1. Blake Bortles is getting his first career start in San Diego. Why is he more of a threat to beat the Chargers than Chad Henne was? What is it about his style of play that could be of particular concern to Chargers fans?
He's more of a threat because he's a better QB than Henne is, talent-wise. He can make tough throws that Henne hasn't been able to make for years. It also doesn't hurt that he appears to be the more mobile of the two QBs. San Diego's defense has a tough time against mobile QBs, or even guys that know when to take off and get yards with their legs when there is nothing open downfield.
2. San Diego has struggled to run the ball so far this season, but the Jaguars have struggled to stop the run. Who do you think wins Sunday's battle of moveable object and a stoppable force?
The Jaguars, but "win" isn't exactly how I'd describe it. Without Ryan Mathews or Danny Woodhead, I don't think the Chargers will make much of an effort to run the ball over the next few games. I think they'll alter the offense to be more a collection of long, medium, and short throws with the occasional run instead of a "balanced attack".
3. The Chargers have several injuries on defense, with linebacker Manti Te'o being the latest. What can you tell us about the backups coming in? Do Jaguars fans have reason to hope that Jacksonville can take advantage on offense?
Yes and no. Kavell Conner is filling in for Manti Te'o and there's almost no drop-off there. You could even argue that Conner is probably the better run-stopper, and ILB Donald Butler played better in the preseason next to Conner than he did next to Te'o, so that unit should be solid.
The loss of Melvin Ingram probably can't be overstated, though. Last year's team went 5-7 without Ingram and 5-1 with him. Even if he isn't putting up huge stats, he draws enough focus away from Dwight Freeney to make the the defense much more dangerous. I know the Jaguars offensive line hasn't been very good this year, but they'll be much better this week without Ingram out there and with Bortles behind center.
4. The Jaguars are 14.5-point underdogs. What's their greatest chance of success on Sunday? Stopping Philip Rivers? Converting third downs and controlling the clock?
As is the case with every "major upset", their greatest chance of success is turnovers. Philip Rivers has shown, throughout his career, that if you can take away his running game and get pressure on him, he will try and do too much and turn the ball over. He's made less mental mistakes this season, but you never know when "bad Philip" might show up and lose a game.
5. How do you expect the game to play out? Will it be a rout like Vegas predicts, or do you think Bortles will help make it a tight game?
I think the Chargers will build an early lead, but then will struggle to "put it away" without much of a ground game, leading to a bunch of short possessions and a scary fourth quarter where Bortles gets hot and gets the Jaguars within one score before a late defensive stop lets San Diego escape with the win.