The San Diego Chargers (0-1) are expected to deal with another opponent on Sunday that the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0) have struggled with over the past few years – a blackout. Not only do the Chargers (-7 @ Diamond Sportsbook) have to try to bounce back from a disappointing 21-14 loss at Kansas City on Monday night, but they are facing their first blacked out game at Qualcomm Stadium since 2004.
The Jaguars saw seven of their eight home games last season blacked out but played inspired in front of a sell-out crowd last week, knocking off another AFC West foe (Denver), 21-14. Most of that crowd came out to see Broncos rookie quarterback Tim Tebow, who is a Jacksonville native and starred at Florida. Tebow ran into a very motivated defense and carried the ball twice for only two yards. This week, Jacksonville will try to contain San Diego rookie running back Ryan Mathews after he rushed for 75 yards on 19 carries in his debut. The Jaguars held Denver to 89 rushing yards on 25 carries and will look to hold Mathews in check in his first home game.
The Chargers are hoping to avoid an 0-2 start for the second straight year under head coach Norv Turner, who has led them to a 2-3 mark to open the season each of the last three years despite going on to win the division each time. They struggled in the rain against the Chiefs, most notably quarterback Philip Rivers, who had a difficult time finding the right receiver without holdout Vincent Jackson on the field. Rivers did connect with tight end Antonio Gates on the first touchdown of the game, and wide receiver Legedu Naaneee also stepped up in Jackson’s absence by catching five passes for 110 yards, including a 59-yard touchdown.
Jacksonville is 2-1 straight-up and against the spread in three all-time meetings with San Diego, and the OVER has gone 2-0-1 in those games. The OVER is also 9-2 in the last 11 games for the Chargers in September, proving their defense does not peak until late in the year.