Team Giants


Giants - Chargers
Game 13 preview
Sunday Dec 12, 4:05 PM - Giants at Chargers

Giants (4-8) Chargers (7-5)
Playing in Cincinnati last Sunday, the Los Angeles Chargers saw their second quarter 24 point lead drop to just 2 points by the end of the third quarter. The Chargers got back on track after that, and held the Bengals scoreless while they added two touchdowns and a field goal for a 41-22 win.
In the game last week at Miami, the Giants were struggling to make a go of it using their backup quarterback. They were down just 10-3 at the end of the first half, but couldn't find a way to get their offense going. The Giants ended up scoring only two more field goals and took a 20-9 loss to the Dolphins.

Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers finished second in the division in 2018 with a 12-4 record to the Kansas City Chiefs, who were also 12-4. Tie breakers gave the Chiefs the title, but the Chargers were in the playoffs. They won the Wild Card game with the Ravens, before losing out to the Patriots in the Divisional Playoffs. After that the Chargers had a 5-11 season, and last year finished 7-9.
With new head coach Brandon Staley, they've already matched the 7 wins they had last year, and have five left to play. The Chiefs are just ahead of them with an 8-4 record, and these two teams will play each other right after the Giants game next Thursday. Staley was the defensive coordinator in 2020 for the Los Angeles Rams. That defense finished the season 1st in passing defense and points allowed, 3rd in rushing defense, and 2nd in sacks.

Chargers Offense
Quarterback Justin Herbert was the NFL Rookie of the year last season. Herbert set NFL records for passing touchdowns (31), total touchdowns (36), and completions (396). Herbert is on track to pass all those numbers, and currently is third in the NFL with 27 touchdown passes, and first with seven 300-yard passing games. Wide receiver Keenan Allen is Herbert's favorite target, as he was last year when he led the team in catches, yards and touchdowns. Right now Allen is tied for second in the league with 86 receptions, but he will miss this game, having tested positive for COVID-19 this week.
The Chargers second leading receiver is Mike Williams, who was in league protocols as a close contact to Allen. Williams is tied with running back Austin Ekeler for the most receiving touchdowns, each having seven. Ekeler has really turned it on in that area. Last year he caught two touchdown passes, and ran for one. Right now Ekeler has those 7 he caught, to go with his 8 rushing touchdowns. Herbert is the second leading ball carrier, with 2 touchdowns on 44 carries.

Chargers Defense
Edge rusher Joey Bosa missed two games last year, and was still second in the AFC with 15 tackles for a loss. Bosa also led the team with 7.5 sacks, and is leading the team now with that exact same number. Last week this defense came up with four turnovers, and feasted on Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow, sacking him six times. They are tough with their passing defense, allowing 209.5 passing yards a game, and just 17 passing touchdowns, and this week they will be playing against a backup quarterback. The Chargers are 31st in the NFL against the run, allowing an average of 141 rushing yards per game and 4.6 yards per carry. Their 17 rushing touchdowns surrendered is the third-most in the league.
The Chargers have been improving on that over the last few games. They rank 27th in the league in points allowed, but they are up against the Giants, who struggle to get past 20 points a game. The Giants had no touchdowns, and scored just 9 points last week against the Miami Dolphins. The defense has had trouble getting teams off the field on third down plays, allowing opponents to gain a first down 44.4 percent of the time.

Giants Offense
The big issue for the offense week in and week out has been, who will be playing, and how functional will that player be. Wide receiver Kadarius Toney will be out for the third consecutive week. Sterling Shepard and Kenny Golladay, who was hurt in last week's game, practiced this week. They are both listed as questionable, with Golladay looking the best to play on Sunday.
Daniel Jones has been ruled out for this game, just as he was last week when Mike Glennon filled in as the starter.
Jones suffered a neck injury on Nov. 28 against the Philadelphia Eagles, and finished that game, but is still dealing with that injury. Glennon for sure will need something much better than what he got from his two running backs last week. Leaning on Saquon Barkley and Devontae Booker in his first start, they ran the ball 8 times for 21 yards, and caught 4 out of 6 passes for minus 6 yards in that first half.
Barkley and Booker did better in the second half running and catching, but it wasn't enough to move the needle. Barkley has had another week to recover from the ankle sprain that forced him to miss four games. Both runners will be up against a defense that is weak defending the ground game. Maybe this time they'll be able to get something going to help Glennon keep the offense on the field, and the Chargers offense off it.

Giants Defense
With the Chargers missing Keenan Allen, the overall task for this defense gets a bit easier. Justin Herbert has a total 176 passing first downs on the season, and Allen was responsible for 53. The next thing to deal with is Austin Ekeler. He leads all the running backs in the league with 7 touchdown catches, and is near the top in receptions and yards. The Giants will have to play tough up front. Ekeler keeps the ground game moving, averaging 4.4 yards a carry, and is responsible for more than half of their rushing first downs. They'll also have to keep an eye on quarterback Justin Herbert. Ekeler and Herbert have accounted for 58 of the 73 rushing first downs.
The Giants did a good job on that with the Dolphins last week, limiting them to just 68 yards on 25 attempts for an average of 2.7 yards per carry, and just one rushing first down. Linebacker Tae Crowder has shown improvement filling in for Blake Martinez, and he needs to keep it up or Ekeler will have a big day. Cornerback James Bradberry hasn't been playing his best this season, and opposing quarterbacks have taken notice. Herbert is a very good quarterback, and last week Tua Tagovailoa completed 73.2 percent of his passes for 244 yards, 2 touchdowns and zero interceptions.

The Giants are 4-8 and any chance of making the playoffs is all but gone, but they keep at it. The Giants were in Tucson between games with Miami and Los Angeles, as Joe Judge felt it would be beneficial for the players to adjust to the weather and time zone changes. Any plan to help the Giants get an extra boost in this game with the Chargers was worth trying.
The Chargers have an all important game with the Kansas City Chiefs coming up the following Thursday after this Giants game. Having Sterling Shepard, Kenny Golladay and Saquon Barkley playing at full strength would be a big boost for the Giants, especially if the Chargers aren't prepared for it.

NFC East Games
Sunday at 1:00pm Cowboys (8-4) at Washington (6-6).
Sunday at 4:05pm Giants (4-8) at Chargers (7-5).
The Cowboys are the only NFC East team favored to win in these games.
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Next Games
Dec 19 Cowboys at Giants

Dec 26 Giants at Eagles

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