Chargers, Jaguars return to playoffs with Herbert, Lawrence
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (10-7) at JACKSONVILLE (9-8)
Saturday, 8:15 p.m. EST, NBC.
FANDUEL SPORTSBOOK NFL LINE: Chargers by 2½.
AGAINST THE SPREAD: Chargers 11-5-1; Jaguars 8-9.
SERIES RECORD: Chargers lead 9-4.
LAST MEETING: Jaguars beat Chargers 38-10 on Sept. 25, 2022, in Los Angeles.
LAST WEEK: Chargers lost at Broncos 31-28; Jaguars beat Titans 20-16.
CHARGERS OFFENSE: OVERALL (8), RUSH (30), PASS (3), SCORING (13).
CHARGERS DEFENSE: OVERALL (20), RUSH (28), PASS (7), SCORING (T21).
JAGUARS OFFENSE: OVERALL (9), RUSH (14), PASS (10), SCORING (10).
JAGUARS DEFENSE: OVERALL (24), RUSH (12), PASS (28), SCORING (12).
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Chargers plus-5; Jaguars plus-5.
CHARGERS PLAYER TO WATCH: QB Justin Herbert is making his playoff debut after finishing second in the league in completions (477) and yards passing (4,739). Herbert’s first win as an NFL starter came against the Jaguars in 2020.
JAGUARS PLAYER TO WATCH: S Rayshawn Jenkins has twice delivered the pivotal play during the team’s five-game winning streak. His strip-sack of Tennessee’s Joshua Dobbs led to Josh Allen’s 37-yard fumble return for a touchdown that was the difference against the Titans. Jenkins also had made a shoestring interception that he returned 52 yards for a score that beat Dallas in overtime last month. Now, Jenkins faces the team that drafted him in the fourth round in 2017 and then let him leave.
KEY MATCHUP: Jaguars’ Travis Etienne versus a defense that ranks next to last in the AFC against the run. Etienne, who finished the regular season with 1,125 yards on the ground, managed just 17 last week while dealing with cramps. He should be able to find some room against the Chargers, who allowed 2,478 yards rushing and 17 TDs in 2022.
INJURIES: Chargers WR Mike Williams was ruled out Friday after missing practice all week. He strained his back at Denver last week while playing in a game that had no effect on the team’s playoff seeding. Jaguars PK Riley Patterson (sore right knee), LS Ross Matiscik (back), RG Brandon Scherff (abdomen) and KR Jamal Agnew (shoulder) have been limited in practice but are expected to play.
SERIES NOTES: The Chargers and Jaguars have never met in the postseason. In fact, they’ve only been in the playoffs at the same time once before, in 2007. They lost to undefeated New England in consecutive weeks. ... In eight of the past 10 meetings, the winner has scored at least 31 points.
STATS AND STUFF: The Chargers are in the playoffs for the first time since 2018. This is Brandon Staley’s first postseason appearance as a head coach. ... The Chargers have a 6-2 record in the wild-card round. ... The Chargers are 6-1 in the Eastern time zone the past two years. ... Los Angeles was second in the league during the regular season in yards after the catch (2,542) and fourth-down conversions (15). They were fourth with 38 drives of at least 10 plays. ... RB Austin Ekeler led the league with 18 scrimmage touchdowns. His 107 receptions were tied for fifth in the league and a team record. ... WR Keenan Allen has a league-leading 50 receptions over the last six games. ...The Chargers were the first team in league history to have six players with at least 500 yards receiving and three TDs. ... LB Khalil Mack led the Chargers with eight sacks. ... LB Joey Bosa has 3½ sacks in four games versus the Jaguars. ... Jacksonville has won five in a row and is in the playoffs for the first time since 2017. ... Coach Doug Pederson’s team is the fifth to win its division after having the worst record the previous season and first since Miami in 2008. ... The Jaguars are hosting a postseason game for just the fifth time in franchise history. They are 3-1 in the previous four. ... Jacksonville was one of two NFL teams to have three players with 70 or more receptions. WR Christian Kirk (84 for 1,108 yards), WR Zay Jones (82 for 823 yards) and TE Evan Engram (73 for 766 yards) and fell just short of becoming the second trio in league history to have three newcomers top 800 yards receiving. ... At 23, Trevor Lawrence is the youngest QB in the postseason. He set a franchise record for completions (602). He also has five turnovers in his last four games. ... Jaguars LB Foye Oluokun led the NFL with 184 tackles.
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