NFL 2017 Week 5: Los Angeles Chargers vs. New York Giants preview and prediction

Two winless team battle to see who gets out of the slump first.


The Chargers dropped their fourth straight game to start the season, suffering a 26-24 loss at home to the Eagles. Los Angeles played from behind all game long after yielding the game’s first 13 points. They battled back, largely via the arm of Philip Rivers. Rivers hit for big chunks of yardage all game long, throwing for 347 yards and a pair of scores, as both Keenan Allen and Tyrell Williams went over 100 yards. The Chargers struggled to contain the run all game long, however, especially late in the game when the Eagles picked up several key first downs to prevent a comeback.

For the second straight week, the Giants were beaten by a field goal at the final gun, losing 25-23 at Tampa Bay. The Giants did a nice job to battle back from a 13-pint first-quarter deficit. They eventually took the lead 23-22 when Eli Manning hit Rhett Ellison for a two-yard scoring strike with 3:16 to play. The crucial two-point conversion failed, and the Buccaneers drove down for the game-winner with relatively little resistance. Manning carried the Giants offense with 288 yards passing, two throwing scores and a running touchdown as the team fell to 0-4.

Somebody win one

It’s a little bit hard to believe that these two teams are meeting this late in the season without a win between them. Both were ridiculously close on a couple occasions, but close doesn’t get you much in the NFL. In the case of the Chargers, missed field goals were a bit part of the problem, which is why they’re going back to former kicker Nick Novak this week. As for the Giants, their biggest problem has been their tendency to fall into big early deficits.

Protecting Eli

The Giants passing game has picked up a bit the past two weeks as their offensive line has stabilized. It has helped that the two teams they played, the Eagles and Buccaneers, don’t have much in the way of an outside pass rush. Enter the Chargers, with the relentless edge duo of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. How well the Giants keep the heat off Manning will go a long way to determining how much they move the ball.

Finding the other guys

The Chargers have a solid corner in Casey Hayward, and it’s likely they’ll have him on Odell Beckham Jr. much of the game. But they are devoid of experience and playmaking talent besides that, especially with cornerback Jason Verrett out for the year. That means that Brandon Marshall, Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram have to step up and give some support in the Giants passing game.

Matchup to Watch: Chargers RB Melvin Gordon vs. Giants MLB B.J. Goodson

Gordon complained a bit during the week about the fact that he didn’t get the ball much against Philadelphia. That continued what seems to be a tug of war for the soul of the offense between Philip Rivers and the passing game and Gordon and the running game. Goodson is at the heart of what’s been a shaky run defense so far. It will be interesting to see if the Chargers try to exploit it.

Fantasy Football Tip: Giants Defense/Special Teams

The Giants defense was supposed to be one of the best for Fantasy purposes, but they’ve been extremely quiet to date. In a home game against a reeling team, it just seems like they’re due for a breakout game, especially if the offense gets them ahead for a change and puts the Chargers in desperate situations.

Betting Tip

The Giants are giving 3 ½ at home, and they just seem poised for a big effort after the near-misses. Give the points.

Prediction: Los Angeles Chargers 16-30 New York Giants

The Giants break the winless spell and Chargers coach Anthony Lynn starts hearings early rumblings about his job security.

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