Despite having quite a lot of mediocre talent on his roster and not a ton to work with, New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan might still be the most creative defensive coach in the league. He still throws out at least one new look that has never really been seen before in each game, which is unbelievable.
In addition to being creative, he's good. Rex knows how to take away the strength of an offense and force them to try and win the way that they don't want to. That wouldn't normally be a problem for the normally-balanced San Diego Chargers offense, but without a running game to speak of, this can get a little more difficult on Sunday.
I've said it all week and I'll continue to say it. I believe what Rex Ryan is going to do with his defense is cover short, cover deep, keep Philip Rivers in the pocket, and force Rivers to beat him with medium-range passes to the sidelines.
Rivers can make those throws, but they're riskier. They lead to turnovers sometimes. They take away all of the things this offense actually wants to do, which is short passes over the middle with room to run. Rivers will need to be absolutely perfect for the offense to do anything, and that's a tough thing to rely on for your offensive gameplan.
The funny thing about season predictions is that people make them, then panic four weeks in when the team is not on pace to match the prediction. By season's end the team has usually gotten near or at the prediction point, because these things tend to even themselves out over the course of the year.
I don't think anyone thinks that the Jets are going to finish 4-12 this year. This is a Rex Ryan team, which means they'll finish at or near 8-8 with minimal talent. That means that some of these games, where they have a drastically worse record than the team they're facing, they're going to end up winning.
In a nutshell, the Jets are not as bad as 1-3. If they were coming into this game 3-1, with wins over the Packers and Lions, we would fear them. The funny thing is, they're not far from that being reality. Don't be shocked if they beat the Chargers are start evening out their record.
The San Diego Chargers are more beat up than they've been in years. As of the writing of this post, it looks like the team could be missing about 8 of their 22 offensive/defensive starters for this game. That is more than a third of their starters!
Would it really shock you if, at some point, the Chargers lost a game because of the staggering number of injuries? The offensive line is currently made up of chewing gum, a paper clip, and some twine. The running game is being manned by a fan that won a contest on the radio. 53-year-old Billy Ray Smith has been called into duty as a starting LB.
Do you get my point? As little talent as the Jets may have on their roster, the Chargers may have even less talent that is actually healthy enough to play. That is going to catch up with them sooner or later, if only for one game, and it would make sense if it happened against a Jets team that Philip Rivers and the Chargers have struggled against in the last few years.