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Los Angeles Rams vs. New York Giants Point Spread - Pick

Los Angeles Rams (5-2 SU, 4-3 ATS) vs. New York Giants (1-6 SU, 3-4 ATS)
Week 9 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, November 5, 2017 at 1PM EDT
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey
TV: Fox

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: LAR -3.5/NYG +3.5
Over/Under Total: 42

The Los Angeles Rams come to East Rutherford to take on the New York Giants in week 9 action from MetLife Stadium. Both teams are coming off the bye-week. The Rams entered the break following two straight wins and four in their last five. In their last game, they shut out the Cardinals in London, 33-0. They are on a nice roll now and look for it to continue against a Giants team that has seen very little go their way in a 1-6 start to the season. In their last game before the break, they lost to the Seahawks, 24-7, but they were able to show signs of life the previous week with an upset win over Denver. Who can get the job done in Jersey this week?

The Rams have done an about-face this season. The offense looks to have gotten a big boost under the new leadership of head coach Sean McVay. They are averaging over 30 points a game and this was an offense that was terrible over the past two seasons. Improved QB play from Jared Goff has gone a long way, with Todd Gurley rediscovering his form, along with an improved cast of playmakers. And after some bumpy passages earlier this season, the defense has snapped into top form, giving up a total of 33 points in their last three games. Add in a good return game and a placekicker in Greg Zuerlein who has been automatic and we see how the Rams are 5-2.

Through 7 games, Jared Goff has been pretty good, certainly a ton better than he looked last season. When an offense lifts itself up from laughingstock status as dramatically as this Rams' offense has, the starting quarterback gets a lot of credit. Production aerially has come from a cabaret approach, including Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Gurley, and young tight ends Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett. WR Sammy Watkins, however, has been strangely silent, with just 70 combined yards receiving over the last four games. But Gurley has been able to bounce back from a rough 2016 season, with eight total touchdowns and he should surpass 1000 yards from scrimmage this week. Also helping is a reinforced offensive line that is better than anything the Rams have put out there recently.

For a while, it looked like the Rams were in the midst of a total role-reversal. The offense was winning games, while the defense was looking ragged in the first month of the season. But in the last three games, the defense is looking like the dominant one of seasons past. They've been getting good playmaking and better play in the secondary, with LaMarcus Joyner and Nickell Robey-Coleman each picking off multiple passes, with LB Mark Barron also getting a couple. They rush the passer well with Robert Quinn, Matt Longacre, Connor Barwin, and one of the best defensive linemen in the game in Aaron Donald. With that playmaking and increased overall stoutness, the Rams' defense is heading in the right direction. With an offense that has upgraded its game significantly, that could have the Rams in good shape moving forward.

The issues for the Giants are numerous and well-profiled by this point. After a big season last year, many picked the Giants to have a big playoff run this season. And after seeing a defensive overhaul manifest the previous season, some felt added pieces on the other side of the ball would manifest. It didn't happen. The offense never fired, they couldn't catch one break, and the team more or less fell to pieces. Over the course of the year, injuries began happening at an alarming rate and depleted the roster, especially on offense. Both sides of the ball have under-performed and it's difficult to picture a source of relief at this point. Hopefully for them, the off-week served as a time to refresh and regroup, but for their season to be practically a lost cause by week 9 is an NFL storyline that very few people saw coming.

It seems easy to blame the line when the offense doesn't fire, but the Giants really have a bad one. When they play well, it's the exception to the rule. With aging Eli Manning, the Giants have a quarterback who isn't that adept at side-stepping the pass-rush and he has often been a sitting duck. They lost both Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall for the season, but might be getting Sterling Shepard back soon. But that's not going to be enough. They have been getting some promising news out of the backfield, with Orleans Darkwa springing loose some recent runs in the last handful of games. Rookie tight end Evan Engram is an up-and-coming talent in this offense. But as it stands now, they're one of the more-underpowered and undependable offenses in the league.

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Some injuries haven't helped, nor has an offense that has hung them out to dry, but the New York defense has ebbed considerably this season. Last season, Eli Apple, Janoris Jenkins, Landon Collins, and others were pretty solid and they just haven't been as good this season and they haven't made anywhere as many big plays. They will be without malcontent corner Jenkins, who has been suspended by the team. Not having Olivier Vernon (questionable) in there has put a crimp in their pass-rushing prowess, but even when he was healthy, they weren't knocking it out of the park. It just seems like the Giants' must have had a pretty delicate formula for success last season because they have gotten derailed this season for reasons that aren't entirely clear. And while reasons can be cited for the slippage to some extent, it seems like it has gone beyond that this season.

These kinds of games can lead bettors astray. On one hand, you have a dilapidated Giants team that has gone completely into the tank, a dispirited group that had big hopes and is already almost out of it. On the other hand is an up-and-coming Rams team that is getting a lot out of what they have and has to be feeling really good about themselves. It paints a stark contrast, almost to the point where it seems too easy and you smell a rat. It's a long road trip for the Rams, even if their only losses this season have been at home. I see the Giants playing hard at home this week, but I see the momentum and LA's mettle on the road coming in handy, as they get the win and cover this week.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Los Angeles Rams minus 3.5 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet the Rams vs. Giants game by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 50% sign-up bonus!

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