The Chargers (1-4) are early into the Justin Herbert era. The rookie quarterback, taken with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, ranks fourth in the league in passing yards per game (298.8) and 12th in Quarterback Rating. His 73.0 QBR is better than established stars like Deshaun Watson, Matt Ryan, Tom Brady and longtime Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, who is now the starter for the Indianapolis Colts.
The Jaguars (1-5) are probably one year away from their next "era." Second-year QB Gardner Minshew is solid, but popular opinion is that Jacksonville is waiting (tanking?) for next year's draft to get a franchise quarterback like Clemson's Trevor Lawrence.
Both Jacksonville and L.A. are in the bottom-third in the NFL for points scored this season, and the Jaguars are in the bottom-third for points allowed. The Chargers are middle-of-the-pack defensively.
Los Angeles Chargers vs Jacksonville Jaguars Head-To-Head
The Chargers and Jaguars have played each other 11 times in the past. The Chargers lead the all-time series 8-3.
The most recent meeting between the teams was late last season, when the Chargers routed the Jags 45-10 in Jacksonville. The Chargers were led in that game by quarterback Philip Rivers (314 yards, 3 TD's) and running back Austin Ekeler (101 rushing yards, 112 receiving yards). Today, Rivers is playing for the Indianapolis Colts and Ekeler, still in L.A., is on the injured reserve list.
Joey Bosa, who will be on the field for the Chargers on Sunday, had two sacks in last season's win over the Jaguars.
Los Angeles Chargers vs Jacksonville Jaguars Team News
The Chargers will be playing without Ekeler (hamstring, knee) and starting guard Trai Turner (groin). Their banged-up offensive line also has tackle Bryan Bulaga (back) listed as questionable, and tackle Storm Norton (knee) listed as doubtful.
Quarterback Tyrod Taylor is listed as questionable. Taylor was L.A.'s opening day starter, but right before their Week 2 game against the Kansas City Chiefs, he suffered a punctured lung at the hands of the Chargers' medical staff. Rookie QB Justin Herbert filled in for Taylor but has since earned the starting job and won't lose it due to Taylor getting healthy.
The Jaguars won't have tight end Tyler Eifer (neck), linebacker Myles Jack (ankle) and safety Jarrod Wilson (hamstring) on Sunday.
Los Angeles Chargers vs Jacksonville Jaguars Projected Starters
QB: Justin Herbert
RB: Joshua Kelley
WR: Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Jalen Guyton
TE: Hunter Henry
QB: Gardner Minshew
RB: James Robinson, Chris Thompson
WR: DJ Chark, Lavisa Shenault, Keenan Cole
TE: James O'Shaughnessy
Los Angeles Chargers vs Jacksonville Jaguars Prediction
The Chargers are better than their 1-4 record indicates. The Jaguars are pretty much exactly what their 1-5 record indicates.
Herbert has been as good as L.A. could've asked for in his first few games, especially after being thrust into the starting lineup earlier than planned. After lighting up contending teams like the Saints, Chiefs and Buccaneers, there's no reason to believe the rookie won't hang some impressive numbers on the Jaguars.
Even without Ekeler on the field and with injuries across the offensive line, the Chargers shouldn't have much trouble with Jacksonville.
After winning their opener over the Colts in surprising fashion, the Jaguars have lost five in a row -- more like what was expected of them coming into the season. That streak will likely continue this week.
Prediction: Chargers 31, Jaguars 17