So much attention is paid to stopping the Chargers’ passing attack, but the Jets also know they need to slow down the Chargers’ running game. Sure, San Diego may have the 31st-ranked rushing offense in the NFL at 88.9 yards per game and an NFL-worst 3.3 yards per carry. But with the talent the Chargers have in their backfield, the Jets know they can’t allow big plays.

“You got (Darren) Sproles and LaDainian (Tomlinson), they’re capable backs,” defensive end Shaun Ellis said. “They can run the ball. We just have to play the run sound and not let up big plays in the running game. We have to tackle, stay in our gaps and make the tackle.”

Ellis said last week against the Cincinnati Bengals, there were a number of plays when defensive players “jumped inside” when they should have stayed outside on containment. That allowed Cedric Benson to pick up extra yardage. With the Chargers’ backs and the speed they have, those plays could easily turn into touchdowns.

The Jets also have to pay attention to Sproles and Tomlinson as targets in the passing game. And with two limping linebackers in the middle – both Bart Scott and David Harris have ankle injuries, although they both practiced on Friday – that could be where the Chargers are most dangerous.

“They often try to be a matchup problem with linebackers in space,” Harris said. “We have to play smart, play to our leverage, play to our help and hopefully we can contain them.”

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Even with the injuries?

“It’s a challenge at 100 percent (healthy) or not,” he said. “They’re two great backs and everybody knows that.”

Tomlinson certainly was a great back, but in recent years that status has dwindled a bit. Ellis, in his 10th year in the NFL, said he hasn’t seen any slip in performance or ability.

“He’s still hitting the hole, hitting it hard,” Ellis said. “I think they’ve just been more dedicated to the pass than in the past. In the past they were a power run team, now they’re taking more of a passing approach. But they’re still running the ball pretty effectively.”

Not statistically. And the Jets want to keep it that way.