JACKSONVILLE – Each week during the 2022 season, Jaguars "experts" – Tony Boselli, Frank Frangie, Jeff Lageman, Brent Martineau, John Oehser, Brian Sexton, J.P. Shadrick and Ashlyn Sullivan – will analyze the following day's Jaguars matchup.
Up this week:
The Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif.
Tony Boselli, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars left tackle
- The Jaguars will win if:They start fast and have a very effective running game. The Chargers have a great pass rush with Mack and Bosa coming off the edges. The Jaguars getting behind the sticks – and behind on the scoreboard – early will allow Bosa and Mack to pin their ears back and get after Lawrence. The Jaguars need big games from both offensive tackles. Defensively, they must have the same physicality up front as last week. Hubert has banged-up ribs and the Jaguars' pass rush needs to test them.
- The Chargers will win if: They have some balance on offense and defensively they make the Jaguars one-dimensional by taking away the run. The Chargers have not been great running the ball in either of their first two games. They need to get Eckler involved in both the run and pass; that is when the Chargers are most dangerous offensively. On the other side of the ball, if they can force the Jaguars in obvious pass situations that will allow them to unleash their great pass rush..
- As Boselli sees it:The Jaguars have never won in LA County and they have been awful on the West Coast, but the motto this week has been "so what, now what." I think the Jaguars will build on last week's dominating performance and get a big win against a beat-up Chargers team: Jaguars 27, Chargers 24.
Frank Frangie, Radio Voice of the Jaguars
- The Jaguars will win if: They protect like they did against the Colts. That was such a big part of that win. I believe Jaguars receivers will be open this year — in large part because of Pederson's play-calling, and because the Jaguars now have good receivers. They must protect against very good edge rushers from the Chargers. The Jags also must harass Herbert, who is struggling with sore ribs and won't likely be as mobile as normal.
- The Chargers will win if: They win the pass-rush battle against the Jaguars' offensive front. They also must get Ekeler going; even if Herbert plays, he could be limited. And there is no guarantee the Chargers will have Allen, who also is beat up a bit.
- As Frangie sees it: This Jaguars team is different from the team that lost so many consecutive road games and struggled so mightily on the West Coast. It's hard to pick a Jaguars win here because the Chargers are so good. But I like these Jaguars. They will be in it. I see a very close, fourth-quarter game.
Jeff Lageman, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars defensive end
- The Jaguars will win if: They run effectively with Robinson and Etienne. The Chargers have somewhat of an all-star cast on the defensive side of the ball with Bosa, Mack, safety Derwin James, and cornerback J.C. Jackson. Being the more physical team can negate star power and take pressure off Lawrence and his offensive tackles, a tandem that will be blocking one of the NFL's best edge combinations.
- The Chargers will win if: Herbert's rib is not a detriment to his performance and Ekeler is a factor in both the running and passing game. Herbert is one of the best young passers in the game and it will be interesting to see if he has his full arsenal at the receiver position since Allen's hamstring kept him out of the lineup last Thursday. Ekeler has averaged 70 catches a season over the last three years and is more than just a "running" back.
- As Lageman sees it: This game is a marquee matchup of two young quarterbacks that you hope is one that will be featured for years to come along the lines of Tom Brady-Peyton Manning. Lawrence had his best game as a pro last week and you hope the momentum carries to the west coast, where the Jaguars historically have not had much success. Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson's mantra this week to his team after getting a rare shutout victory has been "so what … now what?" to get his team focused on the next opportunity in a week-to-week league. A long travel trip out west can also provide a longer celebration return!
Brent Martineau, Action Sports Jax Sports Director
- The Jaguars will win if: They run the ball effectively with running backs James Robinson and Travis Etienne Jr. This will be a different plan than last week, but the same idea should exist. The Jaguars want to sustain longer drives to keep the ball from the Chargers' offense and the Chargers' defense is allowing 5.1 yards per carry against the run. The run could help neutralize a dangerous pass rush for the Chargers.
- The Chargers will win if: They win the battles on the edge. It's a fun matchup to watch with Taylor and Robinson playing well, and going up against Bosa and Mack. On the other side, the Chargers' tackles will try to neutralize the fast start from Jaguars outside linebackers Josh Allen and Travon Walker. If the Chargers win those battles, they will win the game.
