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Los Angeles Chargers vs. New York Jets Point Spread - Pick

Los Angeles Chargers (7-7 SU, 7-6-1 ATS) vs. New York Jets (5-9 SU, 8-5-1 ATS)
Week 16 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, December 24, 2017 at 1PM EST
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey
TV: CBS

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: LAC -7/NYJ +7
Over/Under Total: 42.5

The Los Angeles Chargers take on the New York Jets on Sunday at MetLife Stadium in week 16 action from East Rutherford. For the Chargers, their season was on the upswing and as is normally the case with the Chargers, increased expectations were met with poor results, as they were banged around in a 30-13 loss at Arrowhead in a game they needed to have. Now, the Chiefs have to win just one of their last two games to sew up the AFC West, leaving the Chargers in a position where they have to win out and just hope for the best in a crowded AFC wild-card picture. The Jets lost again on Sunday in a 31-19 road-loss to the Saints. They did cover the spread and have been pretty good in that regard this season. Can they get it done at home this week? If the Chargers play like they did last week, it's not out of the question.

The Chargers entered last Saturday's game with 7 wins in their last 9 games, with 4 straight wins. Granted, the Chiefs had righted the ship the week before with a big win over Oakland, but for the Chargers to not be able to so much as give the Chiefs a sweat in that game was hard to watch. Philip Rivers, on a run of strong performances, fell short and threw three picks. The defense was not able to either be particularly stout or make big plays. All the things they were doing to get back on the right track just vanished on Saturday night. It was a moment of truth and the Chargers came up way short. It might be hard to spin out of that and forge a strong finish to the season, but the Chargers might start playing well again with the eyes off them, as is their wont.

Getting this Chargers' offense on the right track was a big part of the Chargers going 7-2 in their last 9 games entering last week's contest. Rivers, in particular, was tremendous over the past month, running this offense smoothly and connecting well with his playmakers, namely red-hot receiver Keenan Allen, who left the game with a back injury. On Saturday, Rivers was a lukewarm 20-for-36 with three picks. RB Melvin Gordon had a good game, with 78 yards on the ground with a TD and 91 yards receiving. But no one else was really big on the day and the mistakes were too numerous to overcome. There were the three Rivers picks and an Austin Ekeler fumble with the Chargers driving and having a chance to climb back into the game. An offensive line that had improved over the course of the season was pushed back and couldn't protect Rivers that well. All told, every aspect of the offense sagged on Saturday in the team's most-important game of the season.

The Chargers' defense also found a strange time to have a bad game on Saturday against the Chiefs. The 30 points they allowed was a season-high. Their stoutness and ability to make big plays were not on display. Melvin Ingram had a sack, but Alex Smith was mostly able to work with a clean pocket. All season, the Chargers have struggled against the run, but they were really exploitable against Kansas City. And some of that falls on Brandon Mebane and Corey Liuget (out), who have not stopped the run well this season at all. They have a great secondary, with a blossoming pass-rush, but on Sunday, they were just out there taking up space. And while it was a difficult spot in a tough place to play, Saturday was a definite letdown for a unit that had been playing tremendously of late.

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The Jets weren't so awful on Sunday, putting up a respectable effort with an inexperienced backup QB against a good Saints team on the road. It hasn't been a successful season for the Jets, but their 8-5-1 ATS record attests to a certain overachieving element they have going for them. With backup QB Bryce Petty behind center and having looked ragged in his limited time, Saints backers were licking their chops last week, even with the jumbo spread. With 7 losses in their last nine games after a surprising 3-2 start, the Jets might not be winning, but on given weeks, they can be quite surprising. They have covered the spread at home all but once this season.

The Jets' offense is really in tatters. It started the season that way and got worse, especially with surprisingly-effective Josh McCown being lost for the season. The backup situation is not a great one, with Bryce Petty having failed to show much promise yet in his time in the league. On Sunday, he was 19-for-39 for 179 yards, a TD, and a pair of interceptions. But it's not an ideal situation, with a bare cast of playmakers on this side of the ball that makes it hard to keep pace. A run-game with Bilal Powell and waning Matt Forte is OK in spots, but not overly-inspiring as a whole. The receiver crew stars Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse, along with whoever steps up on a given week. On Sunday, it was rookie back Elijah McGuire, who led the team in receiving, a damning indictment on the state of the Jets' aerial attack. But looking at their offense on paper would suggest they are horrible and they're considerably better than that, ranked 20th in scoring, which is amazing in its own way.

The Jets' defense isn't terrible, but they haven't really been carrying their load over the course of the last handful of games. They are consistently substandard and only struggling offenses have been kept in-check by this group. At home, they haven't been much better. Damario Davis, Darron Lee, and Jordan Jenkins are a nice trio of linebackers. There is nothing special about the secondary and the once-vaunted Jets' front has become a team liability.

We'll see how the Chargers come out for this game. After working like dogs to get the ship righted, they went from having a shot to take over the division to a team where a lot of stars need to line up to get them into the postseason. It has to be tough to go from a game like that to a faraway road trip where a path to the postseason is riddled with problems. But the Chargers have a way of performing better when the hype dies down. When people expect it to happen, it doesn't work with the Chargers. I see them getting it done this week against the Jets.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Los Angeles Chargers minus 7 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet the Chargers vs. Jets from your sofa by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 50% sign-up bonus!

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