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Giants-Chargers matchups

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Sep 25, 2005.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    Source: <a href="http://www.nj.com/sports/ledger/index.ssf?/base/sports-0/1127629275158570.xml&coll=1" target="_blank">Star Ledger</a>

    BY MIKE GARAFOLO
    Star-Ledger Staff

    GIANTS ON OFFENSE

    Playing in front of a hostile crowd, QB Eli Manning must maintain his composure and keep the offense focused. One sack or interception will whip the Chargers' fans into a frenzy and pump up the defense. It will be a good test to see how far he has come mentally since folding in raucous environments in Baltimore and Washington last year. Of course, he didn't have WR Plaxico Burress back then. Through two games, Burress leads the Giants with 10 catches for 140 yards. His height and athleticism have made him Manning's favorite target. The last time Burress faced the Chargers, he scored two touchdowns on the Steelers' first three drives. But San Diego then adjusted by scrapping their man coverage in favor of a zone defense that held Burress to zero catches in the second half. It will be interesting to see which strategy the Chargers employ this week. Double-coverage could mean more room for RB Tiki Barber (two touchdowns last week) and TE Jeremy Shockey (seven catches for 93 yards this year) to operate.

    CHARGERS ON OFFENSE

    RB LaDainian Tomlinson set an NFL record last week by rushing for a touchdown in his 14th straight game. But the last two games of that streak haven't been vintage Tomlinson. He has carried the ball only 19 times per game and has not caught a pass (after grabbing 100 two years ago). Things won't get any easier for Tomlinson this week as he faces a Giants defense that has allowed the second-fewest yards rushing in the NFL (103) and leads the league in fewest yards per attempt (2.4). The Giants also haven't allowed a rushing touchdown so far this year, meaning either their streak or Tomlinson's will end. As for the passing game, QB Drew Brees, who was the comeback player of the year last season, has digressed. Brees has completed only 57 percent of his passes and has thrown three interceptions to only two touchdowns. TE Antonio Gates returned from a one-game suspension last week to catch six passes for 80 yards. Not having the athletic Gates, who caught 13 touchdowns last year, hurt the Chargers in their Week 1 loss to the Cowboys.

    SPECIAL TEAMS

    Giants: One week after the Giants won their opener thanks to an incredible special teams performance, LB Nick Greisen forced a fumble on the opening kickoff that was recovered by rookie LB Chase Blackburn. Three plays later, the Giants took a 7-0 lead over the Saints and never looked back. K Jay Feely was a perfect 2-for-2 and P Jeff Feagles, second in the NFC in net average, received solid coverage once again.

    Chargers: They are 28th in the league in yards allowed per punt return (13.6) -- not an encouraging number considering the Giants sixth in return average (11.9). San Diego's kick coverage has been much better, though. The longest return they've allowed was a 22-yarder last week against the Broncos.

    INJURIES

    Giants: LB Barrett Green (knee/ankle), DE Michael Strahan (back spasms) and CB Corey Webster (quadriceps) are questionable. K Jay Feely (back) and S Shaun Williams (hamstring) are probable.

    Chargers: G Toniu Fonoti (hand) is questionable. DE Jacques Cesaire (elbow), WR Vincent Jackson (calf), DE Igor Olshansky (ankle/knee), WR Kassim Osgood (ribs) and LB Shaun Phillips (calf) are probable.

    X FACTOR

    LB Reggie Torbor. He'll often be responsible for covering Gates, a former basketball player whose leaping ability makes him a tough matchup for linebackers. Torbor was a defensive end in college at Auburn who has made the switch to linebacker with the Giants. With Carlos Emmons -- a good cover linebacker -- now on the weak side, Torbor has drawn the responsibility of covering opposing tight ends. On Friday, he said Gates will be his toughest test in his two-year career.

    QUICK STAT

    Of the seven teams that started 2-0 last year, six won their third game. Of the seven teams that started 0-2, six fell to 0-3.

    PREDICTION

    Chargers 31, Giants 14
     

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