Coming off an ugly win over the New York Giants last week, the NY Jets will look to have a much better performance as they square off with the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday Night Football tonight.
The Jets have won their last three games and are looking to make it four in a row against a very high-powered Chargers offense.
Despite the Chargers sitting at 3-4, don't let the record fool you — their offense is about as high-powered as they come. Last week, the Chargers made quick work of the Chicago Bears, winning by a final score of 30-13 on Sunday night.
Austin Ekeler was the team's top rusher and receiver. If the Jets hope to defeat the Chargers, they have to start fast, and they must contain Ekeler.
The NY Jets defense must limit Austin Ekeler on Monday Night Football
Austin Ekeler is one of the top receiving backs in the entire league. Some would even say he is the top receiving back. In the Chargers' last game against the Bears, Ekeler finished with 15 carries for 29 yards. He also led the team in receiving yards with 94 on seven receptions, picking up a touchdown in the process.
Ekeler is lethal on the ground, but his biggest threat is in the air, where he can show off his receiving prowess. He can make opposing teams' defenders miss with ease and break open for big gains. In a way, Ekeler is a security net for Justin Herbert, who doesn't really need one.
D.J. Reed and Sauce Gardner allow the fewest wide receiver targets of any cornerback duo in the NFL. While this is a great stat to have, the Jets defense overall allows the third most running back targets, which could be just as big of an issue playing someone like Ekeler.
The Jets won't win this game if they don't contain Austin Ekeler. The Jets' defense has struggled with running back check-down passes at times this season. That must change this week when playing a team like the Chargers and playing a running back like Ekeler.
Quincy Williams is going to need to have another big game, as his performance will be key as the Jets try to limit Ekeler. For a team that has been destroyed on check-downs and screens all year, the Jets' defense must figure out a way to contain the Chargers' star running back.
In what is surely going to be a battle between two of the top running backs in the league, Breece Hall and Austin Ekeler will decide this game. It won't be an easy feat, but slowing down Ekeler through the air can be done. The Jets must find a way to ensure that happens.