(San Diego): RB Ryan Matthews - He has given the Chargers consistent effort at the running back position. Matthews has 85 carries for 413 yards and 3 touchdowns. More importantly he has a 4.8 yards per attempt average which keeps the offense in manageable downs and distance situations. The New York Jets have had trouble this year stopping the run defensively. Matthews and his offensive lineman should have a pretty good day against the Jets front seven when running plays are called.
(New York): CB Darrelle Revis - Revis is the best cover corner in the NFL and consistently shuts down the opposing teams best receiving option every week. He can cover the short elusive quick guys, the speed receivers, and the big physical pass catchers. He will more than likely draw the assignment of covering the Chargers best receiver in Vincent Jackson. If Revis can contain Jackson and keep him from making big plays in the passing game he will force QB Phillip Rivers to look elsewhere.
New York Offense vs. San Diego Defense: QB Mark Sanchez and the Jets offense have not been very productive this season. This was suppose to be the year where the young stars of the team would have a breakout year, instead Sanchez has produced a 82.3 passer rating and only completing 56 percent of his passes. RB Shon Greene was suppose to be the workhorse but is averaging only 3.4ypc and has just 2 tds. The Jets want to ground and pound you but as a unit they are only averaging 81ypg rushing which ranks them 31st in the NFL. Sanchez's inability to get the ball accurately to WR's Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress has hindered the pass offense. It does not get any better for Sanchez and crew as they face a defense who is ranked 2nd against the pass and can be solid against the run. The Chargers will try to force Sanchez to beat them through the air and keep 7 to 8 guys in the box to stuff the run. OLB Shaun Phillips and Travis Laboy will pressure Sanchez coming off the edges on obvious passing downs.
New York Defense vs. San Diego Offense: The Jets defense has been uncharacteristically bad against the run giving up 132ypg. Most of it can be attributed to the departure and retirement of some key veterans such as DE Shaun Ellis and NT Kris Jenkins and replaced on the defensive line with talented youngsters but a little inexperienced. Opposing teams offensive lineman have been able to get to the second level guys, the linebackers, and create plenty of running lanes. The Jets will need to make adjustments to solve the problem so that they can keep their talented secondary from having to come up in run support which would make them very vulnerable to the play action pass. CB Darrelle Revis is playing at a high caliber level as usual and shuts down the opposing teams best receiver. His partner on the opposite side CB Antonio Cromartie, who played for and was originally drafted by the Chargers, has been playing well but on occasion has given up some big passing plays. These two guys will be singled up on the Chargers two starting receivers of Vincent Jackson and Malcolm Floyd all afternoon. Chargers QB Phillip Rivers has only thrown 6 td passes and has an unusual amount of turnovers. He is still accurate completing 67 percent of his passes considering all of the injuries to his starting receivers. Last week's Bye gave them some much needed time to get some players healed. TE Antonio Gates is expected to make his return after missing 3 games with a foot injury. His presence alone should help the offense on 3rd downs and red zone situations. RB Ryan Matthews has emerged this season with some consistency to his game.
San Diego (NFL Rank & Yards) New York (NFL Rank & Yards)
Rush Off. 9th - 122.8ypg 31st - 80.8ypg
Pass Off. 6th - 293.4ypg 23rd - 216.3ypg
Rush Def. 17th - 113.6ypg 28th - 132.0ypg
Pass Def. 2nd - 179.6ypg 5th - 200.8ypg
Total Offense: 6th 29th
Total Defense: 4th 11th
Points Per Game: 24.0ppg (13th) 24.2ppg (11th)
Chargers Offensive Line (versus) Jets Defensive Line: The Chargers offensive line has been opening up running lanes for RB Ryan Matthews and RB Mike Tolbert this season. They have combined for 5 rushing tds so far. Chargers have had some key offensive players miss time with various injuries which has effected the passing game and caused the Chargers to rely on the running game a little more than usual. The Jets have a lot of youth and inexperience on the defensive line with 2011 first round draft pick DE Muhammad Wilkerson and NT Sione Pouha both replacing All-Pro caliber players in DE Shaun Ellis and NT Kris Jenkins. They will need to clog up running lanes so that their linebackers can make the tackles on Matthews or Tolbert.
TE Antonio Gates (versus) Jets Linebackers: Gates has missed the last three games recovering from plantar fasciitis in his right foot which has never fully healed over the past couple seasons. The Chargers offense and QB Phillip Rivers have been struggling in the red zone without Gates presence. Gates probably want be given a full load and will more than likely be eased back into the offense. He should definitely be used on 3rd down passing situations and in the red zone. The Jets linebackers will have to be aware of Gates in those instances, if not, he and Phillip Rivers can hurt you with their accurate pass and catch combination.
Final Word: This is a pivotal game for both teams. The Jets need a win to keep up with the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills in the AFC East. The Chargers need a win to stay in first place and ahead of the Oakland Raiders in the AFC West. Phillip Rivers has to be relieved to have all his weapons available for this game. The return of TE Antonio Gates, hopefully he is at full strength, will help tremendously in areas such as 3rd down passing conversions and red zone td scoring. His presence keeps the safeties from cheating towards the sidelines to help out on Jackson and Floyd. The Jets will need to play better defensively against the run, if not they will be vulnerable against the play action pass and the blitz game coach Rex Ryan likes want be as effective. Ryan Matthews and Antonio Gates productivity will be key in the success of the Chargers winning the game. The Jets will need to have an efficient game from QB Mark Sanchez and RB Shon Greene will have to produce in the ground and pound style of play that Rex Ryan wants.