San Diego at Jacksonville
In week that has some stink-worthy matchups, it’s only fitting we get this overripe matchup between two teams that were officially done with hope during the past two weeks. The Chargers come off of their sixth straight loss, which equals the longest losing streak for any team this year not named the Indianapolis Colts. The streak defies logic in a lot of ways, since the Chargers are one of the more talented teams in the league. Is Philip Rivers playing hurt? Has he lost his mojo? Is Antonio Gates too old, fat, and injury prone? Is Vincent Jackson only caring to show up for half the games while he bides his time to what he thinks will be a big pay day? Is Norv Turner overdue for the unemployment line? All of those questions are valid, and to some degree probably play into the downward spiral of what was once a promising Chargers season.
The Jags on the other hand have been a mess right from the get go. They released David Garrard right from the start of the season, put in Blaine Gabbert, then installed an offense that was as exciting as plain Greek yogurt; you know the type in the dairy aisle, it’s devoid of flavor, except for a tartness that leaves a frown on your face wondering “why the hell am I eating plain freakin’ yogurt???” Well, Jags fans have to wonder no more, as the plain freakin’ yogurt that is Jack Del Rio and his wonderfully exciting “run, run, throw a 3 yard out, punt” offense was sent packing when the ownership changed hands. Thank goodness… it’s not like interim head coach Mel Tucker will be any worse, and hey, maybe Gabbert will actually throw for more than 150 yards in a game!
The Chargers will be coming into this game facing the unknown of the new coaching staff; but one thing that won’t change is the Jaguars play good enough defense to keep most scores low, which means Philip Rivers is likely to have less than stellar passing numbers, including a couple of his 2011 trademark interceptions. I’m not sure if Rivers suddenly developed a case of color blindness, but he has thrown 17 INTs against only 16 TDs, and he has lost four fumbles to boot. This is just the type of game Rivers can give away, as the Jags will probably be motivated on the national stage to show that maybe they just needed a little change to right their ship. If the Chargers lose this game to drop to 4-8 on the year, one has to wonder if some long-overdue change will be coming for Norv and his crew as well.
For the Chargers other offensive weapons, this is an odd week game, so Vincent Jackson should actually show up and play well. Mark it down… after monster games in Weeks 9 and 11 Jackson followed those up with stinkers, so this being Week 13 we’re looking to cash in on the V-Jax roller coaster. Of course, Week 14, when many fantasy playoffs start, Jackson should be on schedule to disappear along with his owner’s chances of advancing in the post season. Gates on the other hand has been very consistent since he’s been healthy; usually between 50 and 70 yards, along with a touchdown in most contests. No reason to think he can’t get those numbers in this game, but it’s just too bad 70 yards or so seems to be his ceiling these days.
One constant for the Jaguars has been the play of Maurice Jones-Drew. The dude just keeps chugging along, collecting over 100 total yards in 7 of 11 contests and averaging a score every other game or so. This with defenses dedicating almost all of their effort to stopping him, since no one fears a 300 and 3 game from the likes of Gabbert, unless you get to total three game stat lines together… and you’d still have to round up. The Jaguars will probably continue to feed Jones-Drew with the new coaching staff and play calling, but don’t be surprised if they get a little chippy and take a few shots deep; Gabbert has proven in college he has the arm for it, it’s just that Del Rio seems to have a severe allergic reaction to passing the football. No matter, it’s a new day and a new way for the Jaguars… hopefully, for all of our sakes who are going to punish ourselves by watching this game.
WR Vincent Jackson, TE Antonio Gates, RB Maurice Jones-Drew
Middle of the Road:
QB Philip Rivers, RB Ryan Mathews, WR Vincent Brown, TE Marcedes Lewis
RB Mike Tolbert, WR Malcom Floyd (if he plays), QB Blaine Gabbert, WR Jason Hill, WR Mike Thomas