|September 19th, 2010
|San Diego, CA
|Jaguars vs Chargers coverage
|Bolts From The Blue
Now that Tebowpalooza has passed the Jaguars, it's now time to concentrate on returning to the playoffs. Next up for the Jaguars are the San Diego Chargers. The Bolts are coming off of a disappointing loss in Kansas City on Monday Night football and are looking to avoid the dreaded 0-2 start. Conversely, the Jaguars have to travel to the West Coast and hope things fare better than in 2010.
Jaguars Offense vs Chargers Defense
For the Jaguars to upend the Chargers, the offense will have to pick up the pace they played at last Sunday. If the team can't find the endzone until just before halftime vs the Chargers, it is going to be a long day in California. The main focus should be trying to open things up for Maurice Jones-Drew. While MJD had a good game vs Denver, he had few opportunities to break into the second level. The Chargers boast a below average LB corps even if Shawne Merriman plays, so there should be opportunities.
The key is going to be the play of the interior line. Chargers NT Antonio Garay has somehow become a force in the middle. Last year, the way to the Jaguars backfield was through Brad Meester. If Meester can't hold his own vs Garay, then expect the blitzes up the gut to come early and often.
Mike Sims-Walker should gets some looks this week and hopefully will make the most of it. The Chargers don't have anyone in the secondary of Champ Bailey's caliber. For a #1 wide receiver, this is his time to shine. Also, it will be another chance for Mike Thomas to show off. Will he prove that Week 1 was no fluke?
Jaguars Defense vs Chargers Offense
After surrendering 295 yards to Kyle Orton, the schedule makers didn't give the Jagaurs any favors this week. Even without Vincent Jackson, Philip Rivers is one of the best QB's in the NFL. Outside of Rashean Mathis, it could get ugly quickly if the pass rush can't get to Rivers.
The talk this week has been centered on Antonio Gates, and with good reason. The Jaguars history with tight ends is dubious. Gates light up the Jags on their last trip to SD in 2004 and will likely have a good game again.
The matchup to watch will be the Jaguars defensive line vs the Chargers offensive line. While the Chargers don't have the best line in the NFL, they're miles better than the patch work group Denver fielded. Will Aaron Kampman and Tyson Alualu be just as effective when they aren't going against guys coming off ACL surgey or making their first NFL start? For Jaguar fans, the answer will have to be yes. If not, Philip Rivers is going to light up the score board.
Special Teams and Intangibles
The great equalizer is going to be the special teams. If the Chargers are consistently starting at their 20 or worse, while the Jaguars are starting past the 30, that will translate into points. Not to mention the Chargers mediocre kick coverage. It is an area that the team will need to take advantage of.
Honestly, I believe the whole West Coast thing is slightly overblown. The Jaguars last year were a bad team and that contributed to the West Coast collapses a year ago. A year older and better, I believe they'll fare much better.
Player on the Hot Seat
Aaron Kampman and Tyson Alualu
Real simple, Philip Rivers can't torch the secondary if he's running for his life.
San Diego Chargers 31
Jacksonville Jaguars 21