The Jacksonville Jaguars defeated the Tennessee Titans to win the AFC South on Saturday night and secure the fourth seed in the AFC playoff picture. Heading into Sunday's action, the LA Chargers are the fifth seed and on a collision course for a Week 3 rematch.
While the Jags beat the Bolts earlier in the season, the Chargers are better off securing the fifth seed as they would avoid playing the Cincinnati Bengals in the first round of the playoffs. A Baltimore loss or Chargers win can get the job done.
Jacksonville may have had the Chargers' number early this season but these are two completely different teams than they were in September with completely different circumstances. As far as we are concerned, there are two massive pros (and well as a con) to playing the Jaguars instead of the Titans in round one.
2 pros and 1 con of the Chargers playing the Jaguars:
Pro: The Jaguars have a worse interior defensive line than the Titans
Even though the LA Chargers got the win over the Titans in Week 15, it was an ugly game in which the offense could not get going. The really good interior pass rush of the Titans was getting home against the Chargers' offensive line, limiting Justin Herbert and stopping the run game in the process.
In terms of overall numbers, the Jaguars and Titans are pretty similar when it comes to their pass rush. According to Pro Football Focus, the Titans finished with 317 quarterback pressures while the Jaguars finished with 310. Pretty much identical. However, the Jaguars' pressure comes off the edge, not in the interior.
While the Bolts definitely cannot sleep on the outside pressure the Jaguars can produce, it is more manageable for the team to operate its offense with said pressure than if they are getting mauled in the middle. Justin Herbert has some of the best pocket presence in the league and is particularly great in stepping up to miss outside pressure. If Rashawn Slater returns, the Chargers will also have a huge boost at left tackle.
This also means the Chargers can have an easier time running the ball, which is huge for the offense. Jacksonville has around a league-average run defense and if the team can get Austin Ekeler and Joshua Kelley going early it will make a huge difference.