Jets-Chargers Predictions: Can New York's Young Secondary Contain Los Angeles' Offense?
Don't let a combined record of 2-16 deceive you. Sunday's Jets-Chargers matchup in Los Angeles has the potential to be a fun game to watch.
Coming out of their bye week, and looking to build on arguably their best performance of the season, New York will attempt to secure their first win in 2020.
The Jets have already set a new all-time worst start to a season in franchise history, opening the year with nine straight losses. If they can't control Los Angeles' explosive offense (a unit that averages 403.7 yards per game, third-best in the league), they'll see their tally of losses balloon to double digits.
Leading up to this contest, however, Jets fans have to feel cautiously optimistic. This game may very well be New York's best shot to win a game all season long. That's certainly the case based off the record of their opponent.
Start to acknowledge the players the Jets and head coach Adam Gase will be missing on both sides of the ball due to injury, however, and that optimism will start to wane.
As you sip on some coffee and get set for another exciting slate of NFL games on Sunday, here's a prediction as to how this Week 11 showdown on the West Coast will play out...
Max Goodman's pick: Jets 24, Chargers 34
Two weeks ago, I came pretty close to picking the Jets over New England and Gang Green proved on the national stage that even for a winless team, they won't go down without a fight. That's why I've got New York hanging around and putting points on the board again this week.
That said, and even if New York's plan to contain Justin Herbert is sound, it's hard to envision this inexperienced secondary holding down one of the NFL's most explosive offenses.
We've talked about this over and over this week on JetsCountry as the injuries at cornerback have continued to add up. Minus Bless Austin and Brian Poole (as well as Pierre Desir who was released this week), Sunday is a tremendous chance to give rookies in-game reps at corner. It'll be invaluable for their development and give this coaching staff a chance to distinguish which defensive backs are poised to stick at the position in 2021 and beyond. That's good news!
But against Herbert and the three-headed monster of Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Hunter Henry? I've got the rookie quarterback going for 300-plus yards through the air on Sunday, maybe even setting a new career-high. It's up to the defensive line to put pressure on Herbert and cause the rookie to make mistakes. Having Quinnen Williams back on defense after missing time with a hamstring injury will be huge.
As for New York's offense, their trio of receivers will continue to excel for a second straight outing.
Jamison Crowder, rookie Denzel Mims and Breshad Perriman played together for the first time in Week 9, combining for nearly 200 yards receiving to go along with three scores. With Joe Flacco under center again this week, as Sam Darnold continues to sit with a right shoulder injury, don't be surprised if the veteran quarterback relies heavily on those playmakers through the air. He targeted them 17 times against New England. That number may very well get to 20 in Los Angeles.
Ultimately, the Chargers take care of business by pulling away in the second half. Think of how Los Angeles beat the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars a few weeks ago. It was a close game at halftime, but the Chargers wound up winning by 10 after a 20-point third quarter.
That's the only game the Chargers have played this season that's been decided by more than one possession. Sunday will have a similar result, especially considering New York has struggled mightily in the third and fourth quarters all season long.
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