The Jets will look to raise their profile from an average 3-3 NFL squad to a playoff contender when they host the AFC West-leading San Diego Chargers (4-1) on Sunday (1 p.m. CBS). With a challenging divisional schedule ahead, the Jets will need to pay attention to the running game in order to climb above .500.
The book on Mathews: The Chargers’ passing attack hasn’t come together with tight end Antonio Gates (foot) on the sideline since Week 1. Philip Rivers has passed regularly to running back Ryan Mathews, who is averaging 13.1 yards per catch. He has sneaky speed and can truck a safety or a linebacker in the open field.
Greene machine: Getting more out of running back Shonn Greene on early downs can make life easier for Mark Sanchez, but the Jets will work the ball to the edges to avoid being predictable. Greene isn’t a big-play threat: Only two of his 93 rushes have gone for more than 12 yards.
The LaDainian factor: Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson built his Hall of Fame career in San Diego, where he gained 12,490 yards with 138 TDs during nine seasons. He needs only one catch to become the fourth NFL back with 600 of them.