Chargers vs. Giants matchups, start time and how to watch
When Chargers have the ball: Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi called New York’s defensive front “heavy and violent and hard to move.” He praised the Giants for their strength inside and up the middle and for the varied looks they feature. All of this suggests the Chargers might have to rely on the arm of their quarterback. Fortunately for Lombardi, he has Justin Herbert in that position. Herbert is coming off a performance that earned him the AFC’s offensive player of the week honor. In a 41-22 victory over Cincinnati, Herbert threw for 317 yards and had three completions of at least 40 yards. Statistically, New York is a middle-of-pack defense against the pass. “Whatever you see on film, if an idea pops into your mind, it’s, ‘Hey, we can do it,’” Lombardi said of the possibilities of this offense. “There are no limitations with the receivers and the quarterback.” Except no Keenan Allen this week (COVID). Only Indianapolis running back Jonathan Taylor has scored more touchdowns this season than the Chargers’ Austin Ekeler. Two more scoring receptions would give Ekeler nine, tying the NFL’s all-time single-season mark for a running back. “When you’ve got a guy that’s playing as hot as J. Herb and the protection our O-line gives us ... it’s like, ‘Well, we can run, but our pass looks pretty good too,’” Ekeler said. “So, yeah, we mix it up. We always have an emphasis [on running the ball]. But I mean, in reality, it’s like, ‘OK, we need to run the ball when it’s time to run the ball, otherwise we’re probably throwing it.’”
Chargers safety Derwin James is questionable to play Sunday against the New York Giants because of a hamstring injury.
When Giants have the ball: New York has 18 offensive touchdowns, which is only three more than Ekeler has scored. The Chargers have 38 offensive touchdowns. The Giants generated three field goals in their 20-9 loss last weekend in Miami and 32 points total over their last three games. Quarterback Mike Glennon has been cleared from concussion protocol in time to start. He’s playing in place of Daniel Jones, who remains out because of a neck injury. The Giants do have weapons, including running back Saquon Barkley, but they have a variety of injuries among their wide receivers and have failed to produce big results during the times when they’ve been healthier. Defensively, the Chargers are trending in the right direction heading into the season’s final stretch. They’ve even emerged from the basement in run defense, entering Week 14 ranked 31st league-wide, one spot ahead of Houston. New York’s best chance would be to remain close in a low-scoring game and pull out some sort of shocking result in the closing minutes. The Chargers are only 3-3 at SoFi Stadium — compared to 4-2 on the road — but losing this home game against this quarterback and this offense truly would be a stunner.
When they kick: Dustin Hopkins missed his second extra point in 17 tries for the Chargers last weekend but later kicked a pair of 43-yard field goals. He is nine for 10 on field goals since joining the team in late October. Graham Gano is 25 for 29 on field goals and 14 for 14 on extra points for the Giants.
Jeff Miller’s prediction: The Chargers should control this game and win without drama, words rarely typed in this space.
CHARGERS 27, GIANTS 9
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