Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Know Your Enemy: San Diego Chargers

Here's a quick little summary of the San Diego Chargers, since most Jets fans probably didn't follow their season closely given that the two teams did not play each other.

After a 2-3 start, the Chargers rattled off 11 straight wins. Let's take a look at who they've played this season.

at Oakland: Win, 24-20
vs Baltimore: Loss, 26-31
vs Miami: Win, 23-13
at Pittsburgh: Loss, 38-28
vs Denver: Loss, 23-24
at Kansas City: Win, 27-7
vs Oakland: Win, 24-16
at New York Giants: Win, 21-20
vs Philadelphia: Win, 31-23
at Denver: Win, 32-3
vs Kansas City: Win, 43-14
at Cleveland: Win, 30-23
at Dallas: Win, 20-17
vs Cincinnati: Win, 27-24
at Tennesssee: Win, 42-17
vs Washington: Win, 23-20

That's 11 straight wins to end the season for Norv Turner's team. As usual, they're entering the postseason very hot. How have they done in previous years?

*In 2004, the 12-4 Chargers lost at home to the Jets in the first round, 20-17.
*In 2006, the 14-2 Chargers lost at home in their first playoff game 24-21 to New England. This was Philip Rivers's first season as the starter.
*In 2007, the 11-5 Chargers beat Tennessee and Indianapolis before falling again to the Patriots in the AFC Championship 21-12. This was Turner's first season as coach.
*In 2008, the 8-8 Chargers beat the Colts at home in the first round before losing to Pittsburgh 35-24 in the 2nd round.

So San Diego has been a strong team for years but has yet to go to a Super Bowl. This team has much to prove in the playoffs, so the pressure will primarily be on them.

But what about this year's team? Here's a quick comparison of the Chargers and Jets statistically.

Rushing Average
Jets: T-5th

Chargers: 32nd

Rushing Yards
Jets: 1st
Chargers: 31st

Passing Yards
Chargers: 5th
Jets: 31st

Passing Average
Chargers: 1st
Jets: T-17th

Total Yards

Chargers: 10th
Jets: 20th

Third down Percentage
Chargers: 7th
Jets: 20th

Penalty Yardage Against

Chargers: 3rd lowest

Jets: 7th lowest

Time of Possession
Jets: 7th
Chargers: 15th

Fumbles Lost
Chargers: T-3rd
Jets: T-7th

Interceptions Allowed
Chargers: T-4th
Jets: T-28th

20+ Yard Plays Passing
Chargers: 1st
Jets: 25th

40+ Yard Plays Passing
Chargers: T-6th
Jets: T-15th

20+ Yard Plays Rushing
Jets: T-2nd
Chargers: T-23rd

40+ Yard Plays Rushing
Jets: T-7th
Chargers: T-29th

Points Allowed
Jets: 1st
Chargers: 11th

Passing Yards Allowed
Jets: 1st
Chargers: 11th

Passing Yards Average
Jets: 1st
Chargers: T-9th

Rushing Yards Allowed
Jets: 8th
Chargers: 20th

Rushing Yards Average
Jets: 4th
Chargers: T-24th

Chargers: T-13th
Jets: T-18th

Jets: T-13th
Chargers: T-20th

Forced Fumbles
Chargers: T-8th
Jets: T-13th

Offensively, the Chargers are a quick strike offense, as evidenced by their being first in passing yards average. This is no surprise if you've ever seen them play: San Diego has three weapons who are 6'4" and above with athleticism to boot. Philip Rivers throws the ball downfield and lets his receivers try to make plays. The Jets answer with the top pass defense in the league, but it's hard to cover size. The secondary will have its hands full all game, as Rex Ryan will dial up blitzes and Rivers will test Lito Sheppard, Darrelle Revis, and Kerry Rhodes.

Meanwhile, the Jets should be able to run the ball quite well against a porous San Diego run defense. Jamal Williams, their Pro Bowl nose tackle, injured himself in the preseason, and they haven't been able to stop effective rushing games all season. For most teams, it hasn't really mattered because of the Chargers quick strike offense either making up for their defense's shortcomings or by putting the games out of reach early to get teams to throw the ball. San Diego's pass defense is above average, but Cincinnati's was better, so if Sanchez can throw on the Bengals, he should be able to do okay in his relative homecoming in San Diego.