ST. LOUIS - SEPTEMBER 11: Sam Bradford #8 of the St. Louis Rams hands the ball off against the Philadelphia Eagles at the Edward Jones Dome on September 11, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Eagles beat the Rams 31-13. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Eli Manning and the New York Giants or Sam Bradford and the St. Louis Rams will be able to shape the early part of their season with a victory in Week 2's Monday Night Football contest.
The St. Louis Rams and the New York Giants both find themselves coming off disappointing performances heading into a long-scheduled date with Monday Night Football, and while it's foolish to consider a Week 2 game a must-win for anyone in the NFL, each team's near future will be defined in the media by what they do on the regular season's biggest stage.
Sam Bradford and the Rams were bitten by the worrisome inexperience—or maybe simple incompetence—of their receiving corps against the tough Philadelphia Eagles, with rookies Lance Kendricks and Greg Salas both dropping vitally important passes over the middle with the Rams still in the game. With injuries to offensive stalwarts like Steven Jackson and Danny Amendola, the defense—itself without Ron Bartell—could again be forced onto the field more often than it can stand.
Eli Manning was scattershot but relatively effective in the Giants' 28-14 loss to Rex Grossman(!) and the Washington Redskins, reaching 268 yards on 32 passes, but he only scored on a quarterback sneak and his third-quarter interception with the score tied led to the Skins' go-ahead touchdown; he couldn't get the Giants back to the end zone after that.