Connect with us


AFC Divisional Round Preview: Jets @ Chargers

A preview of the Division Round matchup between the New York Jets and San Diego Chargers.

The New York Jets travel to San Diego on Sunday to battle the Chargers in one of the AFC’s Divisional Round games. The Chargers are the AFC #2 seed and had a bye last week. The Jets got here by defeating the Cincinnati Bengals last week in Cincinnati. It looked easy for the Jets last week, don’t expect it to be the same this week.

The Jets bring their #1 ranked rushing attack and #1 ranked defense to California this weekend to try and upset a Chargers team that has been red hot to end the regular season. The Jets are a red hot team as well, coming in with complete confidence and expecting to win.

Lets take a look at the battles:

When the Jets have the ball:

Run, Run, Run. That is what the Jets will try to do once again. It worked extremely well against Cincinnati as they continued to show why they have the best rushing attack in the NFL. The combination of Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene is very dangerous. They can grind out yards while running the clock and keeping the opposing offense off the field, and they still have the ability and speed to break a long run at times. Rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez has gained a lot of confidence lately while learning that he just needs to manage the game. If Sanchez has to throw 25-30 times, the Jets will most likely will not win.

Defensively, the Chargers do not have overly impressive numbers. However, they are a unit that gets the job done. The defensive backs are the strongest unit on the defense for San Diego. Cornerbacks Antonio Cromartie and Quentin Jammer are very talented and should not have any problems defending Jets receivers Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery. Eric Weddle and rookie Kevin Ellison are the safeties. Ellison was a teammate of Sanchez in college. I don’t see the Jets receivers or tight end Dustin Keller having big days.

The rushing defense of the Chargers is a question mark. The defensive line is not going to scare anyone. Their best run stopper, Jamal Williams suffered a season ending injury back in Week 1. Luis Castillo is the Chargers best defensive lineman. The Jets offensive line should be able to do a good job against the front three or four of San Diego. Three of the Jets offensive lineman are headed to the Pro Bowl.

The Chargers linebackers are strong, Shaun Phillips and Shawne Merriman are always solid and Stephen Cooper led the team in tackles this season.

The Jets will be able to handle the front line of the Chargers but the second and third levels of the San Diego defense are very strong and could give the Jets trouble.

When the Chargers have the ball:

This should be fun to watch. The Jets have the leagues best cornerback and top overall defense. The Chargers bring tons of weapons to the offensive side of the ball. Quarterback Philip Rivers loves to spread the ball around. Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis will try to lock up top receiver Vincent Jackson. Revis has shut down everyone big name receiver he has faced this season. Jackson however could give Revis problems with his size advantage. Both San Diego receivers stand 6’5″. While Revis is the best corner in the league, Lito Sheppard on the other side is not what he once was. Chargers #2 receiver Malcolm Floyd could have a big day against Sheppard.

The safeties, Jim Leonhard and Kerry Rhodes will have their hands full with Chargers tight end Antonio Gates. Gates is the leagues best tight end and the Chargers use him all over the field. He will line up close to the line as well as split out wide. Either way, Gates causes matchup problems. Rivers will look for Gates often. Jets linebackers will likely have to cover Gates a lot as well so the safeties can help against the Chargers deep passing attack. San Diego is known to try and take big chunks of yardage at a time.

Another big weapon the Chargers will use is speedster Darren Sproles. The Chargers are one of the best teams in the league at throwing the screen pass. Both running backs, Sproles and LaDainian Tomlinson are exceptional at pass catching out of the backfield. Jets star linebackers David Harris and Bart Scott will need to know where those two are at all times.

Special Teams

Both of these teams have very good special teams play. Brad Smith is a very dangerous kick returner for the Jets. He is explosive. Cotchery is New Yorks punt returner after taking over for Leonhard earlier in the season. Cotchery may not be as explosive but he is a very reliable returner. Jay Feely has been solid all year for the Jets and has plenty of experience. Steve Weatherford should return to his punting duties for the Jets this week after a heart rate scare kept him out of the first round game.

As good as the Jets special teams are, the Chargers are even better. Nate Keading is as automatic as they come in the kicking game this season. He is the most accurate kicker in NFL history. The only part of his game that might be lacking a little is on kickoffs. Mike Scifres handles the punting duties for San Diego and is one of the best in the league. He finished the regular season with an average of 45 yards per punt while putting 23 of his 52 punts inside the 20 yard line. If he can pin the Jets deep in their own territory consistently, its going to be hard for the Jets to stay around.

Sproles is the guy that the Jets need to worry about. He can make a break for the end zone any time he touches the ball. He has four career returns for touchdowns. He is the key to giving the Chargers good field position. Between Sproles and Scifres, the Chargers can win the field position battle. The Chargers also have a guy named Kassim Osgood who was selected to his third Pro Bowl as a special teams coverage player. He is capable of making big special teams plays on a consistant basis.


Jets head coach Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer are a very good combination. Schottenheimer keeps his rookie quarterback in the best position to win while wearing down the opponents defense. Ryan has brought a new attitude to the Jets in his first season in New York. This team believes in him and believes they can win each and every game. Ryan is also thought of as a defensive genius.

Norv Turner simply makes the playoffs. What he does once he is there however is another story. He has been unable to reach the Super Bowl in his career and has seen his teams get upset in the playoffs often. You can’t knock him to much though, he gets his teams to the playoffs. The guy can coach, and eventually his teams will win in the playoffs, right?


The Jets are one of the hottest teams in the league and come to California thinking they can win. They have it in their minds that they are the team to beat and are playing with incredible confidence.

The Chargers get the home crowd behind them and have playoff experience. They are healthy and rested. They have a cocky quarterback that does not get rattled easily.


This game stays close for a while but the San Diego weapons come out to play. Special teams likely plays a factor and I think San Diego can force the Jets to play from deep in their own territory. I still don’t think Sanchez can continually drive the team down the field. He wont get away with mistakes against the Chargers like he did last week against the Bengals.

San Diego 23, Jets 13

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

More in Football