The San Diego Chargers (2-8) head into their week 12 matchup on the road against the Jacksonville Jaguars (4-6) having lost 6 games in a row. The season has spiraled out of control and Mike McCoy might as well be sharing a seat with Hades, that’s how hot it is.
This is coming off one of the worst all-around performances in recent memory as the Kansas City Chiefs dismantled the Bolts at home 33-3 last week. Philip Rivers and the Bolts’ offense mustered just 201 total yards, while the defense allowed a conservative Chiefs’ offense to rack up almost 400 yards on the afternoon.
The upstart Jaguars have won 3 out of their last 4 games, and find themselves just one game behind the Colts for the AFC South Division.
If there is any good news, it’s that the Chargers would pick first overall in April’s draft next season if they can just keep sucking for 6 more weeks. But, there is always the possibility the Chargers whiff on the pick and don’t improve.
When: Sunday November 29, 10:00 am PT
Where: EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Florida
Betting: Chargers (+4.5)
The Chargers and Jags first met in 2003 and the Bolts own a 5-2 series record all time. The Chargers have won the last four meetings between these two teams. The Jaguars last beat the Chargers in 2007, when they had their last winning season.
The Chargers offense was absolutely dismal last week. They failed to reach the red zone one time, one time! Sans a 52-yard field goal by Josh Lambo, the offense was a complete dud. Usually I’d say there’s nowhere to go but up, but even that might be a stretch for this group.
Philip Rivers has no playmakers to help him out. Steven Johnson is really the only healthy wide receiver that should be starting. Javontee Herndon and Dontrelle Inman are receiving some valuable playing time and will hopefully continue to improve as they see snaps. Antonio Gates looks a tad slow out there but can still be a factor when the offense is on the same page, which is very rarely.
Melvin Gordon can’t succeed in this style of offense. I think it’s pretty clear they have no idea how to use him and this whole situation is a mess. Gordon stated that he doesn’t feel comfortable running out of the shot-gun formation, but he continued, and will continue, to see snaps from that formation. Keep expecting around 10 to 15 carries a game for around 30-40 yards a game from him.
Danny Woodhead has tallied over 700 total yards on the season but was only targeted twice last week and given 6 carries. They need to get him involved more in the passing game and use his ability to garner mismatches.
This defensive unit will have its hands full with one of the more successful receiving
tandems in the league on Sunday. Allen Robinson (17.7) and Allen Hurns (17.6) are #1 and #2 in the NFL in yards per catch. The Chargers secondary will need to keep these receivers in front of them and limit the big play, something that hasn’t worked out too well this year.
Denzel Perryman, Corey Liuget, and Manti Te’o all recorded a sack last week. It was Perryman’s first sack of his young career. They will need to keep the pressure on Jags’ QB Blake Bortles. The second year QB has shown his mobility as he has rushed for 212 yards so far this season, so the Chargers edge rushers will have to play smart and keep containment. Bortles has been sacked the third most by of all QB’s this season, look for Jeremiah Attaochu (6 sacks) and Melvin Ingram (5 sacks) to get after it.
Blake Bortles continues to make strides in his second year. He has thrown for 20 TD’s on the season and looks to continue the great chemistry he has with the Allens (Allen
Robinson and Allen Hurns).
Rookie Running Back T.J. Yeldon has had a successful first year in Jacksonville. The Alabama product has rushed for 585 yards but has scored just 1 TD all season (1 more than Melvin Gordon). The Chargers have been gashed all season on the ground, so look for a heavy dose of Yeldon on Sunday.
Wide outs Robinson and Hurns are both just in their second years as pros. Robinson ranks 8th out of all NFL receivers by Pro Football Focus, with Hurns not far behind at 13.
Both are on path for well over 1,000 yards receiving this season. Robinson comes in at 871 yards on 50 receptions and 7 TD’s. Hurns has 716 yards on 44 receptions and also has caught 7 TD passes.
The Jags defense is led by hard-hitting Strong Safety Johnathan Cyprien. The third year pro has been putting together a Pro-Bowl type season and is drawing comparisons to Seattle Seahawks Safety Cam Chancellor. Cyprien at 6 feet 223-pounds, has 59 tackles this season and leads all defensive backs in the NFL in tackles since the start of 2014.
The linebacking core consists of OLB Telvin Smith who has racked up 97 tackles already this season and Middle Linebacker Paul Posluszny adds another 80. This is a unit giving up just 94 yards a game on the ground, 9th best in the NFL.
What We’re Watching:
Last week looked like a team that has given up on themselves, each other and their coach. Let’s see how they come out for this game, on the road. If they look uninterested again, it will be a long day for the Chargers and fans.
As far as match ups go, I’m looking forward to seeing Jason Verrett lined up on one of the Allens, most likely Robinson. Two second year players who are having great starts to their young careers going at it should make for an exciting match up.
Jaguars 24, Chargers 13
Nick was born and raised in San Diego where he became a Chargers and Padres fan, attending numerous home games throughout the years with his dad. He then went on to attend college at the University of Arizona. There he earned his degree in marketing and now lives in San Francisco where he dreams of the the sunny beaches of San Diego. Bear Down.