Jet streams: Initial thoughts on Jets/Chargers

January 11, 2010


Thanks to a pathetic performance by the New England Patriots, Gang Green will travel to San Diego on Sunday to take on Philip Rivers, Vincent Jackson, Antonio Gates, LaDainian Tomlinson, Shawne Merriman (I could go on…) and the rest of the Chargers. 

This will be a huge challenge for the NFL’s top ranked pass defense as Rivers is the hottest QB in the league and he has three legit weapons — WRs Vincent Jackson and Malcolm Floyd and TE Antonio Gates.   Furthermore, LaDainian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles could present some problems on the ground. 

I have laid out my 10 thoughts, or keys to the game as the Jets look to continue this dream season for a fan base that hasn’t had much to be excited about in recent years. 

1. This will be the fourth elite passing attack the Jets have faced this season. In the three other games – Texans, Saints, Colts -the Jets played pretty well, thanks mostly to Darrelle Revis.  Baby Lockdown has the ability to take away a team’s top receiving threat, but who is going to cover the other guys?  Lost in the win against the Bungles were the injuries suffered in the secondary.  Donald Strickland was already hurt, and the Jets lost Drew Coleman and Dwight Lowery to injuries as well.  The ability for these guys to play on Sunday will be VERY important if the Jets want to even think about pulling the upset. 

2. While San Diego is extremely efficient throwing the ball, they are not a great running team, statistically.  I said before that LT and Sproles could be a threat, but that is mainly because the Jets struggled against Cedric Benson.  Nevertheless, if Rex Ryan doesn’t have to stack the box, Gang Green can concentrate more on the pass. 

3. The Jets were able to run all over Cincinnati, despite the Bengals having the leagues 2nd best run defense.  Shonn Greene racked up 135 yards and just barreled over on-coming defenders.  San Diego has the 20th ranked run defense, so the Jets should be able to control the clock and stay in the game. 

4. Kerry Rhodes has played well since his demotion, but he will most likely have to take on Antonio Gates one-on-one.  “Hollywood” fared pretty well against Tony G a few weeks ago, so don’t count out Kerry here. 

5. The Jets like to blitz – a lot.  This is no secret….However, against the Bengals the blitz failed to get to Carson Palmer as often as us fans would like.  Furthermore, the Chargers are very good at using Sproles in the screen game, which is a great way to neutralize a blitz.   And we all know how dangerous Darren Sproles is in space. 

6. Speaking of Sproles, David Harris and Bart Scott must be healthy.  Both have ankle injuries, and will struggle covering that little pesk if they are not close to 100%. 

6. The weather is sure to be much better than it was in Cincy, and Sanchez wasn’t too shabby in the cold.  While the Sanchize won’t have a problem throwing down field, neither will Philip Rivers. 

7. Coaching-  Do the Jets actually have the advantage?  Yes, Rex Ryan is a rookie coach, but Norv Turner isn’t exactly Bill Parcells when it comes to coaching in the big game.  Sexy Rexy has done a great job with time management lately (compared to earlier in the season) and his defensive packages have been almost perfect. 

8.  Despite not throwing a pick in his last three games, Sanchez has been prone to turning it over this season.  Furthermore, while he possesses great feet, he can hurry sometimes under pressure.  Nonetheless, the Chargers don’t really have a scary defense, and only have 35 sacks and have only forced 14 interceptions.  Pretty mediocre numbers…

9.  Remember Eric Barton and his late-hit penalty that almost cost the Jets the win the last time these two teams met in the playoffs?  Well, thank you Nate Kaeding for helping us out with that missed field goal.  Kaeding is good, but so is Feely.  Both kickers will probably have numerous field goal attempts, and one miss could be costly. 

10.  Momentum!!  Sure, San Diego had a bye to rest players, relax, and scout the Jets.  But Gang Green is riding the MO train, and has all the confidence in the world.  Will the Chargers be rusty? Probably not….but we know the Jets won’t be. 

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