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Sep
21
2008

Must-Wins, More Injuries and History

Gut-check time.

Many around the NFL were ready to crown the Jets the next Beast of the AFC East after Tom Brady went down, but last week's loss at home to the Patriots put a real damper on that talk.

Now the 1-1 Jets will try and show a national audience that they do have the stuff to be considered contenders against a San Diego team that should be frothing at the mouth.

Brett Favre called Monday Night's tilt a "must-win" game and the media kinda ran with it (surprise, surprise).  Just drummed up talk used to hype up a Week 3 clash?  Maybe, but Favre does have a point.  A loss would drop the Green and White to 1-2 on the year and cast some serious doubt into everyone's mind.  Sure, a 1-2 mark isn't a death sentence and the schedule eases up a bit in the next few weeks, but if the Jets want to be taken seriously then they have to beat teams considered to be in the upper echelon of the league.

One thing is for sure, it's a must-win for the Chargers.  Teams have overcome 0-3 starts before, but it's not something any squad wants to do.  The NFL schedule is grueling and no team wants to play catch-up.  And if the Bolts drop another close game, it could be the death knell to their chances this year.

Looks like Ben Graham put a little voodoo curse on the Jets before he left.  Newly acquired punter Reggie Hodges landed on the injured list with a thigh injury.  Don't these guys stretch before practice?  Anyway, the Jets also signed Waylon Prather last week to the practice squad and he'll get the call if Hodges can't go. 

Speaking of injuries, LaDainian Tomlinson is still listed as questionable for Monday's game with an injured right toe.  LT practiced on Saturday and will probably see some action against the Gotham Green.  How much and how effective he can be are the real questions.  Also, all-around pain-in-the-ass Darren Sproles was listed as probable with a hamstring injury.  I doubt the injury is severe, but it could give the Jets D a big boost if he's not 100%.

And here are three fun facts regarding the Jets-Chargers matchup.
  • The Green and White hold an 11-18-1 all-time record against the Chargers.   
  • Brett Favre is 9-1 on the road all-time against California teams.
  • The road team has won the last five games in this series.
Wasn't that fun?

If history has taught us anything (and it hasn't), it's that Jets-Chargers games are very unpredictable.  The Jets marched into San Diego in the 2004 wild card game and weren't given a chance.  They walked out with a 20-17 overtime win.  In 2002, newly anointed starter Chad Pennington led the 2-5 Jets into San Diego against the 6-1 Chargers and smoked them 44-13.  Strange stuff happens when these teams get together and the Jets seem to come out on top when they are road underdogs.

The good people at mvn.com asked me to represent the Jets in their MVN Outsider blog.  I'll put the link to my answers on three questions posed to me about Monday Night's game when it goes up (and here it is).  Anthony and the boys do a great job over at Most Valuable Network so if you haven't' already done so, check them out when you get the chance. 

Here's a pretty snazzy Chargers blog if you want to see what the enemy's fans are thinking.

Let's see if the Jets are ready to step up and demand to be noticed in the AFC.
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