In their final home game of 2017, the Jets will host the Los Angeles Chargers at MetLife Stadium in Week 16.
The Chargers come to the East Coast following a tough loss in Kansas City with AFC West supremacy on the line. The Bolts have won seven of their last nine games and are in the thick of the playoff hunt. Led by quarterback Phillip Rivers, LA features the NFL's third-best passing attack as it averages 269 yards per game. In his 14th season, Rivers has thrown for 3,838 yards and 24 touchdowns while completing 62.2% of his passes.
Rivers' primary target is wide receiver Keenan Allen, who is expected to be a candidate for Comeback Player of the Year. Allen played just one game last season and currently ranks No. 4 in the league with 1,197 yards on 88 catches.
"This offense runs through Keenan Allen," said former Chargers OL Nick Hardwick on The Official Jets Podcast Game Preview. "If Keenan Allen is having a successful day, it's very difficult to slow the Chargers down. If he's able to be contained, which he was last week, then you have a good chance to slow the other guys down. The annex guys like Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin…both of them aren't really guys that beat man press. Keenan is the man-press beater."
Los Angeles not only has a strong aerial attack, but the Chargers also defend the pass well. The Bolts allow 202 yards a contest, which ranks fourth in the league. Another Chargers' strength on defense comes up front in outside linebacker Melvin Ingram and second-year defensive end Joey Bosa. Ingram and Bosa have recorded 10 and 11.5 sacks, respectively, as well as 22 and 19 quarterback hits.
"Bosa is a monster," Hardwick said. "His techniques are derived on what the offensive lineman's techniques are and how they plan to attack you. He's not flashy, he's not jump around. He's going to bull rush you and use his hands so effectively to capture the edge. The thing about him is that he has as much talent as anybody in the league, but he hustles as much as anybody in the league. That's how you take talent to an elite level and that's what Joey Bosa has been able to do."
Offensive Matchup to Watch: Jets OL vs. Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa
The Jets need to contain Ingram and Bosa in order to provide quarterback Bryce Petty with ample time to work through his progressions. Watch for the Jets to try to utilize their ground game as the Chargers rank No. 30 in rush defense. Last week against the Saints, the Green & White had success running the ball and gained 124 yards on 28 attempts for an average of 4.4 yards per carry.
Defensive Matchup to Watch: Jets CBs vs. Keenan Allen
Echoing Hardwick's point, the Chargers offense runs through Allen. If the Jets can limit the 6'2", 211-pound wideout, it'll force Rivers to go to his secondary options like tight end Hunter Henry and receivers Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin, who have combined for 65 receptions. Running back Melvin Gordon, who ranks No. 7 in the NFL in rushing yards, is one of Rivers' top options as he's second on the team with 49 receptions.