THE GAME: The Giants (3-3) vs. the Los Angeles Rams (3-3) at Twickenham Stadium in London on Sunday, Oct. 23, 9:30 a.m. ET.
THE WEATHER: It's exactly what you'd expect in London, but possibly without the fog and the rain. Temperatures will be in the low-to-mid 50s with a bit of wind (10-20 miles per hour) and plenty of clouds.
WHAT IT MEANS: The Giants got themselves back on track last weekend with a solid, gutty performance against an undermanned Ravens team, and this is their chance to keep their momentum going heading into the bye. Really, if they are 4-3 at the bye with all the issues that have been swirling around them, and they're only a game-and-a-half behind the idle Cowboys, whom they've already beaten, that puts them in pretty good position at the nearly halfway point. They'll take that. It's certainly better than having two weeks to think about a loss, on top of everything else that's going on.
PLAYER TO WATCH: WR Odell Beckham. Remember when he was the Giants' biggest problem? You miss those days already, I bet. Anyway, he's worth watching here for a couple of reasons. For one, the last time the Giants played the Rams - two years ago - they became the first team to really go hard, physically after the Giants' easy-to-incite receiver they nearly ignited a full-scale brawl. Will they do it again? Well, keep in mind their defensive coordinator is Gregg "Bountygate" Williams. Also, tactics like that often work on Beckham. One thing that doesn't work? Single coverage. He saw a lot of that on Sunday against the Ravens when Beckham exploded for eight catches, 222 yards and two touchdowns. The Rams' pass defense is the bottom half of the league. They've been in London now since last Monday. A majority of these London games have been high-scoring. Beckham could be in line for a big day.
MATCHUP TO WATCH: Giants interior offensive line vs. Rams DT Aaron Donald. If you like smashmouth football, this could be a treat. The 6-foot-1, 285-pound Donald is considered by many to be the best defensive tackle in the NFL these days. He's certainly the most explosive player at that position and maybe the best pass rusher, though so far he only has three sacks. Regardless, with his speed and quickness and power he'll be a handful for the Giants' inside three of center Weston Richburg and guards Justin Pugh and John Jerry. A good guess would be that Donald lines up often over Jerry, who has been playing well but is the weakest link of those three. He'll likely get a ton of help from Richburg, though. Whoever has to block him, their ability to do that is the key to whether the Giants have any prayer of running the ball successfully inside - or on any short-yardage plays. And if Donald can be a force in the pass rush and make Eli Manning move outside of the pocket, that mean big trouble for the Giants.
INJURY REPORT: Beckham (hip) is going to play, so everyone take a deep breath. Even though he missed a couple of practices before the Giants' flight to London, that was never really in doubt. He did most of his damage last week with what the Giants have called a "hip pointer" too. They are again shorthanded at safety with Nat Berhe (concussion) and Darian Thompson (foot) out, but they're used to that by now. And RT Marshall Newhouse (calf) is out again, but Bobby Hart has done reasonably well as his replacement. It sounds like the only other player they're not sure about is long-snapper Zak DeOssie (questionable, ankle). They have practice squad long-snapper Tyler Ott on standby, if needed. … Oh, and while this isn't an injury, it's worth noting that - as you may have heard - K Josh Brown didn't make the trip and former Bears K Robbie Gould will take his place. … The Rams will be without DT Michael Brockers (thigh) and CB Trumaine Johnson (ankle), both of whom are significant losses for their mediocre defense. Both their starting defensive ends - William Hayes (ankle) and Robert Quinn (shoulder) are listed as questionable, but both practiced fully on Friday and are expected to play.
Expect more of Trevin Wade and Leon Hall and maybe even plenty of newcomer Coty Sensabaugh. Also questionable for Sunday are WR/KR Dwayne Harris (toe), RB Rashad Jennings (thumb), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (groin) and LB Devon Kennard (concussion). It sounds like Jennings will play, but he may need to share a little time with Orleans Darkwa. JPP insisted he will play, but the Giants might have to be careful with his snap count, too.
THE PICK: The average margin of victory in this International series in London has been 15 points, but that number has been skewed by four blowouts. Take those out and the average margin of victory in the other 11 games has been eight. So in other words, despite the unusual setting, the disruption to routine, and the hassles of long, international travel, these have proven to be close and just like regular NFL games. With that said, the Giants are simply a better team than the Rams if they can play like they did last week. The Rams, with Case Keenum at quarterback, have been a mess offensively and they can't even get running back Todd Gurley going (2.9 yards per carry).
They are stronger on defense to be sure, but they are banged up there and their numbers have been mediocre. Meanwhile, the Giants really seemed to hit their stride last week and that had the feel of the beginning of the run. Beckham was destined for a breakout, and now that he's had it he's probably not going to regress much. And with him reestablished as a dominant threat, which should open up a ton for the rest of the Giants' weapons. So they should score in this game. A lot. Certainly a lot more than the Rams are capable of scoring. As long as Beckham keeps his head and doesn't let the Rams rattle him, the Giants won't be in danger of having this game come down to their new, emergency kicker having to make a big kick. … Giants 34, Rams 16.
MY RECORD: 4-2.