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Scouting Report

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Eye On: Scouting the Los Angeles Rams


The Giants come home Sunday for their first of two consecutive home games to take on the Rams at MetLife Stadium. Here's my scouting report:

When the Rams have the ball…

The Rams have one of the most efficient offenses in the NFL, thanks to their passing game. They rank first in the NFL in yards per play (6.71) and yards per pass play (9.02). The Rams 26.4% offensive DVOA (an advanced metric from Football Outsiders that measures offensive efficiency) is the third-highest in the NFL.

Matthew Stafford is having the best year of his career. His completion percentage (68%), passing yards (1587), and passer rating (113.2) are all career bests through the first five games of a season. He is third in the NFL in passing yards and passer rating. He can make every throw and has the athleticism to scramble to create extra time in the face of pressure.

Stafford can throw to three quality wide receivers. Cooper Kupp is the only player in the NFL who ranks in the top five in targets (56), receptions (37), receiving yards (523) and receiving touchdowns (5). Kupp spends most of his time in the slot (185 snaps), although he does have 100 snaps outside this season.

The Rams will also rotate their other two wide receivers, Robert Woods and Van Jefferson, into the slot. No teams plays "11" personnel on more of their snaps than the Rams. Woods is coming off his best game of the season, catching 12 passes for 150 yards against the Seahawks last Thursday night. It nearly matched his output he had in the first four weeks of the season (172 yards). He is one of the best run blocking wide receivers in the NFL.

Van Jefferson (second round, 2020) is having a breakout season with 242 receiving yards and two touchdowns. He is an excellent route runner and is averaging 17.3 yards per catch. Veteran Desean Jackson has played 20-22 snaps in each of the last three weeks. He is the team's speed threat with seven catches for 215 yards and a touchdown.

Tight end Tyler Higbee suffered a shoulder injury last Thursday night but returned to the game. He is third on the team with 17 catches for 166 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

A big reason the Rams' offense is successful because of their offensive line. The Rams are allowing Matthew Stafford to be sacked on an NFL-best 2.33% of his dropbacks. He is being pressured on only 26.3% of his dropbacks, which is the 4th-lowest rate in the NFL. Many of the Rams deep passes have come on plays where Stafford can hold the ball while his receivers run deep routes across the length of the field.

Veteran Andrew Whitworth, in his 16th season with more than 200 career starts, has only allowed one sack and two quarterback hits at left tackle, according to Pro Football Focus. At right tackle, Rod Havenstein has allowed one sack and four quarterback hits. Center Brian Allen and guards Austin Corbett and David Edwards anchor the inside of the line.

The Rams are not running the ball as frequently or with as much success as in the past. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, the Rams running backs are averaging 0.5 fewer yards per rush (3.9) than expected (4.4) this year. Starting running back Darrell Henderson is the only Rams running back who is averaging more rushing yards over expected (+10). The Rams have only one rushing play of over 20 yards this season.

The Rams are only running the ball on 38% of their first-half plays, which ranks 21st in the NFL. More than 50% of their runs are outside zone, which is the second-highest rate in the NFL. The Rams still like to mirror their play-action bootleg game to their running attack on early downs, but they are doing it less frequently than past years. They are only running play-action on 22% of their pass plays, which is the 5th-lowest rank in the NFL.

The Rams have been strong in situational football this season, converting third downs at a 48% rate, which is the sixth-best mark in the NFL. Their ability to convert on 3rd-and-long has stood out – when faced with more than 10 yards to go, they are converting at 53% (more than double the league average of 19.7%.).. On 3rd-and-7+ yards, they are converting more than 43% of their attempts. Both of those marks lead the league.

The Rams are throwing the ball down the field as well as any team in the NFL. Just under 20% of the Rams pass plays have gone for 15+ yards this year, which is the highest mark in the NFL. The Rams' 22 pass plays of 20+ yards is fourth-most in the league. On passes that travel more than 20 yards in the air, Stafford has a passer rating of 100.2. Stafford has not completed a pass beyond 20 yards on the right side of the field. Six of his eight completions that have traveled at least 20 yards in the air have come in the middle of the field.

In the red zone, the Rams are scoring touchdowns on 59% of their appearances, which ranks 22nd in the NFL. The Rams have only 69 yards worth of negative plays this season (fourth-fewest in the NFL).

Keys for the Giants on defense

  1. Stop the run without safety help
  2. Prevent big plays on deep crossing routes
  3. Don't let Matthew Stafford hold the ball in the pocket

View rare photos of the history between the New York Giants and Los Angeles Rams.

When the Giants have the ball…

The Rams' defense, which was the best in the league last season by most metrics, has not been nearly as effective this season. They are allowing the 10th-most yards per game this season. They are better in yards per play (15th fewest), points (23.2 – tied for 12th), and in defensive DVOA (14th). They have also struggled on third downs, where they have allowed opponents to convert at 48% (third-highest).

The Rams are a heavy zone team and like to play their two safeties deep pre-snap. Thy run "Cover-3" (3-deep DBs) at the 6th-highest rate in the league (36.3%) and quarters (4-deep) at the ninth-highest rate in the league (16%). They will dare teams to make long sustained drives down the field by using the run game and short passing game.

According to Pro Football Focus, the Rams have only put eight men in the box 27 times this season, which is the second-fewest in the league. They have played the 4th-fewest snaps (29) in base defense in the NFL. They have played the third-most snaps in "dime" (6 defensive backs) and the 7th-most in "nickel" (5 defensive backs).

Aaron Donald may be the best defensive player in the NFL. He is being lined up all along the defensive line. He is actually getting more snaps at defensive end this season than he is at defensive tackle. Donald is tied for the team lead with three sacks and leads the team with eight quarterback hits. According to Pro Football Focus, Donald's 29 pressures this season are the fifth-most in the NFL.

Leonard Floyd is only three spots behind him with 25 total pressures, including three sacks and five quarterback hits. Floyd lines up almost exclusively over the opponent's right tackle, with only 27 coming over the opponent's left tackle this season.

The Rams blitz on 28% of their snaps, which is the 10th=highest rate in the league. They also often use stunts (29.2% of plays – 8th) to produce pass pressure. They will blitz linebackers, cornerbacks, and safeties from different parts of the field and use multiple front to create confusion on the offensive line.

Jalen Ramsey is still the team's best coverage cornerback. He is spending more time in the slot than he has in years past. He has lined up wide 132 times this season, while he has been in the slot 166 times and lined up in the box 39 times. This season he has allowed 23 catches on 37 targets for 233 yards and a touchdown, according to Pro Football Focus.

Keys for the Giants on offense

  1. Run the ball consistently against light fronts
  2. Block Aaron Donald and Leonard Floyd
  3. Be patient in the passing game

View photos of the Los Angeles Rams likely starters ahead of the Week 6 matchup against the Giants at MetLife Stadium.


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Limited tickets are available for the 2011 10th Anniversary Celebration game

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