I spent Friday afternoon putting up the kids’ Christmas tree. Was this even a thing when we were kids? I don’t remember having a separate tree with our ornaments on it. Anyway, it’s nice for getting all sorts of goofy ornaments and for putting that Joe Montana Notre Dame action figure ornament that isn’t allowed on the “fancy” tree, and the Mizzou helmet, and the Spider-Man. Did I mention it was for the kids?
Anyway, talking about ornaments is better than this matchup. I should have saved it for tonight. If you haven’t done so yet, might be a good night to work on that mantle with the game in the background.
The 4-7 Chargers travel to the 3-8 Jaguars in the lame duck bowl, except Jack Del Rio didn’t quite make it here, as Mel Tucker is the interim coach. San Diego has done what they have done so many times lately and underperformed. Still, with Oakland’s loss, they can get within 2 games with a victory and keep slim hopes that they make a run and save Norv’s job (we can all dream, right?).
For Jacksonville, the defense has played really well but has been racked with injuries lately. The rush defense suffers without tackle Terrance Knighton, and Rashean Mathis is a key loss in the secondary. They still acquitted themselves well against Houston in the last game, and I look for a decent effort. They just need something out of the offense.
Blaine Gabbert has struggled, mightily. He is only averaging 5.2 yards per attempt, is completing less than half his passes, and taking sacks almost 10% of the time. Add in the sacks and Gabbert is at 4.1 net yards per attempt, making Jacksonville one of the few teams that can gain more yards by running with Maurice Jones-Drew.
Gabbert’s main issue when I have seen him is that he appears unsettled by the rush. He often fails to set his feet, and gets his eyes down too quickly. He’s got the arm strength, and I think the accuracy if he gets his footwork right, but too often he is feeling pressure and letting it affect his mechanics.
The positive is that the Chargers’ pass rush is non-existent. Tim Tebow had time to paint portraits last game. I expect San Diego to be blitz heavy given Gabbert’s struggles against the rush. Plays will be there. Evaluate whether Gabbert sets that back foot and drives the ball, or whether he floats away too early.
San Diego is favored. Sure, they could come out with a great performance, but I’m done expecting that. I look for a heavy dose of Jones-Drew and for Jacksonville to pull the mild upset.
[photo via Getty]