When you think of the marquee match-ups in the NFL from week to week, the Jacksonville Jaguars are the last team that’d come to mind. For Charger fans, this week 7 matchup though is just that. The Chargers come into Jacksonville on Sunday (10 a.m. Kickoff) and look to win their second game in a row.
The Chargers are looking to get over the .500 mark for the first time this season and are coming off a huge win at home against the Indianapolis Colts on Monday night.
The Jaguars made headlines last week against the Denver Broncos for having the highest points spread against in NFL history (+27); Isn’t there a saying for stuff like this? ‘Any publicity is good publicity’, yeah that’s it. They lost 35-19, but showed a lot of effort and played well at times against Peyton Manning and the Broncos and maybe most importantly beat the spread.
The key for the Chargers offense is to control the clock like they did against the Colts Monday. Andrew Luck was more of a spectator than a player for most of the game and allowed the Chargers defense to be fresh. Keenan Allen had another great game and is quickly entering the discussion for Offensive Rookie of the Year. He had 9 receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown. He has become Phillip Rivers go to target and is showing off his quickness and great route running.
Another bright spot last week was the success of Ryan Mathews and the run game. If the Chargers’- running backs can keep this up, it will give Phillip Rivers more success in play action and more time in the pocket.
For the Chargers Defense, coming off their best effort of the season, held the Colts to 9 points. The secondary will have a tough test against the young Jags receiver Justin Blackmon, who has been tearing it up since coming back from his four-game suspension. In two games he has already amassed 19 receptions, 326 yards and a touchdown. The young secondary of the Chargers will have to keep him in front and make some plays on the ball to keep him out of the end zone.
The key for the Jaguars is disrupting the timing of Phillip Rivers and the offense. If the Chargers can sustain long drives and eat up the clock, they will wear down the defense and force the Jags to play catch-up for most of the game.
If the Chargers can take care of business against the lowly Jaguars, they would be on a two game winning streak with their bye week coming up next week. With their record at 4-3 they still have a chance to catch one of the wildcard spots and could make some noise in the second half of the season.
Prediction: 31-20 Chargers