1:00 PM ET, October 2, 2005
St. Louis (2-1) at NY Giants (2-1), Sunday 1:00 pm EDT
EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- The New York Giants and St. Louis Rams will meet for the sixth time in seven seasons on Sunday. But this will mark the first time that Eli Manning will duel Marc Bulger.
Manning is coming off a career-high 352-yard passing performance before a hostile crowd in a 45-23 loss at San Diego last weekend. Manning originally was drafted by the Chargers, but refused to play for them and was shipped to New York.
Bulger was signed as an undrafted player by the Rams in 2001 and eventually unseated Kurt Warner as the starting quarterback. Last season, Bulger completed 66 percent of his passes and threw for 3,964 yards and 21 touchdowns with 14 interceptions as the Rams made the playoffs as a wild card.
Manning was 1-6 as a starter last season after also replacing Warner, passing for 1,043 yards and six touchdowns with nine interceptions.
He didn't compile big numbers in the Giants' first two wins this season - 42-19 over Arizona and 27-10 over New Orleans - but shined in the loss to San Diego.
Both quarterbacks have plenty of weapons. Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce remain one of the league's premier receiving tandems with Shaun McDonald and Kevin Curtis serving as the third and fourth receivers for the Rams. Steven Jackson is now the top back with Marshall Faulk serving as the all-purpose backup.
But Shockey created some controversy this week by blaming coach Tom Coughlin for benching Burress in the first quarter at San Diego because he was late for meetings.
"I understand his (Coughlin's) point, but it's really not fair," Shockey said of Burress' benching. "It affects the whole team. You should have your best players on the field. The whole offense suffered from him not being there (in the first quarter)."
Burress admitted he was indeed late for a couple of meetings.
"He decided to sit me on the bench to prove a point, I guess," said Burress, who had five catches for 52 yards against San "I tried to brush it off and keep my head in the game."
Manning believes that Burress has learned his lesson.
"He knows what happened," Manning said. "He's learned from his mistakes. I don't think it will happen again."
The Rams beat Tennessee, 31-27, in their home opener last week. Bulger completed 21-of-28 passes for 292 yards and three touchdowns. Holt had six receptions for 193 yards, including a 32-yard touchdown.
The Giants have won the last two meetings - 26-21 at St. Louis in September 2002 and 23-13 at Giants Stadium in September 2003.
Matchup to watch: Shockey, who had six catches for 101 yards last week, matches up against strong safety Adam Archuleta, who returned an interception 85 yards for a touchdown in the win over Tennessee.
Series: The Rams lead, 25-11, and had won five straight before dropping the last two.
Next week: St. Louis hosts Seattle, October 9 NY Giants have their bye
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Jackson's workload should increase
St. Louis' offensive line play has been shaky at times; its secondary has been depleted by injuries; and this will be its third game on the road, but the Rams are finding ways to win, so don't count them out. This week look for them to lean on RB Steven Jackson and the running game. A strong commitment to the running game will take some pressure of an offensive line that hasn't pass protected well and help keep the defense rested. That doesn't bode well for the Giants, as their run defense surrendered 268 yards on 33 carries last week.
Giants QB Eli Manning is beginning to realize his potential and his progress combined with the production of RB Tiki Barber gives the Giants a balanced attack. As a result, the Rams' can't mask their lack of ideal size at corner by consistently dropping seven men into coverage and they can't consistently solidify the run defense by moving a safety into the box. The ability of Manning to recognize what the defense is trying to take away and adjust to take what's available will play a big role in the outcome of this game.
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|Avg Points Allowed||27.8||24.5|
Team Averages & NFL Ranks
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|TEAM DEFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Pass Yds Allowed||STL|
|Rush Yds Allowed||STL|
Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)
|NY Giants leads 3-1|
|Sep 7, 2003||STL 13, @NYG 23|
|Sep 15, 2002||STL 21, NYG 26|
|Oct 14, 2001||STL 15, NYG 14|