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The first Monday Night Football matchup of November is set to be a critical chase in the AFC Playoff picture. The Los Angeles Chargers (3-4) are set to go on the road to take on the New York Jets (4-3).
The New York Jets started the season with a big win over the Buffalo Bills despite losing star quarterback Aaron Rodgers to a torn Achilles. The Jets would lose three consecutive games as their lack of preparation for losing Rodgers was noticeable. After the 1-4 start, The Jets are starting to look like a team that could be serious contenders for the AFC playoffs after winning three consecutive games, including a home game to the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Los Angeles Chargers started the season with two consecutive losses to the Miami Dolphins and at the Tennessee Titans, both by close scores. They would pick up two more wins against the Minnesota Vikings and the Las Vegas Rangers to get 2-2 But their lack of efficiency from their coaching staff has brought the team down to a tough level. The Chargers have only won one of the last three games as they are coming off of a 30-13 win at home of the Chicago Bears, one of the worst teams in the league.
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The Chargers are coming into this game with one of the most talented young offenses in the league led by star quarterback Justin Herbert. Under the control of Herbert and 1st year oldest coordinator Kellen Moore, the Chargers are ranked 9th in the league in points per game (24.9), 8th in the league in total yards (362.4), and 7th in the league in passing yards per game (258.9). Despite injuries to the receiving and running back Austin Ekeler, who is set to start his fourth consecutive game, the Chargers have found ways to adapt.
For the past few seasons and going into the season, the defense for the New York Jets was one of the most positive headlines of the team. The Jets have patiently built a solid group of reliable star playmakers across the defense the jets are right sixth in the league in points allowed per game (18.4), 14th in total yards allowed per game (329.3), and sixth in passing yards allowed per game (184.4). They can thank their second-year star cornerback in Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner for their stellar play.
The Jets knew losing Rogers to an injury would be difficult, but going back to Zach Wilson under center was going to be even more challenging. The Jets lost three of the first games Wilson started under center as he played inconsistently. Throughout the next three games, however, Wilson has done his best to not put the offense in bad situations and he's doing what he can to help the team win. It does help to have a reliable set of young playmakers in running back Breece Hall and wide receiver Garrett Wilson to help carry the offense.
What has held the Chargers back from success this season, other than head coach Brandon Staley is the lack of efficiency on the defensive side of the ball. The Chargers are ranked 23rd in points allowed per game (24), 31st in total yards allowed per game (390.9), and 32nd (last) in passing yards allowed per game (297.4). The Chargers possessed great talent but lacked the efficient coaching to transcend the defense to their potential.
While Garrett Wilson has been one of the most productive young wide receivers in the league, he has only accounted for six touchdowns a year and a half in the league. With the Chargers being the worst pass-defense team in the NFL, Wilson has his greatest chance to get his third touchdown of the season on Monday night.
Justin Herbert, being one of the most talented quarterbacks in the league, is going to find ways to get the ball into the end zone. With the Chargers struggling in the traditional running offense, the team will rely on Herbert to get the offense going with multiple passing scores. 14 of the 20 offensive touchdowns this season have come from the passing game.
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If there is one weakness in the just offense going into the season before Rodgers’ injury, it was the offensive line. Through four games this season, the offensive line for The Jets have allowed 24 sacks. Chargers outside linebacker Khalil Mack continues to play at a high level in the pass rush by accounting for a team-high seven sacks. You have a great opportunity to account for one or two more on Monday night.
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What: Los Angeles Chargers vs. New York Jets
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey
When: Monday, November 7, 8:15 PM E.T.
How to Watch: ABC, ESPN, ESPN+, YouTube TV, NFL
Michael Hanich is a sports journalist/analyst with a wide variety of experience in the newspaper and digital field. He has a love for all sports. The leagues that he covers are College Football, the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, College Basketball (men’s and women’s), the MLB, Lacrosse, Volleyball, and the WNBA.More info on Michael Hanich
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