect Sean McVay knows how good he can be.
"I think it's a such a difficult league week in and week out. I remember the first real exposure I had to Daniel was when we crossed over when [the Giants] beat the Bucs last year when we were getting ready for them in Week 4," McVay said. "Man, did he play really well. I was so impressed with his poise, his ability to make plays down the stretch, his ability to extend plays, the athleticism. You see it with a couple of zone reads that he had the other day. I've also been impressed with his ability to just show the athleticism by keeping plays alive in the pocket, out of the pocket. Coach Garrett always does a nice job of being able to accentuate guys skill sets – I think this a part of the league as a quarterback. But Daniel has a really bright future and I've seen enough film of him to feel pretty strongly about that."
View rare photos of the history between the New York Giants and Los Angeles Rams.
Don't let No. 99 ruin your birthday.
Six Pro Bowls. Five All-Pro selections. Two NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards. It's Aaron Donald's party, and opponents will cry if they want to. The Rams' defensive tackle has 75 sacks in 97 career games and, in the words of Joe Judge, can "really ruin your birthday party in a hurry."
"They do a great job of going out there and doing what they do," Judge said of the Rams' defense under coordinator Brandon Staley. "They disguise defenses very well. They start with disruption up front. They have good defensive backs who do a great job in space of tackling and eliminating explosive plays. These guys are really a team that make you click it down the field and turn the sticks over drive by drive. They don't give up a lot of big plays. Obviously, it all starts with (No.) 99, Aaron Donald."
It's not how you start…
The Giants have given up 24 points in the final two minutes of halves this season, tied with the Bengals for the third-most in the NFL. The good news for Big Blue is that the Rams have allowed a league-high 28 points after the two-minute warnings. Offensively, the Giants have scored six points (third-fewest) while the Rams have managed just three points (tied for fewest) at the end of halves.
This is a critical statistic a week after the 49ers scored 10 points in the final 67 seconds of the first half last week, turning a 6-6 tie on its head. San Francisco took a 16-6 lead into the locker room, and the Giants eventually lost the game, 36-9.
Another key stat is third down. The Rams have a third-down conversion rate of 56.4, second to the Chiefs in the NFL. The Giants have allowed third-down conversions 58.1 percent of the time, the highest rate in the league. On the flip side, the Giants' defense has excelled on first down. They have allowed four or more yards on first down just 29.4 percent of the time, by far the best rate in the NFL. The Jets are second at 40.0 percent. Giants opponents have an average of 9.06 yards to go on second down, the third-best mark in the league. Pittsburgh is the best (9.25 yards), followed by Washington (9.08). Meanwhile, the Rams' offense averages a league-high 7.55 yards per play on first down.
View photos of Thursday's practice at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.