LA Chargers (10-7) at Jacksonville (9-8)
When: Saturday, January 14th 2023
Where: TIAA Bank Field,
Time: 8:15 ET | TV: NBC
Opening Odds: Los Angeles -2.5/47
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The AFC Playoffs get underway this Saturday night when the Los Angeles Chargers visit the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. This game will feature the postseason debuts of two of the best young quarterbacks in the league – Los Angeles’ Justin Herbert and Jacksonville’s Trevor Lawrence. This is the second meeting of the season between these teams and the first one was one-sided. The Jaguars rolled into L.A. and came out with a dominating 38-10 win as a 7-point underdog. Lawrence passed for 262 yards and three touchdowns, while Jacksonville recorded 151 rushing yards on 36 carries. Herbert threw for 297 yards, one touchdown and one pick. Jacksonville’s win over L.A. was the first time they’ve covered the spread against the Chargers in their last 10 meetings. The Chargers covered in seven of their nine road games this season, and are 5-0 ATS in their last five trips to Jacksonville.
Even though L.A. had the five-seed locked up after Week 17, head coach Brandon Staley decided to play his starters for the majority of the game against the Broncos. Leading receiver Mike Williams left the game with a back contusion, and defensive end Joey Bosa is again dealing with a core-muscle injury. Luckily, early indications say both Williams and Bosa will be fine for this Saturday. The Chargers battled key injuries for most of the season but still averaged a third-best 269.6 passing yards per game behind Herbert and were second in pass attempts per game at 41.8. Williams, Keenan Allen, Joshua Palmer, Austin Ekeler, and Gerald Everett make the offense dangerous. On defense, L.A. allowed the fifth-most rushing yards this season at 145.8 per contest.
Jacksonville won the first meeting easily but that was a long time ago and Herbert was dealing with a rib injury, Allen was out and Bosa didn’t play the whole game. The Chargers are an explosive team and play great on the road. The Jaguars current five-game winning streak came against poor teams – and yes, I count the Cowboys as a poor team right now. I like Herbert over Lawrence.
Pick: Chargers -2