Rams vs. Giants on Monday Night Football: 4 Things to Watch for in NYC

Ravi LullaAnalyst ISeptember 19, 2011

Rams vs. Giants on Monday Night Football: 4 Things to Watch for in NYC

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    This week's Monday Night Football game features the St. Louis Rams and the New York Giants. Both of these teams are coming off an opening-week loss and are looking to avoid an 0-2 start.

    While the Giants are seven-point favorites at home, there is a lot more to this game than meets the eye. Here are four things to watch for in Monday night's showcase.

Can Eli Manning Avoid Turning Over the Ball?

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    Eli Manning is not considered an elite NFL quarterbacks almost entirely because of his inability to take care of the football. Most people are aware of the fact that Manning has a tendency to throw interceptions, but what they might not realize is that he fumbles the ball quite a bit as well.

    While Manning undoubtedly has moments of brilliance on the football field, they generally happen when he manages to hang onto the ball, so that his considerable skills can be put to use. The Giants QB had an interception and a fumble (although his team did keep the ball) in their Week 1 loss to the Washington Redskins.

    If Eli Manning can't protect the ball more effectively against the St. Louis Rams, New York will almost certainly be headed for an 0-2 start. Regardless of the outcome, he can take consolation in the fact that he has been the best QB named Manning in the NFL this season for the first time in his career.

Will Sam Bradford Be Healthy?

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    Last week, Rams QB Sam Bradford injured his index finger on his throwing hand. While ESPN lists him as probable, it's likely that an injury of that nature might have some lingering effects.

    With a healthy Bradford, the Rams appear to be an up-and-coming team who are on the verge of taking over a weak NFC West division. It is pretty clear how important Sam Bradford is to the success of this franchise. Without Bradford, the Rams won just a single game in 2009.

    This doesn't not appear to be an injury that is too serious; considering of the importance of the index finger for a quarterback, it could be more troublesome than it should be. If Bradford's hand gets hit at all and he re-aggravates the injury, it could be a long night for the Rams.

Who Will Control the Ground Game?

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    There is a chance that the New York Giants will dominate Monday night's game on the ground. The Giants have two accomplished running backs in Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs and the St. Louis Rams gave up 236 yards rushing last week.

    Despite having talent in the backfield, New York rushed for just 75 yards in Week 1. The Rams, on the other, hand rushed for 154 yards. However, the Rams may have a hard time getting their rushing game going against a Giants defense that allowed the Washington Redskins just 74 yards on the ground.

    While the NFL in general has taken to the air, this game could very well go to the team that gets it done on the ground.

Can the Rams Win on the Road?

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    The difference between an average football team and a true contender is that true contenders can beat anyone no matter where they play. Average teams win most of their games at home but struggle when it comes time to take the show on the road.

    The St. Louis Rams did not have much luck winning games on the road in 2010; their record was 2-6.  If they hope to take the next step and become a playoff team, they will have to do better at stealing games in enemy territory this year.