The Chargers will host the Giants in Week 14. While both teams have struggled this season, their playoff hopes are still alive. The winner of this contest will continue that glimmer of positive expectations, while the loser will likely see their fans start planning for the offseason. The long trip for the Giants likely gives the Chargers a larger home-field advantage.
Meet the Chargers
San Diego is still in the mix for a wild card spot in the AFC, despite being 5-7. The Chargers have seen a resurgence from Philip Rivers this season. Rookie wide receiver Keenan Allen has been superb and is developing nicely into the Chargers' top receiving option. Ryan Mathews has continued his rough road as the Chargers' running back.
On defense, the Chargers have struggled to sack opposing quarterbacks. The Chargers are ranked 29th in total defense and have allowed the fifth-most receiving yards this season. The Chargers rank 11th against the run.
Meet the Giants
The Giants are also 5-7. New York has recovered from its horrific start to the season and is still barely clinging to hope when it comes to the playoffs. The Giants still have Rueben Randle, Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz, all of whom have the ability to make big plays. With the return of Andre Brown, the Giants' running game is finally coming together after a litany of injuries.
On defense, the Giants are a bit battered and bruised. The secondary has been a mash unit all season and Jason Pierre-Paul has been in-and-out of the lineup this season. The Giants have trouble stopping the pass and run, which has really been tough on their offense.
Local Takes: Chargers
John Gennaro of Bolts From the Blue does not believe that the Chargers will make the playoffs, but acknowledges the possibility:
After the San Diego Chargers' loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, it may have appeared that I gave up hope on Mike McCoy leading his team to the playoffs in his rookie season. Well, I did give up hope. I still have no hope that they'll make it to the playoffs, but math isn't exactly on my side.
The 5-7 Chargers can still finish about .500. They can still finish 9-7. It's not very likely, but since when have the 2013 Chargers been predictable?
Local Takes: Giants
Ed Valentine of Big Blue View believes the Eli Manning-Philip Rivers trade worked out for the Giants:
In the end, none of the what-ifs matter. What matters is that when the Giants pulled the trigger on the Rivers-for-Manning trade rather than drafting Roethlisberger, which is what Accorsi admitted in Vacchiano's book he would have done if he could not trade for Manning, the Giants sought a quarterback who could lead them to championships.
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Reminisces of the Eli Manning/Philip Rivers trade would be a lot more interesting if these two teams were in a different place than 5-7 apiece. These two teams haven't played each other since 2009. The Chargers won that one. New York is finding its way again, winning five of its last six games. The Chargers have one win in their last four, against the Chiefs.
The pick: Giants
The Chargers are 3-point home favorites against the Giants, according to OddsShark.