St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford drops back to pass during a preseason… (Jeff Roberson / Associated…)
Is Flipper Anderson or Lawrence Taylor available?
The St. Louis Rams return to New Jersey to face their 0-1 counterpart New York Giants, 21 years after the franchises' classic overtime playoff game in which Anderson caught the winning pass and maintained his sprint toward a Meadowlands tunnel, bumping past a fat man wearing a stocking cap.
As the series resumes Monday night at MetLife Stadium, both teams are staggered by injuries and a multitude of questions about which stars will and won't play.
Rams quarterback Sam Bradford probably will play after bruising his right index finger and leaving in the fourth quarter of a 31-13 home loss against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1.
Bradford, who was 17 for 30 for 188 yards and no touchdowns in that game after a 3,500-yard rookie season, said he has felt "like Michael Jackson" being forced to wear a glove with electrodes in it to help the swollen finger heal.
More worrisome to the Rams is the status of running back Steven Jackson (doubtful), who impressively burst through a seam and ran for a 47-yard touchdown against the Eagles but strained his right quadriceps in the process.
Jackson is the Rams' tone-setter. His power running allows St. Louis to control the clock and forces more defenders to the line of scrimmage, freeing Bradford to find targets.
Possession receiver Danny Amendola is doubtful after dislocating an elbow in the opener, but Bradford still has addition Mike Sims-Walker, formerly of Jacksonville.
"Amendola is that team's Wes Welker," said Howie Long, the "Fox NFL Sunday" analyst whose son Chris plays on the Rams' defensive line.
The aches pain St. Louis Coach Steve Spagnuolo, who returns to New Jersey after directing the Giants' defense to a league-leading sacks total and Super Bowl in the 2007 season.
Spagnuolo called the Rams' injury report this week the worst in his three seasons.
"We certainly didn't envision losing all those guys," Spagnuolo said of defensive backs Ron Bartell (broken neck), Bradley Fletcher (sprained toe) and offensive tackle Jason Smith (sprained ankle).
Tom Coughlin, Spagnuolo's former boss, has enough problems of his own. Coughlin's decimated defense, without former USC defensive back Terrell Thomas and stalwarts Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora among others, gave up 305 passing yards to Washington's Rex Grossman in a 28-14 defeat last week.
To make life worse for Giants quarterback Eli Manning, top receiver Hakeem Nicks injured a knee in Week 1, though he is expected to play.