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When San Diego Has the Ball
I will watch this game mostly out of morbid curiosity, as the San Diego Chargers have become the NFL's version of a car crash, but also I want to see what the hell is going on with Philip Rivers.
Rivers was starting to creep into the top-five quarterback conversation before this season; now he looks like a baseball player who lied about his age, and suddenly we learn he's not really 29, but 42 and playing with two bad knees and a smoker's lung.
Whatever the excuse, Rivers' game needs fixing, and Norv Turner isn't the guy to get it done.
Having said all that (sorry for the rant), San Diego has a great chance to win this week—if only because it is playing one of the worst teams in the league. Jacksonville's defense is improved, but not to the point where it can shut down San Diego (even on a bad day).
When Jacksonville Has the Ball
I'm starting to feel sorry for rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert—who shared a state with me for 21 years. Gabbert hasn't been good this year, at all, and he's getting worse each week. The Jaguars pulled him last week in favor of Luke McCown—which should tell you all you need to know about how badly Gabbert was playing.
Jacksonville has to feed the ball to Maurice Jones-Drew and then set up the play-action game. This is something I haven't seen the Jaguars do much of this year, which is confusing since they have a young quarterback who needs to settle into the game and one of the best all-around backs in the game to work with.
The Chargers need to bring the heat in this one and let their cornerbacks play on an island against the mediocre Jacksonville wideouts. If I'm calling the defense in San Diego, we're stacking the box to shut down MJD and begging Jacksonville to throw.
Prediction: San Diego 24, Jacksonville 10