NEW YORK JETS (0-9) at CHARGERS (2-7)
When: Sunday, 1:05 pm
True: SoFi Stadium
TV / Radio: Statistics Netherlands (chapter 2); 98.7 FM; 105.5 FM / 94.3 FM (Spanish); Sirius 133
Line: Chargers with 9½ points
Notable injury indications: Chargers: QB Tyrod Taylor (questionable, ribs), LS Cole Mazza (questionable, disease).
Jets: QB Sam Darnold (questionable, shoulder), K Sam Ficken (questionable, groin), CB Bless Austin (questionable, neck).
What is at stake? Not being the first team to lose to the Jets this season. Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa told his teammates not to take the Jets lightly because he knows what it’s like to lose to a winless team 11 weeks in a season. The Chargers lost to a Cleveland Browns team 0-14 during Bosa’s rookie season in 2016. But the Chargers don’t have to worry about the Jets’ winless streak. The Chargers have lost three games and have lost seven of their past eight games. The Chargers are big favorites at home, but they desperately need a win. They may be under pressure to avoid embarrassment against the Jets.
Who is better? Clearly the chargers, but not by a wide margin. The Chargers were exposed by the Miami Dolphins last week. They have bigger problems than shutting down games with one score. The Chargers’ special teams had a terrible performance against the Dolphins, but they made many costly mistakes all season. The defense has failed to create game-changing moves as it has no takeaways and sacks this season. The Jets achieved their best performance of the season pushing the New England Patriots to the last minutes before their farewell week. The Chargers won’t be up against quarterback Sam Darnold, but backup Joe Flacco has given them some passes over the years.
Matchup to watch: Bosa versus Jets’ rookie left tackling Mekhi Becton. Bosa will return after concussing against the Denver Broncos on Nov. 1. Bosa said he could have his body recover from other nagging injuries while serving two games. Becton only played 15 snaps in his last game because he had a cold. The massive 355 pound offensive lineman was one of the best rookies in the NFL this season. Bosa struggled against Buccaneers rookie Tristan Wirfs in week 4, but he faced multiple injuries. A healthy Bosa will test the Jets’ talented left tackle.
Chargers win if: They stop shooting themselves in the foot. The Chargers made foolish mistakes on special teams, dropping three possible interceptions against the Dolphins. If they can take their chances, the Chargers may not have to sweat out a one-score game against the winless Jets. It sounds simple, but the Chargers have had many sloppy games with shocking fouls, such as jumping offside on a field goal last week.
Fantasy sleeper: Okay, so newcomer Joshua Kelley runs back may not have his escape fantasy game after all. Go with new primary running back Kalen Ballage, who has led the Chargers on hasty yards for the past two games. Ballage has gained the trust of Chargers coach Anthony Lynn since joining the team in October. Ballage started the regular season with the Jets and was released after three games. He will be motivated for this revenge game. Now that Ballage is cursed, ignore this advice and start Kelley.
Prediction: Rookie quarterback Justin Herbert put himself under a lot of pressure after his new haircut went viral. If he doesn’t play well against the Jets, many will blame the buzz cut. But Herbert doesn’t need long hair to set fire to opposing defenses. He will have another multi-touchdown day, reaching 400 passing yards for the first time in his career in the Chargers’ 38-27 win against the Jets.