Chargers and Giants meet at a crossroads

Adam Schefter answers readers' questions nearly every day in his blog. On Friday, he's turning his attention to Sunday's tilt between the San Diego Chargers (4-3) and the New York Giants (5-3). Have a query of your own? Submit it right here.

Q: The Giants have lost three in a row and are slipping in the NFC East. With the Broncos coming on so strong, the Chargers' chances at the division are narrowing by the day. Who needs a win on Sunday more?

--Alan (New York)

A: An argument could be made for either, Alan. If you're the Giants, the last thing you want to do is head into your bye week on a four-game losing streak. That would create a lot of doubt heading into the second half of the season. If you're the Chargers, and you're making any type of run at the Broncos, you have a chance this week to pick up a game, and there are only so many opportunities you can squander before conceding the division to Denver. Alan, you've asked a question for which there is no answer, sort of like: Who's better, Tom Brady or Peyton Manning? Both teams need the win.

Q: I know the Giants are playing terribly as of now because they got over their joke of a five-game opening stretch. Do you think its the injuries, the coaching or the decision-making by Eli Manning that is resulting in their demise against these better teams?

--Tom (Harrisonburg, Va.)

A: It's all of those factors, Tom. To me, football is so much about health, confidence and momentum, and the three are intertwined. When one goes, the others seem to go as well. Early in the season, notice how the Giants were healthier, and they were more confident, and they had momentum. Then safety Kenny Phillips is lost for the season, Eli Manning injures his foot, the team starts to lose some games, and confidence and momentum go out the window. So far, New York has been unable to overcome its injuries (no sympathy here, every team has them). Coaches could be doing a better job, players could be doing a better job, the whole thing. But if the Giants can beat San Diego, they'll still take a 6-3 record into their bye week and be in nice shape for the season's final seven games.

Q: If the Chargers don't figure it out this season and finish out strong, can they ever win with the roster they have? How long before you just have to blow everything up and admit you have to rebuild?

--Clark (San Diego)

A: Clark: I thought San Diego had another year before its window closed, but it's shutting quicker than I thought. The Chargers can't run the ball the way they used to, they can't stop the run the way they used to, they can't rush the passer the way they used to -- they can't do a lot that they used to. The team that many thought had the chance to win the AFC championship -- me included -- doesn't look anything like that team or the very strong one that regularly won the AFC West in recent seasons.

Q: Who do you expect to have a bigger day on Sunday, the Giants' run game or the Chargers' pass game? Both of those units have pretty good matchups this week.

--Bobby (Tacoma, Wash.)

A: This reminds me of Alan's question at the top of the page, Bobby. There is no real concrete answer. To win this game, New York will try to run the ball all afternoon at the Jamal Williams-less defensive line. The Chargers will try to throw the ball all afternoon at the Kenny Phillips-less secondary. I'm going to guess the Giants' running game will have more success than the Chargers' passing game and New York will escape with the victory. But you're talking about the strengths of two good teams.

Q: Outside of 2007, Eli Manning's playoff record is pretty shoddy. Can he really be considered a franchise QB on the strength of one playoff run?

--Christian (Orlando, Fla.)

A: Christian: He is a franchise quarterback, undeniably. Now, there are other franchise quarterbacks I'd rather have -- Peyton, Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, even Philip Rivers. But Eli Manning has proven he is good enough to win a Super Bowl. He is a franchise quarterback. And guess what? The Giants have paid him like one, so therefore he is.