Excerpt: "THE GAME: The New York Giants (5-7) at the San Diego Chargers (5-7) at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, 4:25 p.m. ET
THE WEATHER: I can see why Eli Manning didn’t want to play here. Somehow, every time I come to this city, the weather stinks. On Sunday, it’s only supposed to be in the mid-50s! That’s like fall in New York not the supposedly perfect weather San Diego is always bragging about. Worse, on Saturday, the temperatures are supposed to be in the 50s with 20-30 mph winds and a 90 percent chance of rain. How am I supposed to golf?!?
WHAT IT MEANS: On Friday, I posted the scenario by which the Giants will be eliminated from the playoff chase this weekend if they lose. What you need to remember is any loss the rest of the way basically dooms them. So even though we through around the “must-win” cliché often, they’re all pretty much must-wins the rest of the way … until they don’t. Ditto for the Chargers, who have the same miserable record as the Giants though they’re only one game out of the last AFC wild-card spot and have a slightly more reasonable shot at the playoffs.
THE PICK: Were you impressed by the Giants’ win over the Redskins last Sunday night? I sure wasn’t. They fell in a 14-0 hole to an absolutely awful team and needed an assist from the referees at the end of the game to preserve the victory. The Giants’ offense, as always, remains off track and the defense wasn’t exactly great until the second half – and really the fourth quarter. Stopping the awful Redskins, though, is a different challenge than flying across country and stopping Philip Rivers, who is having a fantastic year (70% completion, 3,633 yards, 23 touchdowns, nine interceptions) despite no rushing attack (21st in the NFL) and an unimposing group of receivers. This is a Chargers team that beat the Chiefs in Kansas City and lost by a touchdown to the Broncos, and they have the NFL’s fourth-best offense (401.6 yards per game). This is an even bigger test for the Giants’ defense than the Cowboys game two weeks ago, which they lost 24-21. And yes, the Giants defense has been very good since the 0-6 start. I do not, in any way, chalk up their performance to only the string of underwhelming opponents. But are you counting on another four-sack performance from Justin Tuck? I’m not, and without Jason Pierre-Paul, I have to wonder where the pressure will be on Philip Rivers. I know the Giants are hot – winners of five of their last six – and their determination and resiliency is impressive. But it has to end sometime because they are not making the playoffs. And I think the combination of a cross-country flight – their only one of the season – and a quarterback who can stand in the pocket and pick a defense a part is just a little too much for a team hanging by a thread. It’s been a nice run, it really has. They gave everyone a reason to believe when, after 0-6, it should have been over. But it’s only a dream, not at all reality. And it will end on Sunday afternoon.
Final Score: Chargers 27, Giants 17
Record picking Giants games: 8-4.
For the record: The Giants are now 1-4 when I pick them to lose, and 4-3 when I pick then to win." Read more...