The guys over at ESPN’s NFL Live all chimed in with their opinions on the keys to the coming New York Jets vs. the San Diego Chargers. The key areas they cover include; Difference Makers, Match ups To Watch and of course a prediction.
First up the games ‘Difference Maker’. NFL Live selects Antonio Gates.
Antonio Gates, TE for the Chargers, represents a match up nightmare for the Jets. Normally, the strong safety position is responsible for covering the tight end, but, as the guys at ESPN noted, New York Jets SS Jim Leonhard is only 5′8″ which does beg the question…can Leonhard cover him? While I believe Rex will scheme for this scenario, most seem to believe that Gates will be the difference maker that allows for San Diego to move onto the AFC Championships.
Next up, "Match-ups To Watch". NFL Live says to watch the New York Jets linebackers and safeties vs. Antonio Gates and Darren Sproles.
The guys at NFL Live believe that in nickel situations, the Jets will have heart aches trying to cover these two players. We all know about Gates, but they also feel that Sproles is so quick and good on little option routes that he will be almost too much to handle. Now me, I am just not that afraid of Sproles. I know we can’t afford to over look him but I guess I just don’t see him as that big an impact player. I suppose I will learn a lot more about Sproles come Sunday.
Finally we get to a prediction. I’m sure you can all see the writing on the wall at this point. NFL Live selects the Chargers to win. The base reason for this pick is one we have all heard before and probably fear just a bit. The Jets are simply not going to be able to score enough points to keep up with or over take the Chargers.
This final point is one that does kinda cut because it has some truth behind it. More than any single other point made in the Chargers favor, our lack of a passing game to compliment that awesome run game means we can not try to out gun anybody. When playing a high powered offense like San Diego has, it is almost mandatory that you possess the ability to go long.
I still whole-heartedly believe in the Jets ability to persevere and win against the Chargers but I would be lying if I said I don’t have at least some reservations. I still believe that the true key to this game aside from the obvious, our number 1 defense and running game playing to their ability, will be the play of young Mark Sanchez. How Sanchez goes will likely be how the Jets go.
All our hopes and dreams are hinged on the play of this one man.
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Xander Diaz is Editor-In-Chief for AFCBeast.com.