In a battle of two surprising 0-4 teams, the Los Angeles Chargers take on the New York Football Giants on Sunday, October 8 at MetLife Stadium. One shall stand, and one shall fall before it’s all said and done.
Let’s take a look at today’s action:
Sunday’s Quarterback Battle
Lost in the crumbling season for the Giants has been the solid showing these last two weeks by Eli Manning. The Giants field general has thrown for 654 yards and five touchdowns in his last two games after throwing for 406 yards and one touchdown in his first two. The return of receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has certainly helped Manning’s cause, as has the coaching staff’s decision to tweak the scheme to where the offensive line isn’t forced to hold its blocks endlessly. This week, the passing game is up for a tough challenge as Beckham is ailing and Brandon Marshall is still trying to find his way.
On the other side, the Chargers want to take pressure off quarterback Philip Rivers, with their ground game but they have been unable to run the ball consistently. Still, the Giants haven’t had much luck stopping opposing runners either. Austin Ekeler, an undrafted rookie out of Western State Colorado, will get a look as the Chargers try to energize their lethargic running attack.
Rivers, like Manning, is more of a classic pocket passer who moves around only if he absolutely, positively has to. If the Giants’ front four can push and collapse the pocket a few times, they can probably force Rivers into making some mistakes with the ball.
Giants running game vs. Chargers ILB Jatavis Brown.
The current Giants running game has a long way to go before it rivals the ground-and-pound unit of 2008, which saw both Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw each rush for 1,000 yards. But, last week, this unit managed to record a season-high 91 yards, with rookie Wayne Gallman delivering a very promising debut of 42 yards on 11 carries. Gallman, Shane Vereen, Paul Perkins and, if healthy, Orleans Darkwa will try to build on their positive showing against Brown, whose 41 tackles are second in the NFL. Brown is nursing a foot injury, but early word out of Los Angeles is that he’s expected to play Sunday.
Chargers passing game vs. Giants pass defense.
Rivers, when given time, can still deliver a strike. He proved it last week on numerous occasions. He also proved if he is flushed from the pocket, the turnovers aren’t far behind. If the pass blocking is keen, Rivers can attack a secondary that has played its worst when its best was needed. The Giants have been unable to hold fourth-quarter leads in consecutive games, both losses, because their secondary gets leaky. The Chargers can send Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams and others at it. Landon Collins is an All-Pro safety, but there are some flaws in the Giants’ secondary that Rivers can exploit. Trouble is, Rivers has been sacked four times, hit 22 times and had 24 quarterback pressures.
There is far too much talent on both sidelines for either of these teams to be 0-4. Unless this game ends in an unlikely tie, one shall break its winless streak. While the Bolts are poised for a breakout game, the G-Men are due for a solid showing on both sides of the ball. The Chargers will get that elusive win…and are capable of rattling off a few more. However, they may have to wait another week or two for that to come to fruition.
Giants 20, Chargers 14.
-Mike D’Abate is the Managing Editor for cover32.com/Chargers and covers the Los Angeles Chargers. He is also a National Content Writer for cover32.com and covers the NFL.