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Giants - Chargers
Game 5 preview
Sunday Oct 8, 1:00 PM - Chargers at Giants

Giants (0-4) vs Chargers (0-4)
Last Sunday the Eagles took an early lead over the LA Chargers playing in StubHub Center, their temporary home. The Chargers chipped away and came close, cutting the lead to just two points twice in the fourth quarter, and ended up with a 26-24 loss.
The Giants were playing at Tampa Bay and held the lead twice during the game. Then, for the second week in a row they watched a kicker on the final play of the game hand them another loss, this time 25-23.

Giants - Tampa Bay Wrap-Up

L.A. Chargers
The Chargers had won only four games in 2015 and then five in 2016. Now they're in a new town with a new head coach. Anthony Lynn was a former running back's coach with the Buffalo Bills, and his influence in that area can only help. The running game has been a problem for the Chargers for a number of years.
Quarterback Philip Rivers has been with the Chargers since 2004 and he isn't slowing down. Rivers has started 180 straight games, and in eight of the last nine seasons has thrown for over 4000 yards. Since 2006 when he became the Chargers full time starter, he has completed at least 60 percent of his passes in each year, and has a 64.4 career average.
The Chargers brought back their old kicker this week and waived rookie Younghoe Koo who had missed on three of six field goals. Nick Novak kicked for the Chargers from 2011 to 2014, and made 101 of his 117 field goal attempts, and 156 of his 157 extra-point attempts.

LA Chargers Offense
Each of the Chargers top three wide receivers averaged at least 14 yards per catch last season. Tyrell Williams, Dontrelle Inman and Travis Benjamin were on the receiving end of half of Philip Rivers total completions (349 for 4386 yards and 33 touchdowns). Tight end Antonio Gates caught 53 passes, and this year he passed
Tony Gonzalez for the tight end touchdown record with 112. For this game Williams is nursing a neck injury and is listed as questionable, but will likely play. Inman had core muscle surgery in the offseason, and hasn't seen much playing time.
Running back Melvin Gordon played well last year coming off a poor rookie start the season before that. Gordon was just shy of 1000 yards rushing (997) and had 10 touchdowns. This year his average per carry has dropped a bit as well as the number of carries, with the Chargers finding themselves playing from behind in the second half of games. Meanwhile, their second leading rusher Branden Oliver is out for this game with a hamstring issue.

LA Chargers Defense
Defensive ends Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram will be up against a struggling offensive line. Ingram has 5.5 sacks on the season, and Bosa has 2.5. The Giants will definitely try to get a running game going to keep these two at bay. Other teams have been successful, as the Chargers are giving up 163.5 rushing yards per game, and have allowed five rushing plays of 40-plus yards. Rookie Wayne Gallman finally gave the Giants a spark with running last week with 11 carries for 42 yards, and he caught two passes for 8 yards, including a touchdown.
Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley is in the same mindset as his counterpart on the Giants. He's looking for improved tackling and to shore up the defense against the running game. Cornerback Casey Hayward led the NFL last season with seven interceptions, and will be hoping that the pass pressure on Eli Manning will lead to him getting his first this season. His gameplay against the Eagles last week was outstanding. Overall the Chargers have allowed just 192 passing yards a game, putting them near the top area, and have given up just one passing play of 40-plus yards.

Giants Offense
The Giants have had problems all season (and last season) long with their offensive line. They could be worse off this week having to make more changes, as center Weston Richburg suffered a concussion last week and will not play in this game. Richburg had started in the last 26 games and will be replaced by Brett Jones, making his first NFL career start at that position. Jones had played in the Canadian Football League as a center for two seasons. Meanwhile, guard John Jerry, a starter in the last 20 games, was added to the injury report on Friday and is listed as questionable. Right tackle Bobby Hart sould be back, which would allow Justin Pugh to return to left guard.
Somehow Eli Manning takes all this in stride as he works behind the ever changing front line. He keeps himself frisky enough to avoid sacks while completing just about seventy percent of his passes (69.9). That number would be even better if Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall had managed to hang on to some catchable balls, and so too might the win-loss record. GM Jerry Reese in the offseason indicated that Manning was "on the back nine" as he put it, but maybe it goes the other way as for his ability to draft properly to protect a quarterback and establish a running game.

Giants Defense
Things have not been going as well as they had in 2016. The defense was tough against the run last season, but now is allowing 4.6 yards per carry, and 142.8 rushing yards per game. Last week seemed better for overall yards (111), but the Bucs lead running back Doug Martin was not playing, and the second leading rusher, Jacquizz Rodgers, averaged 5.2 yards a carry. Now they're up against the Chargers, a team that has much the same problems as the Giants, and has been averaging just 67.5 yards a game.
As far as the pass defense goes, Jason Pierre-Paul is dealing with a shoulder injury, Olivier Vernon had to leave the game last week in the second half, and cornerback Janoris Jenkins is working with an ankle injury. The
Giants struggle against tight ends and have allowed the second most yards and the most touchdowns to them. Facing Antonio Gates is no picnic for any team. Middle linebacker B.J. Goodson is a boost returning from his shin injury.

Overall
The careers of Eli Manning and Philip Rivers, two very durable quarterbacks, will always be tied together. These teams rarely play each other and this could be the last time they face off. The numbers are close this season with both teams sporting 0-4 records. Manning has thrown for 1113 yards and Rivers 1107, and both quarterbacks have each thrown for 6 touchdowns and 4 interceptions.
Excluding a tie game, one of these teams will have notched their first win of the season and will leave the stadium with the feeling that they have changed the course of their season. A win against an 0-4 team could be fools gold, but just maybe, it could really be the start of something. For this game you have to factor in west coast to east coast travel, and the early start time. I'll call on Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall to hang onto the football on crucial drives, and for the Giants running game to work against the Charger defense to give the Giants their first win.

NFC East Games
Sunday at 1:00pm Chargers (0-4) at Giants (0-4)
Sunday at 1:00pm Cardinals (2-2) at Eagles (3-1)
Sunday at 4:25pm Packers (3-1) at Cowboys (2-2)
The Giants, Eagles and Cowboys favored to win in these games.
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Notes.

Giants Eli Manning was drafted No. 1 overall in 2004 by the San Diego Chargers.

Giants Eli Manning has the only rushing touchdown in this season.

Giants Evan Engram leads all rookie tight ends with 19 receptions, 200 yards, and 10 receiving first downs.

Giants are the only team in the NFL that has yet to reach 100 yards rushing.

Chargers have had nine straight losses dating back to last season.

Chargers in the last 25 games decided by one score, are 5-20 in those games.

Chargers Antonio Gates touchdown catch in game two was the 112th of his career, and he surpassed Tony Gonzalez for the tight end record.

Chargers Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates have connected on 85 touchdowns, the most in NFL history for a quarterback-tight end tandem.

Only one team in NFL history - the 1992 Chargers - ever made it to the playoffs after starting 0-4.

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Oct 15 Giants at Broncos.
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Oct 22 Seahawks at Giants.
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