The LA Chargers and Jacksonville Jaguars will play their first playoff game since 2018 and 2017, respectively, and one of the two teams will move on to the AFC Divisional Round. The other will have nothing left but a broken playoff drought to show for the 2022 season.
This is one of the most interesting Wild Card Round matchups of the week, especially with Mike Williams not playing with a back fracture. On paper the Chargers are the better team (hence why they are favored), but the Jaguars are at home and beat up on the Chargers earlier this season.
We all know how important the stars are in every football matchup but in this game, it will be the non-stars that will ultimately determine the outcome.
3 most important non-stars that will determine the Chargers-Jaguars outcome:
1. Joshua Palmer
Joshua Palmer has to step up now that Mike Williams is not playing and turn in a performance similar to earlier in the season when Williams was out with an ankle injury. We have seen Palmer step up and become a critical component of this offense and have 100-yard games. We also have seen when Palmer struggles and reminds us that he is not Mike Williams.
Keenan Allen is going to do his thing and is going to be incredibly important on third and fourth downs but if this offense is going to be successful they are going to need to get Palmer going to move the ball down field.
The Jaguars struggled against 12 personnel (one running back, two tight ends) this season so we should see Palmer play just about every snap out there with Allen, Donald Parham and Gerald Everett. This will give him plenty of chances to make a difference for the Bolts.
The focus for the Jaguars has to be to keep Palmer from getting going and having a good game. Obviously, they want to slow down Allen but if they let Allen get hit eight catches for 90 yards and shut down Palmer then they should be in fine shape.