Yesterday, we looked at two of the four current 0-4 teams in the National Football League that people might have expected to be in this position which were the Cleveland Browns and the San Francisco 49ers. Next week, either the Los Angeles Chargers or the New York Giants will get out of their slumps when these two 0-4 teams face off in a battle of the unexpected losers of the NFL in 2017. Both teams had much higher expectations than they are currently fulfilling with playoff possibilities in play, but they are now in a much more precarious situation than they thought they were going to have to go through with coaching staffs and players potentially on the hot seat. Both teams also have individual cases as to why they are winless after the first quarter of the season. Stats can be credited to Pro Football Reference.
New York Giants
The Giants have the tools that they need to get out of their slump quickly, as do the Chargers, but they are a little more equipped to get out of their slump. Some of the more advanced offensive statistics show why the Giants are in the hole that they are in. According to Pro Football Reference, less than a quarter of the Giants drives are ending in a score, 27th in the NFL (23.9%). This is about 12 precent less than the 16th place team in the league which are the Pittsburgh Steelers. Their scoring offense in general is poor with a mark of 15.0 points per game, tied for the second worst mark in the NFL. In particular, the running game for the Giants is miserable as they have the third fewest rushing yards in the NFL at 237 yards on 75 attempts, which is an average of 3.2 yards per carry which is also the third fewest in the league. Per game, they rack up only 59.3 yards per game which is the second worst mark in the league. They only run the ball about 31% of the time, so to see a minor part of their game become problematic is a huge issue. The good news is that they have a decent passing game in which they have the third best completion percentage in the league at just a tick below 70%.
On defense, once again it is the running side of the game that is costing the Giants statistically. They have given up the fifth most rushing yards in the league at 571. On average, they are giving up about 4.6 yards per carry which is the seventh most in the league. Per game, they give up about 142.8 yards which is the fifth worst mark in the league. Just from that, the rushing defense is clearly near the bottom of the league and needs some work badly. Their passing defense is in the middle of the road compared with the rest of the National Football League. In a lot of major categories, the Giants are ranked anywhere from 14th to 18th within the league, but there are a few measure that lean towards the bottom of the league. They have given up seven passing touchdowns which is tied for the sixth most in the league. Another more advanced statistic that leans towards the bottom of the league is that they give up touchdowns on 5.4% of passing attempts which is the sixth highest mark in the NFL. According to the stats, the New York Giants have a lot of work to do on both their offense and their defense and much more so on their running game on both sides of the ball. If they want to improve anytime soon, this should be the very first thing they try to rectify according to the stats.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers have a much different problem. They have the pieces like the Giants to potentially make a run down the stretch in the late season. Their problem is that they simply have not learned how to win a game. They have had three different games decided by three or less points and somehow the Chargers have come up on the losing end of all of them. These just happen to be the three games that the Chargers have given up the most yards defensively. The one game where the Chargers gave up the fewest defensive yards also just happened to be the game where they had three turnovers on offense. Just from that perspective, the Chargers clearly have a week-to-week issue to where they rectify one thing and another problem occurs. The Chargers have one of the better passing games in the league with 1,076 passing yards and six touchdowns. They have also thrown four interceptions. When I say they, I mean Phillip Rivers because he really is the only legitimate quarterback that the Chargers have and have had for a long time. In nearly all of the passing offense stats, the Chargers led by mainstay Phillip Rivers end up in the top half of the league. Unfortunately, the running offense does not get the same statistical praise. The Chargers have the fifth fewest rushing yards in the NFL (270). Their rushing yards per game is a little better than the Giants at 67.5, but that is still only good enough for the fourth worst in the league. Overall, the Chargers only have a three point advantage on the Giants on points per game with 18 and that is not a good number if a team is going to have success in the National Football League. A team must have a good defense and the Chargers are far from that.
The Chargers do not have a good defense in the slightest definition of that for NFL standards statistically. When on defense, 46.3% of drives end in an offensive score, the third worst mark. An average of 2.27 points per game is given up per drive which is tied with their city rival Rams, but unlike the Chargers, they have good offensive statistics. In particular, their defense against the run is one of the worst in the NFL. On average, they give up about 163.5 yards on the run per game which is only two yards better than the Jacksonville Jaguars. They give up 4.8 yards per carry, the fifth worst in the league. Clearly, they have some work to do on their rushing defense as well and actually scoring more points than their opponents for a change instead of finding a new problem every single week.
Both teams and unique problems but one thing is clear. Both teams have the pieces to succeed, but their running games on offense and defense are a glaring issue. If these two teams are going to reverse their fortune, fixing these things are a must, even if they are both passing-heavy offenses. That is another issue. Both teams must also increase their offensive production by a lot if they want any chance of success. However, both the Giants and the Chargers are looking dead in the face at a miserable season and firings within the coaching staff whether they are at the end of 2017 or even during the season this year.