Head coach Norv Turner of the San Diego Chargers argues an intentional grounding call during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Chargers and Jets have had equally disappointing seasons. They just went about them in very different ways.
San Diego lost a ton of players to injuries (especially on the offensive line) and lost a handful of close games by making bad mistakes at the worst possible times, but other than Ryan Mathews pre-season car accident, and the nagging questions about Norv Turner and A.J. Smith's job security, didn't have any off-field drama affecting the on-field performance.
New York has not had many injury issues, but still lost a handful of close games because it's seen enough off-field drama to keep the writers of Days Of Our Lives busy for the next 20 years, and that's just the quarterbacks.
Neither team is going to the playoffs. But they have to play the game anyway, so we might as well have some fun with it. Here are three players to watch.
1) Micheal Spurlock: In the last 11 months, the wide receiver has played in three different offenses (Tampa Bay, San Diego, Jacksonville, then San Diego again). He had his real breakout game two weeks ago in Pittsburgh, where his first five catches resulted in first downs, helping the Chargers to a 34-24 win. Now that Malcom Floyd is out for the year, Spurlock is the default #2 receiver behind Danario Alexander. Since Alexander will be defended by Antonio Cromartie most of the game, Spurlock will need to get open early and often if the Chargers passing game has any chance to get off the ground.
2) Ronnie Brown: He's back from a hamstring injury, and with Mathews gone for the season, in the starting lineup. Brown has been a tremendous threat in the passing game, but not so much taking handoffs. The Jets have the 2nd-best pass defense in the NFL, so the Chargers MUST establish some kind of running threat if they're going to score any points at all.
3) Melvin Ingram: The first round pick has had a disappointing rookie year. Ingram had more sacks in 3 pre-season games than he has in 14 regular season games. New York has Greg McIlroy at quarterback. The 2nd-year player is making his first career NFL start. Interestingly, Ingram and McIlroy know a little bit about each other. McIlroy went to Alabama, Ingram went to South Carolina, a pair of SEC schools. Ingram will need to put pressure on McIlroy to not let him get too comfortable in the pocket. If the Chargers defense can force McIlroy in to a few mistakes, Jets head coach Rex Ryan might go back to Mark Sanchez, and that would be the best decision he could make. For the Chargers.