The Los Angeles Chargers look to regain their momentum as well as bolster their playoff hopes when they visit the New York Jets on Sunday. The Chargers reeled off four consecutive victories before losing to Kansas City last weekend to fall one game back in both the AFC West and wild-card races.
Los Angeles is in a must-win situation as it trails the Chiefs in the AFC West and three teams (Tennessee, Buffalo and Baltimore) in the wild-card race. The Jets will miss the postseason for the seventh consecutive season, but coach Todd Bowles is pleased with the effort and energy his squad is displaying. “They are going to keep fighting. Obviously, this is going to turn. I believe that we have a good core group,” Bowles told reporters. “We just need to eliminate some of the mistakes and some of the situational football things, and we will be OK.” New York ranks 26th in scoring defense (24.4 points per game), and that could be an issue against the Chargers, who rank seventh in total offense (368 yards) and third in passing offense (268.8).
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Chargers -7. O/U: 42.5
ABOUT THE CHARGERS (7-7): Pro Bowl quarterback Philip Rivers (3,838 yards, 24 touchdowns) is enjoying a superb season and is 162 yards away from becoming the fourth player with at least nine 4,000-yard campaigns. Star receiver Keenan Allen (88 receptions, 1,197 yards) also is headed to the Pro Bowl thanks to his stellar performance while running back Melvin Gordon is just 69 yards shy of his first career 1,000-yard season. Defensive end Joey Bosa (11.5 sacks) and cornerback Casey Hayward (four interceptions) are Pro Bowl selections on a defensive unit that ranks third in scoring defense (18.2 points).
ABOUT THE JETS (5-9): Rookie safety Jamal Adams missed out on the Pro Bowl but is making his mark with 66 tackles, two sacks and two fumble recoveries. Adams, the sixth overall pick in last spring’s draft, and linebacker Demario Davis (five sacks) have been bright spots on a unit that has allowed more than 30 points on five occasions. Quarterback Bryce Petty is making his second straight start in place of Josh McCown (broken hand) after completing 19-of-39 passes for 179 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in last Sunday’s 31-19 loss to New Orleans.
1. The Chargers have won the last two meetings, including a 31-14 victory in 2014.
2. New York DE Muhammad Wilkerson is back after a one-game suspension, but coach Todd Bowles hasn’t yet decided if he will suit up.
3. Los Angeles TE Hunter Henry (lacerated kidney) is done for the season.
PREDICTION: Chargers 26, Jets 21