The guys over at ESPN’s NFL Live all chimed in with their opinions on the keys to the coming game between the New York Jets and San Diego Chargers. The important areas they cover include; Difference Makers, Matchups To Watch and, of course, a Prediction.
First up the games Difference Maker: NFL Live selected Antonio Gates.
Antonio Gates, TE for the Chargers, represents a matchup nightmare for the Jets. Normally, the strong safety position is responsible for covering the tight end, but, as the guys at ESPN noted, New York Jets SS Jim Leonhard is only 5′8″. Which begs the question: can Leonhard cover him? Although I believe Rex will scheme for this scenario, most seem to believe that Gates will be the difference maker that allows San Diego to move onto the AFC Championships.
Next up, Matchups To Watch: NFL Live said to watch the New York Jets' linebackers and safeties against Antonio Gates and Darren Sproles.
The crew at NFL Live believes that in nickel situations, the Jets will have headaches trying to cover these two players. We all know about Gates, but they also feel Sproles is so quick and dynamic on little option routes that he will be almost too much to handle. Now me, I am just not that afraid of Sproles. I know we can’t afford to over look him but I guess I just don’t see him as a major impact player. I suppose I will learn a lot more about Sproles come Sunday.
Finally we get to a Prediction: NFL Live selected the Chargers to win.
I’m sure you all saw the writing on the wall at this point. The base reason for this pick is one we have all heard before and probably fear just a bit. The Jets are simply not going to be able to score enough points to keep up with or overtake the Chargers.
This final point is one that does hurt, because it has some truth behind it. Our lack of a passing game to compliment that awesome run game means we cannot try to out gun anybody. When playing a high powered offense like the one San Diego has, it is almost mandatory that you possess the ability to go long.
I still whole-heartedly believe in the Jets ability to persevere and win against the Chargers, but I would be lying if I said I don’t have at least some reservations. I still believe the true key to this game (aside from our No. 1 ranked defense and running game playing to their ability) will be the play of young Mark Sanchez. How goes Sanchez, so go the Jets.
All our hopes and dreams hinge on the play of this one man.
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