New York Giants (0-1)
St. Louis Rams (0-1)
8:30 PM EST
East Rutherford, NJ
Context doesn't much matter if you believe that cliche proffered by NFL players and coaches that they just "take it one game at a time."
But if you don't think that these men in pads are robots then both teams should take the field tonight in the swamps of Jersey with a dash of desperation. Both the Rams and the Giants dropped their opening games this season and it's no secret that the road to the postseason from an 0-2 start is rarely traveled.
Of course, one of the few teams to drop their first two contests and go on to win the Super Bowl was the 2007 New York football Giants. Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo was the Giants' defensive coordinator during that '07 run and was brought to the Gateway City to lead the Rams back to prominence.
With quarterback Sam Bradford under center, the Rams look to be a team on the upswing. An 0-2 start to the season might merely suggest that the slope of their learning curve isn't as steep as everyone had predicted. The G-Men, on the other hand, would seem to be moving in the opposite direction. Eli Manning remains as mercurial as ever, and certainly looks to have many productive years ahead of him, but the rest of the roster is unsettled. Decimated by injuries and free-agency losses, this team seems balanced on a razor's edge between contending and middling.
Now, the long-term futures of these two teams have little to do with tonight's game, which is why the Giants are favored by nearly a touchdown at home.
Stay tuned here for live updates throughout the game and tweet to @HuffPostSports to join in the conversation.
Come tomorrow, it won't much matter how the Giants won this game. It won't matter much that they still look hazy on offense. That 3rd down is a problem for the passing game. Or that short-yardage rushing still is an issue. It also won't matter much that the defense showed itself vulnerable to big pass plays. Come tomorrow, it will only matter that they won the game. At 1-1 the Giants are level with Philly and Dallas and in the thick of the NFC East.
The only way that the manner in which the Giants won this game ever matters is if they come out and play the same next week against the Eagles. Then they likely lose (although Vick's health is a major x-factor). Then all those problems mentioned above matter.
|@ BrandonTierney : Eli on Stokely: "He had a small package, but his package got a lot bigger in the middle of the game." Think that's a good radio drop?|
|@ willbrinson : Giants win feels like one of the least dominating blowouts I've ever seen.|
Steve Young just said these words in regards to the ball that Eli threw to Nicks early.
|@ nbc_sports : Eli Manning throws 2 TD passes, Giants take advantage of Rams' mistakes to beat St. Louis. http://t.co/aKK0Ornu|
|@ JoeFortenbaugh : After 2 weeks, the NFC West has a grand total of 1 win. Maybe the PAC-12 should reach out if they want to keep expanding.|
|@ MikeGarafolo : That was an ugly win. But I wrote an ugly running story. So we're even. On to Philly we go. #nyg|
It's in the books. Rams are in trouble because they're 0-2. Giants are in trouble because I'm assuming Tom Coughlin will have access to tapes of this game.
|@ vegaswatch : You have a non-zero chance of winning, and you're giving up. Yet another fireable offense.|
It's knees for Giants here. Muted vibe on field.
Bradford misfires to Kendricks. Rams are punting. This seems like a cosmetics decision more concerned with final score rather than actually playing to win until final play. I guess you don't need to expose Bradford to drop back in obvious passing situation against Tuck and these guys. OK. I'm ok with punt, now. Thanks for bearing with me.
Bradford throws a strike for 17 of those yards. But hold on offensive line backs it up to 2nd and 28. Bradford scrambles and throws one off Salas' fingertips. It wouldn't have made 3rd down much more friendly, though. 3rd and 28.
And that's get us to 2-minute warning.
Hmm... Giants send offense back out. Hand off right to Jacobs. He's stuffed. Rams get ball at own 28. Still a near impossible road to win. Giants short yardage package not impressive.
|@ PSchrags : This is the anti-fantasy football owner’s dream matchup. Give me the Giants, in an ugly one. Hide the women and children. It'll be hideous.|
He can't pick up, though. Weatherford back out. 2:13 remaining.
If this were olden times, there would be cloud of dust.
Giants get the ball to Ware and he gets the first down. He's getting some run. Wonder if Bradshaw's fumble history is a factor?
Jacobs picks up a few more yards on second down. Rams use a timeout before clock can get too far below 4:30.
Jacobs gets three yards and we do get under five minutes.
And then Eli hits Ballard on a hot route for first down. Clocking ticking down toward five minutes.
|@ STATS_NFL : #Rams last rallied from a deficit of 12 points or more in the 4th Qtr to win on 11/27/05, a 33-27 OT win at #Texans. #Giants #MNF #NFL|
|@ janesports : Work comes early tomorrow. It's 11:30 and Giants have a comfy-ish 28-16 lead, so a lot of fans head for the exits.|
The lead actor in this movie could not be less convincing to me. FWIW
It comes during the return and backs up the offense.
Bradford gets some protection amidst pressure, steps into pocket and throws for Salas. Ball is low but Salas gets plenty of touch on it and can't reel it in. Punt coming up.
Bradford fits a tight one to MSW but Philips gets a hand in and it drops to turf. 3rd and 7.
Short toss to Salas.