The 3-3 San Diego Chargers will get what most consider a great opportunity at moving above .500 on Sunday when they travel to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars. It's a great opportunity due to the fact that the Jags are 0-6 on the season, and have only been competitive in one or two of those games this season.
San Diego is coming off a victory over the Indianapolis Colts to put them back at .500,adn are trying to buck their trend of alternating wins and losses, as they have not won or lost consecutive games this season. Jacksonville looked decent in their last outing, a 16-point loss to the Denver Broncos, widely considered to be the top team in the NFL.
We'll take a look at both teams below:
Meet the Jaguars
Head coach Gus Bradley sure did inherit a mess of a team. The former Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator wasn't expected to turn things around this year, but they have looked like a sure-fire 0-16 team through six games thus far. The fact that a 16-point loss to the Broncos accounts for what might be their best performance yet speaks volumes.
They've got the No. 25 passing offense (209.7 yards per game), No. 32 rushing offense (60.5 yards per game), No. 32 rushing defense (152.5 yards allowed per game) and No. 14 passing defense (231.8 passing yards allowed per game). These are all miserable stats.
The offensive line is a mess, ever since the team traded Eugene Monroe and moved Luke Joeckel over to left tackle. That's because Joeckel got injured immediately and is out for the season. Neither Chad Henne nor Blaine Gabbert have looked even remotely decent -- Gabbert had seven interceptions to one touchdown, while Henne has thrown four picks to two scores -- and running back Maurice Jones-Drew can't quite carry the load anymore. It's just a mess all around.
Meet the Chargers
San Diego is hoping to make a bid for the playoffs this season, but they'll need to improve sooner rather than later if they're to do so. Head coach Mike McCoy has the team at 3-3 through his first six games in charge, but gets this easy matchup for an opportunity to get the team to a winning record.
Given an important matchup with the Broncos looming in Week 10, the Chargers need to win this game, and the Week 9 tilt against the struggling Washington Redskins. Overlooking the Jaguars cold be dangerous, given their play against the Broncos, but the Chargers are favored by almost every expert out there at this point.
It's been all about the passing attack this year, as Philip Rivers has led San Diego to the No. 5 passing offense in the league, at 297.2 passing yards per game. Rivers has completed 72.6 percent of his passes for 1,847 yards, 14 touchdowns and five interceptions. If he keeps up that play and the defense can rebound, the Chargers will be in good shape.
Local Takes: Jaguars
Alfie Crow of Big Cat Country thinks the potential return of the team's starting tight end would be big:
If the Jaguars can get Lewis back, it should provide a boon to the passing and rushing attack. With Cecil Shorts III seemingly likely he'll miss Sunday's game with an injury, adding another threat to go with Justin Blackmon could open some things up. Lewis' biggest asset however is his ability in run blocking, as he can help set the edge in the running game.
Local Takes: Chargers
The guys over at Bolts From The Blue think that Paul Posluszny is a player to watch for Jacksonville:
A true every-down MLB, Posluszny is comfortable plugging the hole on rushes between the tackles, pursuing outside runs, or hanging with TE's and backs on 3rd downs. He is also the signal caller for the defense and the clear team leader on the defensive side of the ball. So far in his career, he compares to London Fletcher, DeMeco Ryans, and Riki Ellison. Not bad company to be with.
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Four of SB Nation's five experts picked the Chargers to win, with the exception of Stephen White, who thinks this is the week the Jaguars finally score a win. Good luck, Stephen.
The Chargers opened as 10-point favorites, according to OddsShark. It's not surprising at all, though the line has narrowed by a point throughout the week.
The Jaguars will head to London to "host" the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 27. The Chargers will continue their road trip with a game against the Washington Redskins on Nov. 3, following a bye week.