The San Diego Chargers fielded one of the best passing games in the NFL a season ago, but they still struggled throughout the season, only redeeming things late by winning five of their last six games. This year, they’re looking better than before, and quarterback Philip Rivers is throwing the ball well. On Sunday, the Chargers will take on the 1-3 New York Jets, a team that has struggled big time on offense but is actually decent against the pass on defense.
Rivers has the Chargers passing for 282.3 yards per game. Every single yard counts next to a running game that is averaging a paltry 69.5 rushing yards per game. The Jets have the No. 11 pass defense in the NFL, so yards will be tough to come by for Rivers … especially given that the Jets allow just 63.3 rushing yards per game on average. Rivers spreads the ball around, starting with wide receiver Keenan Allen. Allen leads the team in receiving yards, but Eddie Royal, Antonio Gates and Malcolm Floyd have all proven to be capable weapons. The running game has really struggled with Donald Brown averaging just 2.0 yards per carry this season.
Of course, the Jets have played against four teams not known for strong running games in the Oakland Raiders, Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions. But it’s still worth noting that the Chargers may have their hands full in this one. The focus for New York will be on quarterback Geno Smith. The second-year quarterback started the season off well with a great game in a Week 1 win against Oakland. He’s struggled to repeat that performance since. He completed just 51.5 percent of his passes last week against Detroit, leaving some fans to call for backup Michael Vick. If Smith rebounds, the leash in New York will get longer. A fourth straight loss, however, might lead to a rough week in the media for Smith, Rex Ryan and the Jets.
How to watch
Where: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, Calif.
When: 4:25 p.m. ET
Announcers: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Evan Washburn
Online streaming: Verizon NFL Mobile
The Chargers opened up as 7-point favorites, and the line moved to as many as 7.5 points as the week progressed, according to OddsShark.