I'm not sure I agree with the conventional wisdom on how the Jets will look to combat San Diego's passing game. The theory goes Darrelle Revis will spend the entire time chasing Vincent Jackson around, and Kerry Rhodes will be on Antonio Gates. I think the Jets will look to mix up their looks. There will certainly be a lot of Revis-Jackson and Rhodes-Gates matchups, but I see the Jets varying things so Philip Rivers cannot figure things out. There will be times where Revis moves inside to play Gates. Lito Sheppard will play Jackson sometimes. Other times Jackson will be doubled. We are sure to see plenty of nickel and dime looks on first and second down. The Chargers have a great pass offense but a bad run game.
San Diego has a talented corps of receivers, but I really like the way the Jets match up. This crew isn't going to make its money running past people. Those are the kind of receivers who give Sheppard, Dwight Lowery, and Donald Strickland real issues. The Chargers guys are big. Gates, Jackson, and Malcom Floyd are all at least 6'4'. They look to win balls. New York's secondary has great ball skills and is skilled at breaking up contested balls.
One guy nobody is talking about is Eric Smith. Smith will have a key role in this game. He will see a lot of time in the subpackages the Jets will throw out there. His job will likely be playing underneath to hold Darren Sproles in check. Sproles is dangerous in space. There are going to be times where Rivers has to check down. Smith has to contain Sproles. That's something of a scary matchup.
This is strength against strength. Philip Rivers is one of the best quarterbacks in the game. His throws have pinpoint precision. He also destroys teams blitzing him. With that said, he hasn't played a coverage unit like the Jets have. Donald Strickland's return is a help to the secondary. This defense has shut down Tom Brady and Drew Brees this year. It has to play just as well for the Jets to win today.