Pair of Dual-Threat Running Backs
Of all the Chargers offensive threats, RB Austin Ekeler may be the explosive. One of the top dual-threat running backs in the NFL, the undrafted free agent has led the league in scrimmage touchdowns each of the past two seasons (38 total) and has eclipsed 1,500 total yards in three of his last four seasons.
He's gained plus-632 yards after the catch over expected since 2018, which leads all running backs. He also leads all players with plus-262 receiving yards over expected on screen passes in that span. Last week against the Bears, Ekeler gained 105 of his season-high 116 yards after the catch in the first half, the most by any player in a half this season.
Like Ekeler, Jets RB Breece Hall, another top dual-threat, is coming off a game where he was more effective as a pass catcher than a rusher. Hall totaled 93 yards in Sunday's win over the Giants, 86 of which came through the air. He had a 50-yard catch-and-run touchdown, his fifth scrimmage play of at least 50 yards in 14 career games. It was his second 50-plus-yard reception and both came at MetLife Stadium.
Hall will play against a Chargers defense that has allowed the second most yards after the catch over expected this season with plus-116.
The Jets will be starting their fifth offensive line combination Monday night against a Chargers defensive line that features four-time Pro Bowler Joey Bosa (4 sacks) and four-time first-team All-Pro Khalil Mack (7 sacks). C Connor McGovern (knee) and G/C Wes Schweitzer (calf) were placed on injured reserve Tuesday and the Green & White signed OL Dennis Kelly to the active roster from the practice squad. The team also added Pro Bowl OL Rodger Saffold to the P-squad.
"Rodger is an experienced guy, played in a lot of games, tough, smart," GM Joe Douglas said. "He knows [offensive line coach] Keith Carter well, being with him in Tennessee. He is the exact type of person, competitor, mental makeup, toughness that we are looking for to add to the group and I think he is going to be a really good acquisition for us."
The Jets could have rookie C/G Joe Tippmann back in the lineup after he missed the last game with a quad injury. Tippmann, who played center at Wisconsin and guard in his first four NFL games, could shift back to the pivot against an LA defense that's tied for No. 9 with 23 sacks this season.
Banged Up Herbert
Chargers QB Justin Herbert has been playing with a finger injury on his non-throwing hand sustained in Week 4 that requires him to wear a cast. Last week in a 30-10 win over the Bears, Herbert completed 27-of-30 passes for 222 yards and 3 touchdowns on passes under 10 air yards. His 4.9 air yards per attempt was the second-lowest of his career.
Herbert has done a good job against the blitz this season. Entering Week 8, Herbert threw for 802 yards (2nd), 10 TD (T-1st), and +8.7% CPOE (2nd) against the blitz this season.
The Jets defense has been good at home in primetime games this season. Josh Allen (Week 1 "Monday Night Football") and Patrick Mahomes (Week 4 "Sunday Night Football") combined for 439 yards, 3 touchdowns and 5 interceptions.