New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)
INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) Although Joe Judge is still looking for his first victory as the New York Giants' head coach, he already has a win over Sean McVay and the Los Angeles Rams that was so big, he got a ring for it.
Judge was New England's special teams coordinator when the Patriots beat the Rams 13-3 in the Super Bowl 20 months ago. He moved on last year to a rebuilding job with the Giants (0-3) that's even more massive than it seemed, if the results of New York's three mostly miserable games this season are any indication.
When New York visits brand-new SoFi Stadium on Sunday, Judge doesn't think he'll get much of an advantage out of his knowledge of the Rams (2-1) from two seasons ago, or from his more recent conversations with McVay when he was seeking tips on how to succeed as a first-time head coach.
''Obviously there's some information I gathered, but I'll tell you right now, Sean is always evolving,'' Judge said. ''He's always changing. He's always improving and getting better. What we may have game-planned based on another club I was with will have nothing to do with what we do going forward here.''
McVay's evolution also seems like a revitalization. He acknowledged being exhausted last season by that Super Bowl run and the subsequent short offseason, but several months spent mostly at home this year left McVay clearly re-energized for his job, and the results have shown up on the field.
Despite losing Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks, and despite only replacing them with rookies who haven't yet made a mark, McVay's offense is off to a strong start. The Rams have gained at least 400 yards in all three games, with Jared Goff putting up strong passing numbers to complement a revitalized running attack.
The Rams are heavy favorites in their second game at their new football palace, but they don't seem overconfident. Los Angeles is still smarting from last week's trip to Buffalo, in which it rallied from a 25-point deficit before losing in the final minute.
The Rams' first taste of defeat left McVay praising his team's resilience and tenacity, and the Giants provide an opportunity to back it up.
''They just kept battling,'' McVay said. ''They just kept swinging. We're a tough group, a mentally tough group. We're going to use this (week) as an opportunity to respond, and we're not going to allow the Bills to beat us twice.''
Here are more things to know about the Giants' first game in the Los Angeles area since 1994:
HERE COMES 99
Aaron Donald has three sacks and eight quarterback hits in the Rams' first three games. The NFL's premier interior defensive linemen could feast on Giants left guard Will Hernandez or center Nick Gates, who have both struggled this season.
''This guy will really ruin your birthday party in a hurry,'' Judge said.
New York undoubtedly will send multiple blockers at Donald, but this week seems a prime opportunity to see evidence of McVay's biggest takeaway from watching film of the Rams' loss in Buffalo: ''Aaron Donald is a freak.''
The Rams and Giants are on different ends of the statistical spectrum on offense. Los Angeles is in the NFL's top four in total yards (449.7), rushing (170.3), third-down conversions (56.41) and time of possession (33:01) while averaging 29.7 points per game. Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett's injury-plagued group is in the bottom three in total yards (273.3), rushing (56.7), red zone (33.33), time of possession (24:41) and points (12.7).
The Giants have a total of three touchdowns, and they haven't had a lead since the first half of their season opener. They didn't run a play in the red zone last week against San Francisco, and their leading rusher is their quarterback.
''We have to do a better job controlling the ball, and turnovers play a big part in that,'' said quarterback Daniel Jones, who also has six turnovers. ''It's tough to win when you're turning over the ball as much as we have.''
HENDO ON THE RUN
While the Giants can't run the ball, the Rams are moving it tremendously on the ground in their first three games since releasing Todd Gurley last spring. Darrell Henderson grabbed the starting job last week and promptly surpassed his career high in yards rushing for the second straight game. New York's unimpressive group of linebackers will have to bring down LA's relentless ball-carrier to keep the Giants in the game.
The Giants' defense is not getting off the field. Against the 49ers last weekend, New York got exactly one stop while allowing seven scores. Pat Graham's defense is tied for 12th in total yards (357.7), but has allowed opponents to convert on 58.14% of third-down chances, worst in the NFL.
Oh, and the Rams have converted 56.4% of their third downs, tops in the NFL by a significant margin.
''It's not good, it's not the standard, it's unacceptable,'' defensive back Logan Ryan said. ''You just have to do better. Football isn't easy, but it's simple. You have to get off the field. The best defense you can play is on the bench, honestly. We just have to get off the field and give our offense the ball.''
Five Waiver Wire Adds: Week 7
Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram II's (ankle) MRI exam showed a mid- to high-ankle sprain that isn't considered serious, according to a source. With the Ravens on bye this week, head coach John Harbaugh said on Monday that Ingram will likely be back on Nov. 1 for the Week 8 game against the Steelers. Those types of ankle sprains can often sideline players for multiple weeks, so we wouldn't consider it a lock that the 30-year-old veteran will be ready for the Week 8 showdown with Pittsburgh. Rookie J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards would see more work in the backfield if Ingram is limited or out in Week 8, making them worth waiver wire pickups if you're looking two weeks into the future. Ingram has rushed the ball 50 times for 225 yards (4.5 yards per carry) and two touchdowns in six games in 2020.
