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Jets vs. Chargers preview

Philip Rivers is only three completions away from reaching 4,124 in his career, which would surpass Hall-of-Famer John Elway for eighth in NFL history.

Todd Bowles is impressed by Chargers quarterback Philip

Todd Bowles is impressed by Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. Photo Credit: AP / Denis Poroy

RIVERS STILL GOING STRONG

Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers still is going strong at the age of 36. Rivers was named to his seventh Pro Bowl this week and with good reason. He leads the seventh-best offense and third-best passing offense in the NFL. On the season, Rivers has a 93.8 quarterback rating with 24 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

He needs to keep playing, right?

“I hope for a while,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said. “The way he’s looked at times this year, he’s in great shape. Boy, he’s been a big help for us offensively, like a coach on the field. He’s very demanding, he helps his teammates, and his teammates respect him. That’s all you can ask of a quarterback.”

Rivers is only three completions away from reaching 4,124 in his career, which would surpass Hall-of-Famer John Elway for eighth in NFL history. Rivers also is only 162 passing yards short of 4,000 for the season. If that occurs, he would be the fourth quarterback to hit 4,000 passing yards in a single season at least nine times. Rivers would join Peyton Manning (14), Drew Brees (11) and Tom Brady (nine) as the others.

A Hall-of-Fame career, no doubt.

“He’s probably one of the smartest quarterbacks that I’ve ever faced or played against, from Arizona and a few other teams,” Todd Bowles said. “Highly intelligent, highly accurate. Studies his butt off and he plays the game the way it’s supposed to be played.”

YOUNG PLAYERS LEARNING TO FINISH

The Jets have 10 rookies and 18 players with fewer than three-years of experience. And after the Jets were eliminated from postseason contention last week with their loss to the Saints, it’s conceivable that younger players will have a harder time focusing on the remaining two games.

“If you didn’t have a group of veteran guys to relay that message then yeah it would be [hard],” running back Matt Forte said. “We don’t let that standard slip, you’re a professional, this is your job [and] although our goal was not reached this year, it don’t mean you lay down and quit. You still have a job to do for these next two games.”

The Jets host San Diego Sunday and finish the regular season at New England.

JUST STAY CALM

In his first NFL start of the season, quarterback Bryce Petty seemed a little jittery. His footwork was off and his throws were rushed. The excitement of playing, on the road no less, probably had Petty a little juiced up.

Todd Bowles said Petty just needed to settle down on some throws and if that happens, maybe his accuracy will improve. In the loss to the Saints last week, Petty completed just 19 of 39 passes for 179 yards with two interceptions and one touchdown.

“That’s the process of it,” he said. “That’s the growing and understanding, and I think that from last year, those four starts that I had, to this year. I felt so much more calm and relaxed going into [Saints] game just because I knew what to expect and what was expected of me, [but also] just with preparation of [the] game plan and things like that. I was really confident with my play and understanding on each play what was expected of me, so that’ll continue to grow as I get better and keep getting in there.”

It’s no guarantee Petty will succeed at home against the Chargers. In three career home starts, Petty is 0-3 with a 53.7 percent completion percentage with three touchdowns and five interceptions. Of course, those starts came last season. But with a year of seasoning, maybe Petty’s game will improve at MetLife Stadium.

“I think the footwork is just the big thing, and a lot of that is kind of going back to old habits, things that are easy to drop when you’re out there doing individual [drills] throwing with receivers,” Petty said. “But then once you get in live action your mind is thinking about other things other than footwork or what not. You kind of lose sight of the little details.”

TOUCHDOWN WATCHER

It probably doesn’t matter how many touchdowns are scored in Sunday’s game, Jets offensive coordinator John Morton is going to watch it again and again and again. Morton said he’s watched every touchdown pass and run in the NFL since he’s been a coach. Morton’s objective is to take notes on how the play was executed and if possible incorporate the play into his West Coast offense.

“Every single year, the top touchdown pass is when a quarterback scrambles and they make a play,” Morton said. “You have to practice those things, and we talked about it and we do that. We do that every once in a while.”

MAGIC NUMBERS

3

Interceptions by Jets defensive linemen this season. Kony Ealy (Week 4), Muhammad Wilkerson (Week 7) and Leonard Williams (Week 15) have picked off passes.

11

Franchise record for sacks by the Chargers the last time they played in New York. In 2012, the Chargers beat the Jets, 21-17.

4

Red zone turnovers forced by the Jets this season, which is third most in the NFL. The 20 takeaways by the Jets have been converted into 47 points.

14-21-1

Jets’ alltime record against the Chargers, who won the last meeting, 31-0, on Oct. 5, 2014, in San Diego

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