With nothing left to play for but pride, the 6-8 Jets ready for the 5-9 Chargers in a game that is about as ho-hum as it gets. Monday night’s debacle of a loss at the Titans knocked the Jets out of the playoff picture, but the team is hoping to finish strong.
Three things to watch for …
1. Protect the ball
The reason the Jets lost to the Titans on Monday night stems yet again from giving the ball away. The offense turned the ball over five times. Quarterback Mark Sanchez was the biggest culprit with four interceptions and a botched fumble exchange being the biggest reason he will carry a clipboard on Sunday.
“I think our big thing is turning the football over. If you can point at one thing that we have to do better as a football team and what Mark has to do as a quarterback, that’s the thing that I would look at,” head coach Rex Ryan said. “We have to protect the football. That’s the truth.”
The Jets are currently No. 12 in the AFC with a minus-11 turnover ratio.
2. Not so super Chargers
The Chargers went on the road two weeks ago and beat Pittsburgh in one of the toughest environments in the NFL. For an encore, they returned home this past Sunday and laid an egg, losing 31-7 to an underwhelming Panthers team. San Diego has won twice in their last 10 games and it looks like this team has quit under lame duck head coach Norv Turner.
“Any time you go walk onto the field, there is something to play for. There are a lot of guys that are trying to establish themselves as guys that are going to have careers in the National Football League, a lot of guys that want to continue their careers in the NFL,” Turner said. “Every time you go out there and play you are being evaluated. You might be evaluated by someone in this building or evaluated by someone who is a prospective team that might want to sign you in the future. I think it is in everyone’s interest to get excited about playing and go play at the best level you can.”
3. The pow-pow Powell
One of those eying next year as the regular season closes out is Bilal Powell, the Jets running back who has stepped up in recent weeks. Powell didn’t play much last year, his rookie season, but he’s proven to be an effective change of pace back as his carries have gone up as the season has worn on. Over the last five games, Powell has averaged 12 carries a game. In the first five games of the season he had just 7.5 carries per game. A shoulder injury slowed him down on Monday night but Powell told Metro, “I’m feeling fine this week, no problems.” Look for Powell, if healthy, to get more touches again this week.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.