Buffalo Bills WR John Brown (knee) wasn't 100 percent recovered from injury against the Kansas City Chiefs Monday, Oct. 19, according to head coach Sean McDermott.
Fantasy Spin: It may help to explain Brown's disappointing catch-less performance. He scored a touchdown in each of the first two games of the season but has clearly taken a backseat to Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley. He'll be a risky FLEX play in Week 7, even against the New York Jets.
Los Angeles Rams PK Kai Forbath was placed on the Exempt/Commissioner Permission list Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Dallas Cowboys DE Randy Gregory was activated from the Exempt/Commissioner Permission list Tuesday, Oct. 20.
New Orleans Saints tight end Jared Cook was Drew Brees primary red zone threat while Michael Thomas remained sidelined, but with the All-Pro wideout expected back Sunday versus Carolina, Cooks time as a TE1 in season-long formats may have passed. While Cook managed to receive seven targets Week 1 when Thomas was alongside him, the veteran has been a touchdown-dependent option since then. In addition, the Panthers Defense has been stout against opposing tight ends this season, allowing just 221 yards and two touchdowns across six games. With a plethora of options at Brees disposal, Cook remains an appealing play, albeit a tenuous one that carries sizable risk.
New York Jets QB Mike White was designated as a protected practice squad player for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Pittsburgh Steelers WR Deon Cain, RB Trey Edmunds, DE Henry Mondeaux and RB Wendell Smallwood were chosen as protected practice squad players for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers PK Greg Joseph and DT Jeremiah Ledbetter were protected from selection off the practice squad for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Tennessee Titans LB Daren Bates, PK Tucker McCann, G David Quessenberry and QB Trevor Siemian were designated as protected practice squad players for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was given a vote of confidence from head coach Mike McCarthy on Tuesday, confirming that the star running back would be the starter for Sundays contest against Washington. Elliott lost two fumbles Monday versus the Cardinals, ceding way to Tony Pollard at times, but with Andy Dalton once again to likely receive the start, Elliott will need to be relied upon for Dallas to have success offensively. Unfortunately for Elliott, the teams offensive line is heavily banged up due to injuries. Factoring that in on top of his fumble woes (five in 2020, four of which have been lost), DFS fantasy managers may want to look elsewhere Sunday, especially considering his price tag. Season-long managers can continue to role Elliott out and bank on his perpetual upside paying off.
Jacksonville Jaguars TE Ben Ellefson, LB Joe Giles-Harris, DB Doug Middleton and TE Eric Saubert were protected from selection off the practice squad for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Las Vegas Raiders PK Dominik Eberle, DE David Irving, DB Dylan Mabin and DE Chris Smith were chosen as the team's protected practice squad players for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has made each of the five defenses that he has faced 2020 look rather pedestrian on his way to becoming the favorite to claim the NFLs MVP trophy this season. On paper, his matchup Sunday versus Arizona should be another such instance, which is backed up by his gaudy DFS price tag. But gleaning his numbers against the Cardinals over the past two seasons tells a different story; over their last four matchups, he has exceeded the 200-yard passing threshold just once and has not rushed for a touchdown in any of those outings. The Cardinals Defense ranks in the top half of the league in passing yards allowed per game this season (226.5), another notch in the belt of why DFS fantasy managers may want to consider other QB options during Week 7.
Cleveland Browns RB John Kelly, QB Kyle Lauletta, DE Cameron Malveaux and PK Matthew McCrane were chosen as protected practice squad players for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Denver Broncos LB Nigel Bradham, WR Fred Brown, RB Jeremy Cox and C Patrick Morris were designated as protected practice squad players for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Houston Texans DT Corey Liuget and C Greg Mancz were chosen as protected practice squad players for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen (back) was last seen dealing with back spasms when he took the field versus the Saints last Monday. Despite that, head coach Anthony Lynn has reiterated that Allen will not be hampered come Sunday versus Jacksonville, a matchup that is set to work in Allens favor due to the 270.7 passing yards per game that the Jaguars Defense is allowing. With the emergence of Justin Herbert as both a downfield threat and consistent pocket passer, Allens season-long fantasy outlook is only on the rise after having averaged 12 targets through his first four games. His recent injury should give DFS fantasy managers pause, but so long as he is given the green light to suit up, season-long managers should consider starting him in most formats where he is rostered.
Atlanta Falcons QB Kurt Benkert, DE Austin Edwards, LB Edmond Robinson and WR Chris Rowland were designated as the team's four protected practice squad players for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Chicago Bears QB Tyler Bray was protected from selection off the practice squad for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson should continue to see an unimpeded path to RB1 duties this Sunday against the Cardinals with both Carlos Hyde (shoulder) and Rashaad Penny (knee) unlikely to suit up. Carson was limited to just eight carries in his most recent outing, but that was primarily due to the nature of the game flow; fantasy managers can expect to see him rack up his usual workload and then some against Arizona. Having amassed three rushing and three receiving scores so far this season, Carson has retained a considerable role in the Seattle offense, with Travis Homer a distant second to cutting into his workload. Carson is a must-start in season-long formats and should have some considerable DFS appeal.