TJ Rosenthal: The Jets win if: They can avoid falling behind too far early in the game against a team that historically can put up points. This high powered reputation may be masking the Bolts current potency but the Jets shouldn’t be careless by being inefficient with the ball, in order to test this hypothesis out.
The Jets, even with their struggles on offense this year, average the same 24 points a game that the Bolts do. With Vincent Jackson headed for a battle on Revis Island, the key may simply be to keep Ryan Matthews from tearing up the ground. Especially out on the edges. The Chargers are 4-1 but have won 4 games against teams with a combined 4-17 record. Stay in the game early. Then attack when the time is right.
Jets 23 Chargers 20
The Jets Lose if: The Chargers offense gets rolling thanks to the healthy return of Antonio Gates and Ryan Matthews. The Jets defense again fails to slow down big gains to the outside. They fail to cover a tight end again, and the offense provides a carbon copy of it’s past efforts that featured consistent three and outs. Hope turns bleak and the team starts to breakdown mentally. Many will both write the Jets off and target Ryan’s weekday comments as a primary culprit.
Chargers 38 Jets 27
Rob Celletti: Make no mistake, this is going to be a tough game. But earlier this week, I took an optimistic view of the Jets, and I’m going to let that optimism ride. I’ve always liked the Jets’ matchup against “finesse” teams like the Chargers and Texans. No, the Jets’ defense and running game isn’t as imposing in 2011 as it was in ’09 or ’10, but I still think this is a football team that wants to play physical on defense, run the ball and control the clock. The Jets can do this against a Chargers team whose 4-1 record is a bit deceiving (the Chargers have beaten precisely zero good teams: Minnesota, Kansas City, Miami and Denver, to be exact). Keep in mind as well that, even though they’re coming off a bye, the Chargers are making the long flight east and will be playing a game at what may feel like 10:00 AM to them.
Philip Rivers will get his yards, but he’ll also throw an interception or two, and the Jets will hold the Chargers to 20 points. Offensively, I expect both running backs to have solid, if not spectacular games. Mark Sanchez will throw an interception (he’s just due), but it won’t cost the Jets, who take this game 24-20.