The Jets want to pound the ball, throw safe passes and keep the chains moving. The objective is to wear down San Diego's defense and keep Philip Rivers & Co. off the field. The former objective is less concerning, as the Jets' offense is nothing to fear. New York is one of just two playoff teams not to rank in the top-half of the league in scoring; the other is the Cincinnati Bengals team that the Jets faced last week.
The more legitimate concern is the ability of Brian Schottenheimer's unit to keep the Chargers' offense off the field. If the Chargers only get seven or eight possessions, they may wind up pressing and making uncharacteristic mistakes.
"We have the utmost confidence in [our defense] that they're going to get the stops that we need to get when we need to get them," LaDainian Tomlinson said.
LB Brandon Siler
When the Jets go to the air, Ron Rivera's group must go into attack mode. Maybe it's Phillips forcing another fumble (he has a franchise record seven forced fumbles this season); perhaps it's Shawne Merriman picking up a sack or two now that he's well rested; or it could even be Antonio Cromartie coming up with an interception, such as the pick-six he had when the Jets came to Qualcomm Stadium last year.
It doesn't matter who puts on the hero hat, but somebody on defense has to step and force the Jets into a costly, negative play.
Given the Chargers' newfound defensive depth, that big play could come from an unlikely suspect.
"I would say guys like Steve Gregory, Paul Oliver, Brandon Siler and Tim Dobbins [are unsung heroes]," Stephen Cooper said. "Those are the kind of guys that go under the radar because they haven't been doing stuff in the past but this year they've been making big plays."
If those youngsters get in on the act and force some negative plays, the Chargers will positively be going to their second AFC Championship Game in the last three years.
Which young defenders are you excited to see? Discuss in the message boards.
Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 15 years and covered the team since 2003. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.