Chargers/Giants Preview:

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The San Diego Chargers find themselves facing yet another team that has the same overall record as them. The only exception is that one team is hot and one team is not. San Diego just so happens to be the “not” team.

Coming from the NFC East, the New York Giants have won five out of their last six games. Previously defeating RGIII and the Washington Redskins on Sunday Night Football.

The Chargers are going in a completely different direction. They have lost four out of their last five regular season games. Despite all the losses, San Diego still finds themselves in the hunt for a playoff berth. However, they find themselves facing one of the toughest remaining schedules in the league.

They still have to face the Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs. Both are two of the elite teams in the NFL.The Chargers certainly have the ability to beat both opponents. In Week 10 San Diego held the high-powered Bronco offense to 28 points. In Week 12 they put up 41 points on one of the best (if not the best) defenses in the NFL in Kansas City.

San Diego plays Denver at Mile High stadium in Denver Week 15. They play Kansas City at home Week 17.

The upside to the schedule is that they have three, possibly four, winnable games remaining on their schedule. They face the Oakland Raiders and the New York Giants as the two remaining teams excluding the Chiefs and Broncos.

If they are able to win three of the four remaining games, they would most likely still be contenders to make the playoffs. However, even if they happen to win three or even all of their remaining games,  this doesn’t mean they lock up a spot in the playoffs. It will be a close race to the finish to see who gets the final playoff spot in the AFC regardless of how the Chargers finish off the season.

First things first. They have to secure a win against a tough Giants squad. This week is where San Diego’s journey to making the playoffs will begin.

It’s time for Philip Rivers to make a little bit of magic happen in December. After all, that is what he is known for.

Philip Rivers is always hot come December every year when they need him the most. While being a Charger he has a 26-6 record in the month of December.

Player to Watch: Ladarius Green will be a major factor this week for the Chargers. The sophomore tight end from Louisiana-Lafeyette was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the 2012 draft. They drafted him in the 4th round with the 15th pick.

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Ladarius Green (89) has 354 yards receiving with two touchdowns this year.

He has two touchdown grabs this season, both of them came during the previous two regular season games. Green had a 60 yard touchdown catch and run against the Kansas City Chiefs which helped San Diego pull out the win. He also had the only touchdown of the game last week against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Chargers now have two very skilled tight ends that can hurt you in the passing game as well as the running game. Antonio Gates being the tight end opposite of Green.

This is Gates tenth year in the league and all of them have been with the Chargers. While he still has plenty of gas left in the tank, it seems rather obvious that the Chargers have found the guy to take over his spot after he retires in Ladarius Green.

Key to the Game: The Chargers will rely on their defense to stop Eli Manning and the Giants offense. The key to the game is to keep the Giants from putting points on the board. While the Chargers defensive secondary lacks the ability to stop opposing teams passing games, it puts even more pressure on the defensive line to throw Eli Manning off his groove.

Force Eli Manning to make mistakes early and the game may very well go your way. This season the reason success is eluding the Giants has been because of Eli’s inability to shake off mistakes and play the next play.

Manning has thrown for only 15 touchdowns while throwing 18 interceptions.

Everyone knows how lethal Philip Rivers and the Chargers offense can be, its time that the defense steps up.

Rivers/Manning rivalry: Both Philip Rivers and Eli Manning were two of the top prospects drafted in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft. Eli Manning was drafted first overall by the San Diego Chargers. Philip Rivers was drafted fourth overall by the New York Giants.

About an hour after the Giants had drafted their franchise quarterback in Philip Rivers (so they thought) San Diego proposed a trade. The Chargers offered Eli Manning and in return asked for Philip Rivers. New York accepted.

Up to this day Philip Rivers leads the statistical aspect of the bargain. He has a better completion percentage at 64% compared to Eli’s 58%. He also has thrown less interceptions the Manning. Rivers has thrown 101 while Eli Manning has thrown 162 picks.

Eli leads in the winning aspect of things.

Eli Manning has more regular and post season wins than Rivers. He also has more touchdown passes than Rivers along with two Super Bowl titles and Super Bowl MVP’s.

Had the Giants rejected the trade sending Rivers to San Diego, things may not turned out the way they have in both San Diego and New York.

IMJURY UPDATE

– C Nick Hardwick (neck, probable)

–  LT King Dunlap (neck, will play)

– RT D.J. Fluker (knee, will play)

– OLB Jarret Johnson (hand, probable)

– WR Eddie Royal (toe + chest, questionable)

– DE Corey Liuget (knee, probable)

With King Dunlap healthy D.J. Fluker will be able to move back to his normal position at right tackle. When Dunlap went down due to a neck injury, the rookie Fluker was moved from the right tackle position to left tackle where he has little experience.

The Chargers offensive line should be back to normal now that Dunlap is back.

San Diego sure missed him during last weeks game. The Bengals sacked Philip Rivers a total of four times, while pressuring him multiple times and we all know how mobile Philip Rivers is.

Match-up to watch forThe key to how successful San Diego’s offense will be is how D.J. Fluker handles Justin Tuck. Tuck is one of New York’s captains and is the leader of the defensive group. He is the most consistent player on that side of the ball and they rely on him week in and week out to put up big numbers. He seems to always do just that.

He has 6 1/2 sacks on the year, leading the team. Four of those were recorded last week against the Redskins.

D.J. Fluker will have his hands full his first week back at right tackle. If Fluker can keep Tuck out of the picture this week the Chargers offense has a pretty good chance of driving the ball.

Tune in to Sunday’s game on FOX @ 4:25 PM Eastern Time.

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