By Tom Kiss
Entering last weeks meeting with the New England Patriots, most Jet fans had a very good feeling with Tom Brady out and unproven Matt Cassel making his first start since high school. Those good feelings slowly turned to utter dread and disappointment on three consecutive running plays from the 3-yard line. As the Jets attempted to run the ball in, despite the fact that they now have the most prolific scoring quarterback in NFL history, Jet fans cringed as the ball traveled exactly zero yards after those three runs.
Now the Jets must fly across the country and play a team that made it to the AFC championship game a year ago, and is 0-2 in two crushing losses. The Chargers are a very talented team, one of if not the most talented in the league, and despite the injury to LaDainian Tomlinson they are still a very dangerous team with its back to the wall.
When the jets have the ball:
The best chance the Jets have at winning this game is if the Jets coaching staff decides to allow Brett Favre to sling the ball like they haven’t through the first two games this year. The running game has been much better than last year, but that wasn’t the only improvements made this off-season. The Jets need to let Favre be Favre.
Running the ball against the Chargers will not be easy, even without Shawn Merriman. NT Jamal Williams is a beast and clogs holes with the best of them. The Jets will try and run the ball, but don’t expect tremendous success. The hope for Jet fans is that the Jets will use moderate success running the ball and parlay it into yards through the air, something that they did not do against the Pats.
When the Chargers have the ball:
Thus far the Jet defense has played well, with Kris Jenkins and Calvin Pace looking like great additions. However, in both games the defense has looked a little soft in the big spot, something Jet fans are far too familiar with. This week they face a usually electric offense that put up more points last week than the Jets have in two games. Even if Tomlinson doesn’t play, this team is scary. Darren Sproles is electrifying as a spell back, much like Michael Turner had been for a few years and they must not sleep on him.
Though I don’t personally like Philip Rivers as a NFL quarterback, the numbers don’t lie, the guy wins games. Rivers has weapons in the passing game, with Chris Chambers (remember him Jet fans)and Antonio Gates, the Jets secondary will be in for a challenge.
Match up of the game: Nick Mangold vs. Jamal Williams
This will be a big time match up this week. Williams is a very talented NT and Mangold will have to put up a good performance for the Jets to have any success on the ground. Keep a close eye on this battle, the winner will most likely find themselves celebrating a victory when it is all said and done.
Prediction: NYJ 24 – SD 20