Rivers Looks to Keep Rolling vs. Eli, Giants

The Chargers are headed to the Big Apple and let the Big Hype begin: Philip Rivers vs. Eli Manning.

The Giants are up next as the Chargers try to run their winning streak to three games. And it's little secret most of the game's buildup will revolve around Philip Rivers and Eli Manning. Rivers came to the Chargers in a trade for Manning after the two were first-round draft picks in 2004.

"It's going to be a fun environment with Philip against Eli, and our defense against their defense," linebacker Shaun Phillips said. "It's going to be a remarkable atmosphere and I'm looking forward to it."

While the Rivers-Manning showdown will take center stage, it's the Chargers' defense which has been front-and-center of late.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson
Donald Miralle/Getty
There was little question the offense would play at a high level with Rivers - he tied for the NFL lead in touchdown passes last year and had the top rating - some veteran receivers and LaDainian Tomlinson.

But the key to the Chargers is going to their defense. And that unit will face New York with a new sense of confidence.

Phillips and Shawne Merriman each had two sacks Sunday in the Chargers' 13th straight win over the Raiders. The Chargers had a season-high five sacks and allowed a season-low 180 yards.

That showing came on the heels of a dominating performance in a 37-7 win over the Chiefs.

"The offense started off real well and we tried to pay catch-up," Stephen Cooper said after a game-high 10 tackles. "I think now we found our knack and (defensive coordinator Ron Rivera) did a great job of play-calling and pressuring the quarterback. If we do that, we will be the defense of the old."

After being rocked when losing three-time Pro Bowl tackle Jamal Williams, the team brought in big bodies Travis Johnson and Ian Scott. Rivera also moved the secondary pieces around by cutting Clinton Hart, starting rookie safety Kevin Ellison and sliding Steve Gregory into the nickel spot.

"We are one game better," Phillips said. "We are not where we want to be but we look forward to what is coming up."

That would be the Giants - and the Chargers' defense as well.

LINEUP WATCH: WR Malcom Floyd has eclipsed Chris Chambers and moved into the starting lineup. Chambers has struggled this season and had only one catch Sunday - although it was a key third-down reception. Floyd is an inviting target at 6-foot-5 and has a knack for hanging in the air and making the acrobatic catches when Rivers throws the equivalent of a jump ball. Floyd has 11 catches for 251 yards and a score. His 22.8-yard average is a team-high. Chambers has nine receptions for 122 yards and a touchdown.

UNDER THE RADAR: ILB Brandon Siler has made his mark on special teams. But the third-year pro could see more playing time with Kevin Burnett (ankle) out and his backup, Tim Dobbins, suffering a leg injury on Sunday. Siler could make his first NFL start Sunday against the Giants.


-- ILB Kevin Burnett (ankle) has missed two games and could be out again this week.

-- WR Vincent Jackson continues to emerge as one of the NFL's top receivers. Two times this season he has recorded consecutive 100-yard receiving games.

-- FB Mike Tolbert is sharing time with Jacob Hester. Tolbert has also been among the team's standout special teams players.

-- C Nick Hardwick is encouraged with his progress after undergoing ankle surgery following his injury in the season opener. Hardwick is probably a few weeks away from playing, but he is working on the sidelines during practice.

-- CB Antoine Cason, a former first-round pick, is having trouble getting on the field with S Steve Gregory taking his spot as the nickel back.

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