Desolated, heartbroken, and poignant are all adjectives that could describe what fans of the Los Angeles Rams were like after seeing their beloved team come up short versus the Buffalo Bills in Week 3 despite an improbable second-half comeback. Nevertheless, the Rams have a prime chance to bounce back in a colossal way against the winless New York Giants in Week 4.
Make no mistake about it, the Rams should be standing at 3-0 right now if it weren’t for allowing a conversion on third-and-22 and a phantom defensive pass-interference call late in the fourth quarter. Even with Los Angeles failing to complete the massive rally, there were a ton of positives to take from the game — especially for Jared Goff and the offense.
As for the Giants, they’ve struggled to find ways to win early in Joe Judge’s tenure with the franchise. While Daniel Jones has faltered under center in his second season thus far, New York’s offensive line and defense haven’t done him any favors in the first three weeks.
Regardless of the Giants’ record, Sean McVay can’t allow his squad to overlook New York on Sunday. Heading into the game, the Rams unquestionably have the upper hand on just about every level of the field over the Giants. In light of that, let’s take a deeper look at the matchups to keep a close eye on in Week 4.
Robert Woods vs. James Bradberry
Just by looking at both rosters in this game, it’s apparent that the Rams could have a handful of players on offense produce stellar outings. While Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp could both have fruitful performances, Woods could have a bit tougher time than Kupp due to him likely drawing James Bradberry in coverage for a decent portion of the game.
In his first three games with the Giants, Bradberry has been one of the few bright spots on New York’s roster. The former cornerback of the Carolina Panthers has allowed a completion percentage of 47.6 percent when targeted, which is the third-lowest mark among CBs that have been targeted 21+ times.
Of course, McVay does a phenomenal job moving Woods — and the other WRs of the Rams — around before the snap even happens. Therefore, even though Woods and Bradberry could be in for an appealing matchup, Woods should still finish with consummate numbers on Sunday.
Aaron Donald vs. Giants’ IOL
It seems like every single week, Aaron Donald appears in the list of matchups to watch — but it is for good reason. The two-time Defensive Player of the Year is the most dominant defensive player in the NFL and he’ll have a chance to exude his superiority against a shaky offensive line.
Within the interior of the offensive line — where Donald does the majority of his damage — the Giants feature Will Hernandez, Nick Gates, and Kevin Zeitler. Altogether, as an entire unit, New York’s offensive line has surrendered 46 total pressures on Daniel Jones (only the Cincinnati Bengals have allowed more).
To no one’s surprise, Donald has been remarkable for the Rams, recording three sacks (tied third-most in the NFL) and nine total pressures (tied for fifth-most in the NFL). Similar to most weeks, we should see other members of Los Angeles’ defense thrive at getting to the quarterback while Donald wreaks havoc on his own as well.
Troy Hill vs. Golden Tate
A season ago, Troy Hill was one of the pleasant surprises for the Rams on defense, placing himself as one of the highest-rated players for Los Angeles, per PFF. Hill would be rewarded with a player grade of 76.4, which was the fourth-best on the team and was higher than the one Jalen Ramsey received.
#LARams leaders in 2019 Overall Defense Grades
1. Aaron Donald (93.7)
T-2. Darious Williams (78.9)
T-2. Cory Littleton (78.9)
4. Troy Hill (76.4) pic.twitter.com/wuRtEGxOux
— PFF LA Rams (@PFF_Rams) May 13, 2020
Fast forward to the 2020 season and it’s been a complete one-eighty for the six-year veteran through the first three weeks. The Oregon product has given up 20 receptions on 22 targets so far this season, netting him a dismal 42.2 player grade on PFF.
With that being said, it is important to note that Hill has been moved to nickel cornerback and he’s stumbled out of the gates in his transition to his new position. And if the Giants are going to make it a game in Week 4 versus the Rams, they’ll want to get Golden Tate — who primarily operates out of the slot — heavily involved in the passing game.
Provided that, it will be up to Hill to put his previous struggles behind him and slow down the savvy wideout in Week 4.