The Jets and Chargers, two NFL franchises trying to right their respective ships, this afternoon are on a collision course under the Southern California sun.
For the Jets, it's their first game ever in the Chargers' (and Rams') new home, SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA. It's their first trip to the Los Angeles area since their 1993 loss to the then-LA-based Raiders. It's their first time playing the Chargers in Los Angeles since 1960, the first year of the American Football League.
And it's the Green & White's next best opportunity to chalk up Win No. 1 this season, considering that they are set to play rookie quarterbacks the next two weeks in the Chargers' Justin Herbert and the Dolphins' Tua Tagovailoa at home a week from today. When coordinator Gregg Williams' defense ran into two rookies in a row last year, they flew into their second half after a 1-7 first half with wins over the Giants' Daniel Jones and Washington's Dwayne Haskins.
Yet Herbert and the Chargers are just as intent on getting this win at home as the Jets are in jump-starting their 2020 season on the road. LA is 2-7 this year, on a three-game losing streak, 1-3 at SoFi and 0-7 in one-score losses. Yes, every one of their L's has been by eight points or fewer, the most in the league this season.
And Herbert plus his top receivers of WRs Keenan Allen and Mike Williams and TE Hunter Henry are eager to take on the Jets' depleted secondary, which formally lost CB Bless Austin (neck) to Injured Reserve on Saturday and, in Head Coach Adam Gase's phrase, is in "all hands on deck" mode to try to slow the 'Bolts' top-10 passing game.
See Top Photos from Pregame Before the Week 11 Matchup in Los Angeles
What would help to combat the LA offense would be a powerful return to action, complete with a sack or two and some hits on the QB from second-year DL Quinnen Williams (hamstring), who sat out the New England MNF game two weeks ago.
Also ready to play and make his Jets debut is LB Patrick Onwuasor (knee/hamstring), the unrestricted free agent from Baltimore who was activated off IR on Wednesday.
And what could also help in that regard is the Jets' offense, with Joe Flacco at the controls for sore-shouldered Sam Darnold once again and for a second straight game working with his and the Jets' top wideouts in Jamison Crowder, Breshad Perriman and rookie Denzel Mims. A strong running game between the tackles from Frank Gore and rookie La'Mical Perine also wouldn't hurt.
If the Jets' offense can stay on the field for a majority of the game's 60 minutes and come up with some perhaps unexpected big plays and stops from their secondary against their hosts — which also includes rookie starting S Ashtyn Davis playing alongside Marcus Maye in the deep middle — they could keep this game within winnable range, perhaps in a shootout.
Sam Ficken also returns to action after sitting out three games with a groin injury as the Jets' placekicker, with capable fill-in Sergio Castillo being deactivated.
Not including Austin on IR, the Jets' five-player inactive list (no players were activated from the practice squad) for this game is:
- QB James Morgan
- K Sergio Castillo
- QB Sam Darnold
- LB Blake Cashman
- OL Cameron Clark
And the Chargers' six-man inactive list:
- QB Easton Stick
- LB Emeke Ebguke
- OL Tyree St. Louis
- T Storm Norton
- DE Jessie Lemonier
- DT Cortez Broughton