- As Martineau sees it: As much as the narrative about the west-coast futility exists with the Jaguars, they actually won in California against the Raiders in 2019. The Jags have had troubles on the road in general. I don't think Herbert is 100 percent and Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen might not play. Let's drink some teal-colored Kool-Aid while we can and pick an upset: A 24-23 Jaguars win.
John Oehser, jaguars.com senior writer
- The Jaguars will win if: They pressure Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert defensively and run effectively offensively. Herbert is one of the NFL's best young quarterbacks and the Jaguars won't shut him down completely. But if they pressure him into a key mistake or two, they can be in it in the second half. The Jaguars must run offensively to help keep Bosa and Mack from wrecking the game.
- The Chargers will win if: They protect the ball and give Herbert time. The young Jaguars lead the NFL in takeaway-giveaway at plus-five. If the Jaguars win this statistic Sunday, they have a chance. If it's even, the Chargers are probably too much offensively. If Herbert has time to throw, the Chargers could score enough to get too far ahead too early.
- As Oehser sees it: This is one of the Jaguars' two or three toughest matchups of the season. They're really improved and may have a chance to push to be above .500. But asking them to win on the road against one of the NFL's best teams may be asking too much.
Brian Sexton, jaguars.com senior correspondent
- The Jaguars will win if: They score 35-plus points. The Chargers have some of the NFL's best wide receivers and one of the NFL's best young quarterbacks who can pass with accuracy. They're going to score against anyone they play, so it's too much to say the Jaguars' improved defense will simply shut them down. This is going to be a shootout, and you better show up with your best offensive players loaded and ready to go.
- The Chargers will win if: They pressure quarterback Trevor Lawrence and make him make hurried or errant throws. Chargers pass-rushers Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack can do that, which means the Jaguars' offensive line must be five operating as one. In particular, left tackle Cam Robinson and right tackle Jawaan Taylor must play their best to keep Lawrence on schedule.
- As Sexton sees it: The Chargers are a few years ahead of the Jaguars and ready to contend in the AFC. The Jaguars look like they have the roster and coaching staff to get there but obviously need more time. I think the Chargers win this one.
J.P. Shadrick, jaguars.com senior reporter
- The Jaguars will win if: They avoid third-and-long situations, or third downs altogether. Success on first and second down will give the Jaguars the best opportunity to slow the pass rush of Mack and Bosa. Get to third-and-7 or longer Sunday consistently, and that could turn into a long afternoon. Running success early would help set the tone.
- The Chargers will win if: Herbert has time in the pocket to work the ball to his different receivers, or to running back Austin Ekeler. All of Ekeler's three career scores against the Jaguars are in the passing game, and that can be a problem for the Jaguars' defense if everything else is covered. Rookie inside linebacker Devin Lloyd could be the key to the Jaguars' defense trying to keep up with Ekeler.
- As Shadrick sees it: It's a long road trip and it's a talented opponent with a great quarterback. On the flip side, this Jaguars team feels connected early, and it's a talented Jaguars team with a great quarterback. This should be a great game, especially if Herbert plays at a high level. If he doesn't, then it should be a great day for the Jaguars to send a message to the rest of the NFL.
Ashlyn Sullivan, Jaguars team reporter
- The Jaguars will win if: The turnovers keep going. The Jaguars are tied for first in the NFL with five interceptions in two weeks; the defense must give the Jaguars' offense multiple extra possessions to win this game. The Chargers are one of the most talented teams in the NFL. Talking to Los Angeles media this week, there is a clear expectation the Chargers will make a serious push for the Super Bowl this season. The Jaguars are going to have to score thirty points at least to win this game; the highest Lawrence has scored in the NFL is 26.
- The Chargers will win if: Herbert and Allen play to somewhat their full ability. Both are questionable going into Sunday. I don't see how the Chargers don't roll Herbert out there with protection for that rib injury and hope for the best; they have already lost a game this season and cannot risk losing this one. Even with Allen and Herbert not being 100 percent, that duo is dangerous and can make you look silly. It would be a huge break for the Jaguars if neither plays.
- As Sullivan sees it: There are two different tracks to this game for me. Is Herbert playing or not? If he doesn't play – or even if he does and the Jaguars' pass rush can put that fear in him – I think Jacksonville has a good chance to win. If Herbert can deliver like he normally does, then I think L.A. is just simply more talented than the Jaguars at this point and will win the game. The biggest thing to focus on: if the Jaguars can keep this game competitive in the fourth quarter, that would show how far the Jaguars have come in a season. For last season's Jaguars, this would not have been a competitive game.