We’re in the first week of October and the New York Giants are still looking for their first win of the season.
This Sunday they’ll host the Los Angeles Chargers, who are also seeking their first win of the season.
These two teams are mirror images of each other as they both rely heavily on the passing game, have subpar running games, and have lost games at the end of regulation on field goals.
If the Giants are going to win their first game of the year, they must play four solid quarters of football and execute these four keys to victory.
1. The Pass Rush Needs To Come Alive
The big, bad New York Giants defense has only registered eight sacks this season. In their loss last week to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the pass rush was nonexistent.
Their two star defensive ends, Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon, combined for 15.5 sacks in 2016. This year, they only have three and a half sacks between them. That simply isn’t good enough for two players of their caliber.
JPP, Vernon and the rest of the Giants front four must play better as they go up against a Chargers offensive line that has yielded only six sacks this season.
2. Special Teams Have To Be Special
The Giants special teams have been a disaster over the past three weeks. They gave up an 88-yard punt return for a touchdown against Detroit in Week 2. Brad Wing shanked two punts in the fourth quarter in back-to-back weeks, and Aldrick Rosas missed a 43-yard field goal against the Bucs that would have ultimately won the game for the Jints.
The Giants must clean up their special teams play, and get a big play on special teams themselves if they’re going to win on Sunday.
3. Eli Manning Must Outplay Phillip Rivers
Eli Manning and Phillip Rivers will forever be connected. Both taken in the 2004 NFL draft, the Giants traded Rivers (and a bunch more) to the Chargers for Manning, who refused to play in San Diego. This season, they have nearly identical stats.
- Manning: 116-of-166 passes for 1,113 yards, six touchdowns, four interceptions
- Rivers: 95-of-150 passes for 1,107 yards, six touchdowns, four interceptions
Manning has never defeated the team that drafted and then traded him in his 14-year career. If he’s going to pick up his first win against the Chargers, he’s got to outplay Rivers. It’s that simple.
4. Help the Offensive Tackles In Pass Protection
After giving up eight sacks in the first two games of the season, the Giants offensive line has surprisingly been better of late. Believe it or not, Manning has not been sacked once in either of the team’s last two games.
But they’ll face a tough test this week as they go up against a pair of excellent edge rushers in edge rushers in Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa, who have a combined eight sacks on the season. The Giants will need to help Ereck Flowers and whoever is playing right tackle by having a tight end or running back stay in to help keep them off of Eli.