This Season's Jets-Chargers Game Is Next Season's AFC Championship Game

This Season's Jets-Chargers Game Is Next Season's AFC Championship Game

A promising 2018 for all.
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This past Sunday, the Jets and Chargers met at the Meadowlands for the first time since 2014, and while both New York and L.A. haven’t been remarkable this season, Sunday’s matchup between the two teams might just be a rough preview of next year’s AFC title game.

Both the Jets and Chargers have immense work to do before they can compete in the upper echelons of the NFL, but if the pieces fall correctly into place, then both teams could hold the top two spots in the AFC as soon as next year. While the Patriots and Steelers have consistently held the American Conference in check for nearly the past decade, teams like the Jaguars and Chiefs have been consistently trending upward over the course of the 2017 season. However, after exceeding expectations this year, both the Chargers and the Jets are only a few steps away from challenging the “Old Guard” and making power moves across the NFL.

In Los Angeles, Philip Rivers has been leading the Chargers to an unexpectedly successful season after starting the year 0-4. Although their star Quarterback just turned 36, Rivers is having one of the best years of his career, posting over 4000 passing yards along with 25 touchdowns. Alongside Rivers, Wide Receiver Keenan Allen and Running Back Melvin Gordon have powered the offense to 8 wins, 2 more than they were projected to win during the preseason, according to FiveThirtyEight; with still one more game to play.

Meanwhile, on the defensive side of the ball, linemen Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram have propelled the Chargers to 5th in the NFL in sacks with a total of 41 over 15 games. Meanwhile, the Chargers secondary ranks 4th in the NFL with 17 interceptions over the course of the season, as Safety Tre Boston and Cornerback Casey Hayward have turned L.A’s defense into formidable opponents for opposing offenses this season. And although the Chargers have looked very solid on both sides of the ball, they are just a few players away from making a deep run at the playoffs and becoming one of the top teams in the NFL in the years to come.

For the Jets, there a few more holes that need to be plugged, but the issues that face New York are easily fixable. The primary struggle facing the Jets is obviously the Quarterback position. While Josh McCown has proven to be a serviceable interim signal-caller, the Jets are desperately lacking a playmaker on the offensive side of the ball. And while the 2018 NFL Draft is the most Quarterback heavy draft in recent memory, the Jets’ front office has proven through Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg that General Manager Mike Maccagnan is lacking an eye for talent when it comes to Quarterbacks. Therefore, it would make the most logical sense to take the Jets’ $100,000,000 in salary cap space and sign Redskins QB Kirk Cousins to a long-term deal.

Cousins has been able to turn mediocre receivers like Jamison Crowder and Josh Doctson into above-average talents. When paired up with actual solid players like Wide Receivers Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse, along with Tight End Austin Seferian-Jenkins, the potential for the success of Cousins in New York seem unlimited. Besides Quarterback, the Jets could use a solid Running Back who could be used in tandem with Bilal Powell out of the backfield. With this logic in mind, it would make sense for the Jets to cut veteran RB Matt Forte and draft Penn State RB Saquon Barkley in the first round of the 2018 Draft and utilize him and Powell in a “one-two punch” scenario, similar to how the New Orleans Saints utilized RB Mark Ingram and RB Alvin Kamara in 2017.

Beyond that, Defensive End Muhammad Wilkerson is expected to be cut from the Jets prior to the 2018 season, meaning that the Jets will need to acquire a solid pass rusher from either Free Agency or the Draft.

With both teams being so close to success, it’s not out of the question to suggest that both the Jets and Chargers could be powerhouses in the years to come and that Sunday’s uninspiring, low-scoring match-up in the Meadowlands was an early prototype for the future of the NFL.

Cover Image Credit: Wikicommons

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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5 Reasons The Eagles Should Be Role Models For All Young Athletes

Go birds, always!!!

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Yeah, it is just football, and they are just one team out of many, but this team is so unique in the fact that all young athletes should look up to this team. As a young athlete, I never had the best role models that taught perseverance and sportsmanship. Sure, there were tons of athletes that were super good and the best, but if 'being the best' is the only advice you have to offer, you are not the best role model.

Other than my one game in our high school's powder puff game, I have very little experience with football, but even taking football away from the Eagles, they still shine through with so many reasons as to why they are the best role models for young athletes.

1. They never give up

Who would have ever thought that they would have gotten into playoffs? Not only get in, but then move to the next round. They truly started each game with a clean slate and a positive mindset. Not even just starting games on clean slates, but also each play, they didn't care that the clock was ticking and the odds were not in their favor, they truly gave their all, 100% of the time.

2. They are each other's biggest fans

This can truly just be summarized by Nick Foles consoling Alshon Jeffery after the final play in the Saints game. I wish growing up that I could have seen that kind of remarkable sportsmanship. They put their egos aside and just play the game that they love.

3. They love what they do

It is so clear that everyone there wants to be there, not for the fame or the money, but they genuinely love the game and their team. Growing up on sports teams, there were always kids who were forced there and hated it, but the Eagles love the opportunity they have and truly seize every moment.

4. Doug Pederson is the type of coach every athlete deserves

Pederson is the type of coach that truly loves his job. Of course, he loves the wins, as anyone would, but he also loves any opportunity to learn and grow as a team, which makes him one of the best coaches ever. He talks to his athletes, he lets the team weigh in on decisions and takes their feedback and will even readjust his plan if the players have a different idea.

5. They are proud to represent Philly

They love their team and they love their city. Too often young athletes are just too obsessed with the game and miss out on who or what they are representing. Too often you will hear high school athletes say they hate their school, then why play on a sports team representing your school? The Eagles teach athletes what it means to have pride.

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