San Diego Chargers vs New York Giants
Sunday, December 8, 2013 | 1:25 p.m. (PT)
Let’s keep this one simple and interesting. Today it will come down to the play of the two 2004 first round quarterbacks that were traded for each other before they even stepped on an NFL field. Eli Manning versus Philip Rivers. Two quarterbacks that will be tied together for the rest of eternity. We know, as Chargers’ fans, how well Rivers needs to play for this team to win. If Rivers is playing at a Pro Bowl level, San Diego has a chance. If not, this team usually struggles. Manning has not been good this year; he leads the NFC with 18 interceptions. However, in the Giants five wins Manning has only thrown three picks, while in their seven losses, he has 15 picks. The better quarterback will likely get his team a win.
The Chargers Win If…
The defense can shut down the Giants running game. New York is 26th in the league in rushing, but have seen the return of Andre Brown in the past few weeks. The Giants as a team are only averaging 87.7 yards per game, but even that number has dramatically increased since Brown’s return. The well-traveled running back has 343 yards in four games including two 100-yard performances. If you can shut down the running game, the Giants become one-dimensional and rely too heavily on Manning. This was the recipe to beat the Giants early in the season and the same strategy will work today for San Diego.
The Chargers Lose If…
The offense doesn’t account for at least three touchdowns. The Giants started the season 0-6 and in those games they gave up an average of 34.8 points per game. Since then, New York is 5-1 and only allowing 14.7 points per game. The defense that has been a nightmare on opposing quarterbacks and helped win two Super Bowls appears to be back for the Giants. The magic number this year against New York has been 21. Team’s scoring more than 21 points are 7-0 against the G-men, while those scoring less than 21 are 0-5. The Chargers get a win if they can put up points.
All your Chargers will be pretty good plays today. While New York’s defense has been coming on strong lately, the Giants turn the ball over enough to give the Chargers many opportunities to score. San Diego will attempt to play the time of possession game that has been so successful this year. This will mean a lot of Ryan Mathews and quick Rivers passing to avoid the Giants pass rush. Expect moderate returns from your Chargers fantasy players.
What’s At Stake
The playoffs are a long shot, but the way this season finishes says more about the coaching staff and the players’ will to fight for the staff than anything. If the Chargers can play a strong game today, they will ride a wave of momentum into a Thursday night game in Denver.
Line: Chargers -3
Money Line: New York +150 | San Diego -170