Gang Green heads west to try to extend their improbable playoff run
The last the New York Jets played a hugely important game at Qualcomm Stadium was half a decade ago when they upset the Chargers in the playoffs.
Could history be on the verge of repeating itself?
The answer is yes.
The Chargers actually match up in a very advantageous way for the Jets.
1. New York has Darrelle Revis, the best shutdown cornerback in the league, to neutralize Vincent Jackson.
2. The Chargers running game has been anemic to say the least (LaDainian Tomlinson led them with only 730 yards this season) andthey will face the Jets' league-leading rush defense.
3. The San Diego's own run defense ranked 20th in the league this year and both Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene look to take advantage of it.
However, there are ways the Jets can lose this game. For instance, if Kerry Rhodes cannot contain tight end Antonio Gates, if Philip Rivers is able to correctly interpret the mulitudinous blitz packages that Rex Ryan will surely dial up and if the Chargers can manage to corrall Jones and Greene and force rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez to beat them through the air.
One must remember: These are the Jets we are talking about, people. They find ways to lose games that ordinary teams cannot conceive of.
If they're smart, they'll keep things simple and, if the running game does get hampered, they should concentrate on finding the under-utilized tight end Dustin Keller across the middle to move the chains. The one thing they absolutely do not want to do is have Sanchez throw the ball into traffic consistently. As cocky a young man as he is, this is the biggest professional game he has played in to date and keeping his confidence level up should be a top priority.
Look for lightning to zap the Chargers once more.
Jets 27, Chargers 24
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Written by Frank Mazzola