The LA Rams can assert themselves in the NFL, starting in Week 6

Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /

At 4-1, it’s hard to get a lot of interest by saying that the next three games could prove to be incredibly vital to the LA Rams team. But it could prove to be quite true. After all, the LA Rams lost several games in 2020 to inferior teams, and that proved to be the difference between the top-seed and the fifth-seed when it came down to mashing up the playoff berths.

So let’s not repeat that again this year, shall we?

On paper, the Rams ought to win games against the New York Giants, the Detroit Lions, and the Houston Texans.  But ought to is not doing it. And the fact that the LA Rams remain a double-digit favorite on the road against the New York Giants is concerning. Very concerning.

Beware Rams as lopsided favorites

The Rams were only double-digit favorites once in the past two seasons, a 16.5 point spread when they hosted the visiting and winless New York Jets. I don’t need to remind anyone how that game turned out, now do I?  Whatever the reason, the Rams did not show up for that game, and the Jets most certainly did. That loss not only dropped the Rams to the fifth-seed, but the Jets’ offense gave other teams the blueprint for defeating Brandon Staley’s top-ranked defense.

The Packers perfected it.

So the Rams will play their next three games against teams whose combined NFL record is 2-13. Ironically, the Giants’ lone win came against a pretty good New Orleans Saints team in New Orleans. Any given Sunday is more than a marketing phrase in the NFL.

So what must the team do in this one? Well, once again, the LA Rams offense faces a defense that struggles to stop the run. They are only so-so against the pass. But they are the 26th-ranked defense in terms of giving up points. And they are banged up. This should be a game where the Rams offense screams out to an early lead, and then just runs the ball down their throat.

How to beat the Giants

The Giants are a physical team and a physical defense. Remember that 17-9 game that the Rams won in SoFi Stadium last season? The Rams were 9.0-point favorites in that one and won the game by eight points. That should serve notice, folks. These Giants will not go quietly.

The New York Giants are a blue-collar team that prides itself on its physicality. You don’t finesse a team like that, not even if they are overmatched. The LA Rams have to beat them. That means blocking harder, gang-tackling, and all-out dominating the line of scrimmage.

This is a good game to feature physical players on offense like running back Sony Michel, tight end Tyler Higbee, and wide receiver Robert Woods.  On defense, the Rams should make ample use of A’Shawn Robinson, Greg Gaines, Sebastian Joseph Day, and Aaron Donald on the defensive line. Give Terrell Lewis and newcomer Jamir Jones opportunities off the edge. And this could be the type of physical game that is right up defensive back Taylor Rapp’s alley.

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Nothing is given in the NFL. The Rams have to earn each victory. But this is the type of game where the 2021 version can prove to be improved over the 2020 model. How? Simply go out and win the games that this team is expected to win. It’s as simple as that.