The Los Angeles Chargers without Justin Herbert might be in for a third week showdown with the Jacksonville Jaguars, with him putting him in the game as more of a risk than he initially thought likely to set them up for an early and costly fall into the Asian qualifying race.
Herbert, who suffered and played through a rib cartilage fracture in the Chargers’ Week 2 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, was listed as suspect in Los Angeles’ final injury report ahead of the Jaguars’ visit to SoFi Stadium.
“That’s a decision we have two more days,” Herbert, on NFL.com, said about the prospect of playing against Jacksonville. That decision will be made on Sunday.”
If Herbert was healthy to start, it stands to reason that he should be able to channel the attack into a winning performance given some of the throws he made against Kansas City while injured, including a 35-yard shot to DeAndre Carter that set up the final touchdown for Chargers defeat 27-24.
But if Herbert is unable to go and the Charger has to turn to Chase Daniel, it’s a recipe for upset against a Jaguar team that saw an encouraging start from Trevor Lawrence and was effective on both sides of the ball.
Within two weeks, Lawrence ranked fourth in completion percentage and projected points for Ben Baldwin on a composite scale above expectations, per rbsdm.com.
He leads an offensive that ranks ninth in the Football Outsiders DVOA and Jacksonville’s success on that metric is even more impressive in defense. The Jags defense is third in the DVOA behind the Buffalo Bills and Tampa Bay Buccaneers and ahead of the San Francisco 49ers.
Lawrence establishes a strong relationship with the playmakers that the Jaguars have given lucrative off-season contracts, while the Jaguars defense plays on a similar level to teams established as some of the best in the NFL on this side of the ball. .
After losing ground in the division to the Chiefs with the loss at Arrowhead, the Chargers couldn’t afford another loss in the conference, even at this early stage, if they really wanted a challenge for the West Asian title.
However, with Herbert out and likely to miss a game versus a team whose early performances indicate that they are poised to make big strides this year, the Chargers could be ready for an upset that could leave them with an uphill battle to meet the lofty expectations of many. Had them in 2022.