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Jets-Chargers Preview

January 16, 2010

Kerry Rhodes, Revis and the rest of the Jets look to keep their 'swag' going

Momentum is huge in any sport, and on Sunday both the Jets and Chargers will enter their Divisional Playoff game with plenty.  San Diego has won 11 straight and possesses one of the most lethal offenses in the sport.  Moreover, Gang Green has won 6 of 7, and their top ranked defense has given up just 8.7 ppg in those last 7 games. 

“We’ve won six out of seven and we feel pretty good about ourselves,” coach Rex Ryan said. “San Diego has won 11 straight, so both teams are carrying a lot of momentum going into this game. It’s just going to be who can out-execute the other.”

The Chargers have been in this position before, and like plenty of other teams in the playoffs, must fight off demons of the past.   San Diego won 10 straight entering the postseason in 2006 only to lose at home to New England in the divisional round.  They then won eight in a row before losing to the Patriots again the following season in the conference title game. 

Last season, San Diego was red-hot once again entering the playoffs, including an upset of the Colts in the wild-card round.  Nonetheless, the fate was the same, as the bolts lost to Pittsburgh ending any Super Bowl hopes. 

The Jets had to fight their way into the playoffs, and are as confident as any team could be.  Last week in their playoff win over the Bengals, Mark Sanchez was nearly perfect and the defense made enough plays to seel the win. 

Darrelle Revis and the rest of the defense once again complemented the NFL’s best rushing attack.  Shonn Greene and Thomas Jones were able to rush for 171 yards against a strong Cincinnati run defense. 

Certainly the main key to the game will be New York’s ability to keep that pace going, and control the clock with the run game.  The Chargers have trouble stopping the run, and the Jets cannot afford to have Sanchez in third and long most of the game. 

San Diego’s corners — Cromartie and Jammer — are pretty solid, but the Chargers mantra has been preventing the big play.  Therefore, the Jets should be able to execute those short slants and also some out routes that worked so well against the Bengals last week. 

On defense, Gang Green cannot shy away from the blitz, despite the threat of Sproles and Tomlinson in the screen game.  San Diego has scored at least 20 points in every game this season, and the Jets cannot win unless Philip Rivers is hit, and put on his back.  I expect Kerry Rhodes to receive the tough assignment of covering Gates, as “Hollywood” has done a great job of covering top tight ends all season. 

When you’re the Jets, the underdog, and really given little chance to win, you have to create breaks for yourself and of course limit turnovers.  Furthermore, New York has struggled in kick and punt coverage in recent weeks, and the Chargers are probably the best Special Teams squad in the league.  The Jets will have a stronger chance to win this game if they don’t allow the bolts to obtain great field position after every punt and kick. 

The Jet fan in me is excited, confident, and maybe a little cocky.  We have the NFL’s best defense, the best rushing attack, and Sanchez finally looks like an NFL quarterback.  The realist in me, however, knows how good San Diego is, and believes it will be close to impossible for the Sanchise to play as well as he did last week. 

I expect a close game, as the Chargers have played tight games all year.  Likewise, the Jets haven’t really been blown out at all this season.  The key will be the first quarter, as the Chargers are great early in games.   As with any underdog, if the Jets keep it close, they have a legit shot. 

The only thing I can guarantee is, the Jets are playing with house money.  Win or lose, Gang Green is going to be a force in the NFL for the next decade. 

Prediction:  Chargers 23, Jets 19

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