By Curt Macysyn
As the weeks left in the regular season dwindle, NFL players always have something to play for. Non-playoff contenders are evaluating their talent base; trying to determine what players will stay and what players will be released in the off-season. Playoff teams would like to maintain a high level of play, so that they enter the post-season as a well oiled machine. And then there are those teams who still harbor remote playoff chances. Both the New York Giants and this week's opponent, the San Diego Chargers, fall into the third category.
Since both teams sport the exact same 5-7 record, neither can afford a loss in this match-up, and rightfully expect to remain in the playoff hunt. In areas where injuries may be a factor, both teams must adopt a "next man up" philosophy. Fortunately for the Giants and Chargers, their games last Sunday did not come at a higher price, so each team's injury report stays basically the same.
New York Giants
Once again this week, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul is out with a shoulder injury. There is speculation around the media that JPP's season may be over, although if New York keeps winning, then that outcome would be hard to imagine. Last week, Mathias Kiwanuka took Pierre-Paul's place opposite Justin Tuck, and all Tuck did was record four quarterback sacks of Robert Griffin III. The same setup will occur this week, with rookie Damontre Moore (Texas A&M) perhaps getting a few more repetitions at defensive end.
Once again this season, cornerback Corey Webster has been ruled out with an ankle injury. At this point, it may be more of a matter of the Giants preserving cap room by keeping Webster on the active roster. But as each week goes by it seems more likely that Webster has played his final game in Giants blue. Cornerback Trumaine McBride practiced on a limited basis on Thursday and Friday, and he is listed as questionable for the game with a groin pull. Jayron Hosley played for McBride last week and performed reasonably well, so expect that Hosley will get the start again.
Veteran cornerback Terrell Thomas took his regular maintenance day on Wednesday to rest his knee, and officially, Thomas is listed as probable on the injury report. There is no reason to think he will not play on Sunday.
Tight end Brandon Myers appeared to have injured a groin muscle on practice Wednesday. He did not practice on Thursday, but he returned to practice, on a limited basis, on Friday. The Giants list Myers as probable for Sunday. The Giants website reports that Myers is experiencing some "soreness" in the groin muscle, but it did not appear likely that he would miss the game.
Finally, running back Brandon Jacobs was not able to practice on Thursday or Friday. The veteran tailback indicated to the press that he would probably need his knee "cleaned out" after the season. The Giants list him as doubtful for Sunday, so possibly expect Peyton Hillis to be active again on Sunday. Hillis was very effective last week, spelling starter Andre Brown, against the Redskins, when he rushed for 45 yards on six carries.
San Diego Chargers
Chargers head coach Mike McCoy conceded this week that his team "is as healthy as its been in a long time."
The best news for San Diego this week was that they will welcome back left tackle King Dunlap from a neck injury. Dunlap's return will allow rookie lineman D.J. Fluker to return to the right tackle spot, and they can shift Jeromey Clary back to right guard. For the first time since week two, the Chargers' offensive line will be fully intact, which is luxury that New York has not had all season.
Offensive guard Johnny Troutman will return to the bench upon Dunlap's return.
Defensive end Corey Liuget is listed as probable with a knee injury, and Chargers coach Mike McCoy did not seem overly concerned that he would miss the game, chalking Liuget's status to "it's that time of the year."
Veteran receiver Eddie Royal has sat out practice this week with chest and shoulder injuries, and he appears likely to miss his second straight game. Meanwhile, center Nick Hardwick was absent on Thursday and Friday, but McCoy did intimate that Hardwick would be playing on Sunday.
New York Giants
- CB Terrell Thomas (Knee)
- TE Brandon Myers (Groin)
- Trumaine McBride (Groin)
- Brandon Jacobs (Knee)
- DE Jason Pierre-Paul (Shoulder)
- CB Corey Webster (Ankle)
San Diego Chargers
- DE Corey Liuget (Knee)
- C Nick Hardwick (Neck)
- Eddie Royal (Toe/Chest)
For more Giants news and updates, visit Giants Central.
Curt Macysyn has been covering the New York Football Giants for the past two seasons for Examiner.com. Born and raised in northern New Jersey, Curt has followed and covered the New York Metropolitan sports scene for 35 years. He attended Seton Hall Prep School in South Orange, NJ and is a graduate of Rutgers University, New Brunswick. His work can be found on Examiner.com.
for more features.