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Week 5 preview: When the Giants Have the Ball

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NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Los Angeles Chargers Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

0-4, huh? I’m a natural pessimist but even I didn’t think the Chargers would be winless a month into the season. Since we’re previewing the matchups when the Giants have the ball let’s work backward, starting with the secondary.

Perfect perimeter, shaky safeties

With Jason Verrett out I expected Trevor Williams to get picked on early and often in games. That hasn’t been the case. Williams has been above average which, for him, is great. He’s done his part. Inside Desmond King was made famous for catching 2 stiff arms on that long run last week but he’s been mostly good in the run game. Active, at least. In coverage, he was victim to a perfect pass 36 yards down the field. He was in position, but Carson Wentz dropped it right over his shoulder. Aside from that King hasn’t gotten much action in coverage up to this point but this will be the week that he will, especially if the Chargers play more man to man coverage. Sterling Shepard leads the Giants in targets and has surprisingly been thrown at on situations where you’d expect Odell Beckham Jr. to get. Now that OBJ is starting to get healthy, that could certainly change. Either way, expect King to get tested.

It has to be frustrating when you do your part as a player and the rest of the team lets you down. This is the case for Casey Hayward last week. He eliminated Alshon Jeffrey from the game. Overall Hayward was targeted 7 times and gave up 2 catches for 17 yards. He broke up 4 of those passes and could’ve had 2 interceptions. He was nothing short of amazing. As good as Jeffrey is, the task gets tougher Sunday for Hayward against Beckham, 1 of the 5 best receivers in the league. As he continues to get healthier Beckham will only become more of a threat. Hayward will need to get physical with Beckham. It’s going to be a hell of a matchup to watch.

The safeties have been non-existent for the Chargers. Tre Boston hasn’t made many if any, impact plays since week 1. He’s playing that deep safety role but not affecting any passes. It’s the same old story with Jahleel Addae. He is a spotty tackler at best. Comes flying in hot and ends up on the ground while the ball-carrier keeps running. They elected to use him in coverage last week against Zach Ertz and the results were sub-optimal. He doesn’t have a great feel in man coverage. Ertz is good, but he made him look like prime Gates. The Giants have a speedy rookie tight end in Evan Engram who should be able to win this matchup easily. The Chargers are 2nd worst in the league at defending tight ends and a bottom 5 team at defending the pass over the middle of the field. Addae has been a big reason why.

The Second level stinks

What’s really hurting this team more than anything else is the 2nd level defenders. They’re bad. There’s really no way to sugar coat it. Watch the middle linebacker. This is an obvious run play. No receivers are running routes. The offensive line clearly take run steps, yet, the linebacker makes a pass drop.

How?!?! Mental mistakes are killing them. Something that I’ve noticed as well is the depth that the linebackers start out at. At times it’s 6 yards down the field. Watch Sunday and see if you can pick up on that. Their alignment isn’t giving them much of a chance to make a play.

I did think Hayes Pullard was more aggressive last game so hopefully that carries over. Aside from Jatavis, who wasn’t great last week, there isn’t anyone you can really trust to do their job. It’s rough. Luckily the Giants have been horrendous at running the ball. The bad news is the linebackers might get caught in some unfavorable matchups. Gus Bradley has gone to more 3 safety looks where Addae is in the box like a true linebacker. All he does is get eaten up. It’s somewhat incredible to think Denzel Perryman masked as many problems as he did just by making the routine plays.

Dominant defensive line

Not last week. This week. It’s what they’ll have to be. Last week it was Melvin Ingram and nobody else. Corey Liuget was beating his man against the run, but he missed a few tackles each time, essentially negating his good play. There was also this.

He still gets the looks in nickel over Darius Philon, who had some penalties after playing very well the week prior. Lane Johnson and Jason Peters kept Joey Bosa at bay. He was virtually a non-factor rushing the passer. Ingram was beating both tackles, but he couldn’t corral Wentz. The good news is both edge guys will be going against far lesser talented players this week.

Ereck Flowers is a train-wreck at left tackle. Bosa has been quiet this year but if there’s a coming out party, it’s this week. I expect him and Ingram to be in the backfield religiously. Eli has been solid at getting rid of the ball, and some of that is the gameplan, but there will be plenty of opportunities for sacks this week against Flowers. The Giants offensive line as a whole is banged up. They’ve been rotating plenty of bodies due to injuries. The right side is one big question mark at this point. Some guy named D.J. Fluker started for them last week at right guard. Center Weston Richburg left last weeks game with a concussion. So there might be even more shuffling up front for the unit. Either way, there should be zero reasons the Chargers don’t dominant up front.

Goals

  • 20< points
  • 80< rushing
  • 3+ sacks
  • 2+ turnovers
  • 4< plays over 15 yards

Goals are pretty cut and dry this week. Before the last 2 games, the Giants didn’t score 20 points total their 1st 2 games. Beckham didn’t play but both defenses they did face the last 2 games were missing big pieces.

The Giants refuse to run the ball. The Chargers have been an abysmal run defense. 80 is giving up half of their season average. It’s been that bad. Something has to give here.

I mentioned how the Giants have been shuffling up front. Tampa Bay didn’t bring Eli down once. The Chargers have better players on the edge. 3 should happen. As far as turnovers go, everyone knows Eli will give you a chance a couple times a game. It’s up to the Chargers to take advantage.

Lastly, just limiting the Giants and making them methodically drive down the field for multiple drives hoping they shoot themselves in the foot is how to beat them. Between Engram, Beckham, or Shepard, they have options to break a big play. The Chargers have been downright terrible at tackling. They can’t afford to give the Giants any freebies.