Monday, September 22, 2008

Jets at Chargers Preview

With two punters, two kickers, and four quarterbacks on the 53-man roster, the New York Jets travel to San Diego, looking to bounce back after a 19-10 loss at the hands of the New England Patriots. Fans are angry about last week's performance, especially after Chad Pennington (well, Ronnie Brown) and the Miami Dolphins trounced the Pats 38-13 in New England.

If there's a team the Jets have traditionally played well against, it would be San Diego. The last few times the Jets have played out there have been successful, including a 44-13 demolition in 2002 when the Jets came in 2-5. In 2004 the Jets won two games at QualComm Stadium, topped by a memorable playoff game in which the Jets battled and won 20-17 in overtime.

Today, the Chargers appear to be a better team than they were back then, but the loss of Shawne Merriman and the toe injury limiting LaDainian Tomlinson have not helped. They are 0-2, losing two heartbreakers, one on the last play to Carolina, and one on a two-point conversion against Denver after appearing to have won the game just a few plays earlier.

Tomlinson is expected to start tonight, but he was upstaged by backup Darren Sproles. The 5'6" Sproles had 317 total yards last week, and he is a tough player for defenses to handle. With or without LT, the Chargers offense is tough to deal with, as Chris Chambers has stepped up at wide receiver to give tight end Antonio Gates some more help.

The Chargers defense can be beaten, however, especially through the air. Quentin Jammer and the secondary were torched by Jay Cutler and co. last week. Look for the Jets to try to attack San Diego more through the air this week (though I thought the same thing last week).

People say the Chargers are desperate, but so is New York. Brett Favre wants to play big on the big stage, and the whole team wants to prove that not only are they for real, but that there is more to the team than Favre.

That said, this will be difficult. The defense has played well, but San Diego is a much tougher test than Miami or New England. The offense has struggled through the air at times, but if Thomas Jones can have another nice day running the ball, Favre should be able to connect with Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery for some big plays.

I don't know if this is with my head or my heart, but I've seen the Jets beat good Chargers teams in San Diego before, and Favre is 5-0 against San Diego. I keep thinking that the Jets are going to be able to come away with this game, making just enough plays to win the game, especially defensively with a turnover or two.

28-26 Jets.

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