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The Giants Can Calm the Storm on Monday Night

The Rams should be just what the doctor ordered

By Josh Alper
|  Monday, Sep 19, 2011  |  Updated 1:21 PM EDT
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Time for the Giants to point themselves in the right direction.

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It's cliche to say that you can't tell much about an NFL team after one week of the season.

That doesn't stop people from trying to draw conclusions, however. You can't really blame them for jumping the gun after so many months without football, but you also can't put much stock into anything that happens in Week One.

Good teams struggle and bad teams find a way to win because everything is still starting to take shape for the long slog to come. Even two games is a bit soon to push any kind of panic buttons, although it wouldn't be the least bit surprising to see some itchy fingers if the Giants lose to the Rams on Monday night.

Fear about this Giants season started mounting long before the team laid an egg in Washington last weekend and an 0-2 start would confirm suspicions that this simply isn't a very good Giants team. The major problems -- the secondary, the lack of weapons on offense -- aren't things that are going to get better during the season and other issues will likely arise as the season takes its toll on the roster.

Once you throw in Tom Coughlin's tenuous job security and a team that reacted to Week One by turning on one another, you've got a recipe for a serious chorus of "The sky is falling!" around the team.

In other words, it is a pretty good night for the Giants to pick up a win. It's a good thing, then, that the deck is stacked in their favor.

The Rams are rolling into town without Steven Jackson and Danny Amendola, their best running back and wide receiver, and with an offense that didn't look much different from last year's uber-conservative unit in a Week One loss to the Eagles despite a lot of hype about Sam Bradford running the Josh McDaniels offense. The Giants did a good job stopping the run last week and if the secondary can do a better job of staying close to receivers, there's a good chance that they can keep St. Louis out of the end zone for much of the night.

The Rams defense, meanwhile, struggled to stop the run, giving the Giants a chance to establish themselves on the ground with Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs. If they do that, Eli Manning will be able to use play action to slow the Rams blitzers and make plays down the field.

That's the blueprint, anyway. The Giants will still have to show that they can convert on third downs offensively without Steve Smith (who you probably saw playing on Sunday night despite that injury the Giants thought would keep him out for weeks) and the defense will have to make sure the Rams don't do the same after failing miserably on that front last weekend.

The Giants' task on Monday night is clear. Win, put Week One to bed and make sure the panic button remains untouched.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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