The San Diego -- er, um -- Los Angeles Chargers (0-4) at the Giants (0-4 … Wait, is that right?) at the Meadowlands on Sunday, Oct. 8, at 1 p.m. ET.
It should rain on your pregame tailgate party and it could rain late in the game, and in between it'll be 80 degrees and cloudy as two horribly disappointing 0-4 teams play. So, in a word: Yuck.
WHAT IT MEANS
Nothing, as far as the playoffs go -- that dream is all but dead. But this game could be a tipping point for how ugly this season gets. A win and the Giants get a few days of feeling good about themselves, looking at the standings and dreaming about how there's a lot of football left to be played. Lose to an 0-4 team that has to come across country to play them, though, and … well, if you really think things couldn't get any worse, that would surely put the theory to the test.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Giants RB Wayne Gallman. With Paul Perkins out, Gallman will at least get a timeshare in the backfield with Orleans Darkwa, and given Darkwa is dealing with a back injury, Gallman could end up with the majority of carries. That could be a good thing. The fourth-round pick from Clemson only had 42 yards in his debut last Sunday in Tampa, but he did that on 11 carries, which is impressive considering how disastrous the Giants' rushing attack has been. He also caught a short touchdown pass and generally was like a bolt of energy for the lifeless running game. Perkins has been terrible this season. If Gallman explodes, the Giants may never look back.
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Giants OTs Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart vs. Chargers DEs Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. If you think the Giants tackles have struggled so far this season, you might want to hide your eyes for this matchup, because Ingram (5 ½ sacks) and Bosa (2 ½ sacks) is by far the best 1-2 combo the Giants have faced this season. They move around a lot, so it's a safe bet they'll attack whatever they perceive as a weakness. That's not good for Flowers, who has played slightly better the last two games (but keep in mind, the bar is low) or Hart, who if he plays is returning from an ankle injury. Also keep in mind that the Giants' offensive line has been pretty battered by injuries and will be without center Weston Richburg (concussion) for this one, too.
The Giants played better the last two weeks -- almost good enough to win. In the standings, it doesn't matter how they lose - on back-to-back, game-ending field goals -- but it matters in terms of progress. And they have made progress, especially on offense where they've finally settled into a (very fast) rhythm. They've also done a fine job of negating their offensive line problems by getting the ball out quickly, a change that could be absolutely huge in this game against the Chargers defensive ends.
Their problem is they still make too many mistakes and now their all-world defense is showing signs of cracks. The Chargers are a similar mess, but they do have some offensive firepower, which means the Giants' offense might have to score more than usual to win this game. The way they've been playing, it feels like they're on the verge of a long-awaited offensive explosion. Granted, we've felt that many times before, dating all the way back to last season, and it didn't happen. Maybe Gallman is enough to give them a boost. Maybe Odell Beckham Jr. has his long-awaited breakout game. Maybe it's just the fact that the Chargers aren't usually good coming across the country and that they're as big a bunch of underachievers as the Giants are. Whatever it is, this is the week the Giants' offense wins a game on their own. … Giants 33, Chargers 27.
MY RECORD: 2-2
MY RECORD WHEN PICKING THE GIANTS TO WIN: 0-2
MY RECORD WHEN PICKING THE GIANTS TO LOSE: 2-0