The Giants.com staff debates Big Blue topics heading into Sunday's game:
Wayne Gallman will lead the Giants in rushing for the second week in a row.
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact - I go fact here only because Paul Perkins is out and I am not sure how healthy Orleans Darkwa is. What seems to have been lost about Gallman's debut last week were his issues with ball control. He fumbled once, and nearly fumbled a second time in the game against Tampa Bay. I spotted him leaving the locker room this week holding a football. My guess is that ball control is something the coaches have stressed with him this week as well.
DAN SALOMONE: Fact -What about Eli Manning? He showed his wheels last week. However, he'll have to fight the rookie again for the honor of leading the team in rushing. As Ben McAdoo said, Gallman has electricity in his game and showed it last week. With Paul Perkins, the starter, sidelined, Gallman could be the man again on Sunday.
LANCE MEDOW: Fact:I think what helps Wayne Gallman's cause more than anything is that Paul Perkins (ribs) is out and Orleans Darkwa (back) is working his way back onto the field. So in all likelihood, Gallman will receive the most carries. That, combined with Gallman's performance last Sunday when he ran 11 times for 42 yards and handled his pass protection responsibilities very well, should provide for plenty of opportunities against the Chargers. If you're going to lead the team in rushing in a single week, you need to receive the bulk of the workload, and based on the injury report, that bodes well for Gallman.
Eli Manning will throw for more yards than Philip Rivers on Sunday.
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact - The Chargers would love to get Melvin Gordon going in this game. He hasn't gone for 80 or more yards in a game so far this season, and is averaging just 3.1 yards per carry. He rushed for only 22 yards last week against the Eagles. The Giants have not been able to consistently stop the run this year, so I would bet the Chargers go heavy run early and keep it up until the Giants stop them. Manning, when all is said and done, could throw it 10-15 more times than Rivers, which means he will have more yards.
DAN SALOMONE: Fiction -I think the Giants will be able to find a better run-pass balance this week. While the Chargers have dynamic pass rushers in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, they are allowing 163.5 yards per game on the ground, the second most in the league. And as we've talked about, Gallman could provide a spark to hitting the century mark for the first time this season as a team.
LANCE MEDOW: Fact - While Philip Rivers has thrown for more yards than the opposing quarterback in three of the Chargers' first four games, Eli Manning has only accomplished that feat twice. What makes this statement difficult to judge is that both teams have consistently played from behind, which calls for your quarterback to do the heavy lifting, but both teams are also struggling to stop the run with the Chargers ranking 31st in the NFL (allowing 164 yards per game) and the Giants 28th (143 yards). With all that being said, the Giants have struggled to capitalize on opposing teams' weaknesses. So what you see on paper has rarely translated to the field. Much like we saw with the Bucs, and considering Melvin Gordon only received 10 carries last Sunday against the Eagles, I think L.A. will look to set the tone with him early and mix in undrafted rookie Austin Ekeler, who is in line for an expanded role after a lengthy touchdown against Philly. That's why I'll lean toward Manning throwing for more yards than Rivers.
A look at the playmakers of the Giants' upcoming opponent
The Chargers' pass rushers are more of a concern than their offensive weapons.
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact -Melvin Ingram should be in the conversation of premier edge rushers like Khalil Mack and Von Miller. Pro Football Focus has him ranked as the seventh-best edge rusher in football this year, right behind Miller. One of the toughest things about dealing with Ingram is that he lines up all over the place. He'll play on the right side, left side, put his hand down, stand up, and even attack guards as a rusher. He has power, speed and an array of moves that will make your head spin. Oh yeah, Los Angeles also has Joey Bosa, last year's Defensive Rookie of the Year. He's pretty good, too. How the Giants handle these two beasts will go a long way towards determining this week's winner.
DAN SALOMONE: Fiction - I think outside observers are overlooking the Chargers' playmakers on offense. Ben McAdoo called wide receiver Keenan Allen "one of the most underrated players in this league when he's out there and healthy." He can line up anywhere to find the mismatch and already has a pair of 100-yard games this year. Meanwhile, running back Melvin Gordon is a dual threat. Oh, and then there are tight ends Hunter Henry and future Hall of Famer Antonio Gates, who has the most touchdowns by any player at the position in NFL history.
LANCE MEDOW: Fact - The Chargers are tied for third in the NFL with 12 sacks in four games. The defensive line has accounted for all 12 with ends Melvin Ingram (5.5) and Joey Bosa (2.5) combining for eight of them. The Giants' offensive line has been tested each week by notable pass rushers, but this duo may be the best combination they have seen thus far. It also remains to be seen what the offensive line configuration will be due to several injuries. Philip Rivers is surrounded by many weapons, but I don't think the Chargers present anything different from what the Giants have been dealing with through the first four games. LA's productive defensive front should be much more of a concern considering the Chargers also have a solid secondary, highlighted by Pro Bowl corner Casey Hayward.
This week's game will be decided by a field goal or less.
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact -Fact-slam! The Giants and Chargers have both specialized in close games this year. The Chargers have lost games by three points, two points and two points. The Giants have lost their last two games by a total of five points. The Chargers and Giants both played a ton of close games last year, too, with the former losing most of theirs and the Giants winning most of theirs. The Chargers have lost 12 one-possession games since 2016, the most in the NFL. This will be tight late, and the final minutes should be a lot of fun.
DAN SALOMONE: Fact -Eighteen of the Chargers' past 22 games have been decided by one score (they are 4-14 in those outings). And we know all about the Giants in last-second games as of late. The first win of the season won't come nice and tidy for whichever side that turns out to be.
LANCE MEDOW: Fact -The Giants and Chargers may be 0-8 combined, but five of their losses have been decided by three points or less, and they each have two losses that were determined by a last-second field goal opportunity. On top of that, seven of their eight combined contests have been a one-score game in the fourth quarter. If you put a great deal of stock in trends, then we are likely going to see another nail-biter Sunday.