Los Angeles Chargers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Pick & Prediction JANUARY 14th 2023

Stadium: EverBank Field Jacksonville
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Logo Jacksonville Jaguars

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One of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL will celebrate his playoff debut with a victory Saturday night when the Los Angeles Chargers visit the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC wild-card round.

Trevor Lawrence of the Jaguars and Justin Herbert of the Chargers participate in their initial postseason games with the winner moving on to a bigger stage in the divisional playoffs next weekend.

The fourth-seeded Jaguars (9-8) barged their way into the playoffs with five consecutive wins to end the season, including a 20-16 win over the Tennessee Titans last Saturday night. The fifth-seeded Chargers (10-7) received a wild-card berth to make the field for the first time since 2018.

Nobody expected to see Jacksonville in the postseason after the team went a combined 4-29 over the previous two seasons -- which included 13 disastrous games under former coach Urban Meyer in 2021 -- and then lost six of their first eight games this season.

But Lawrence, the No. 1 overall pick in the '21 draft, made big strides while passing for 4,113 yards, 25 touchdowns and eight interceptions. And suddenly, the Jaguars are a hot club entering the postseason.

"We had to win a ton of games down the stretch," Lawrence said. "We never lost faith or belief in ourselves. How we got here was just taking it one week at a time. To do what we've been able to do the past five games and give ourselves a chance, that's really hard to do."

Josh Allen's go-ahead, 37-yard fumble return late in the fourth quarter represented the winning points against Tennessee during a contest in which Lawrence finished 20-for-32 passing for 212 yards and a touchdown.

Los Angeles Chargers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Picks

The Jaguars only had 222 yards as a team, and were held to minus-1 in the final quarter but still got the clinching victory.

"You just find a way to win whatever it takes this time of year," Lawrence said. "Games are going to be tight. Games are going to be close. You just have to find a way to win."

Jacksonville is part of the postseason for just the second time in the past 15 campaigns and coach Doug Pederson is ready to see how Lawrence fares under the playoff spotlight.

"Now, Trevor gets his opportunity," Pederson said. "It just goes to show how important that position is, as we know. We're just fortunate and blessed to have Trevor as our guy leading this football team. Last week was a step for him, obviously. Now this is another step in that direction."

The Chargers are hoping it is Herbert who takes that huge step forward.

Herbert, the sixth overall selection in 2020, passed for 4,739 yards, 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions during his third straight solid campaign. He's also looking to make some noise in the postseason.

"I'm excited for the opportunity of just being in the playoffs and getting a shot at whoever," Herbert said. "The Jags, we have a lot of respect for them as an opponent, and it's going to take a good week of practice and preparation."

Chargers coach Brandon Staley expects Herbert to put on a show.

"He has always played his best when the stage is the biggest," Staley said. "That is how his career has been in the NFL. In primetime, the big games he has had for the first three years, he has always risen to the occasion because that is the type of competitor that he is."

Los Angeles Chargers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Odds

The Chargers were bouncing up and down with a 6-6 mark before reeling off four straight wins to punch their playoff ticket. They lost 31-28 to the Denver Broncos in their regular-season finale on Sunday after having already secured a wild-card spot.

In Week 3, the Jaguars routed the host Chargers 38-10 with Lawrence passing for 262 yards and three touchdowns. Herbert threw for 297 yards, one touchdown and one pick.

Staley said that the contest from late September has nothing to do with Saturday's game.

"They are a different team," Staley said. "They have been through a lot since the game we played them. ... We have a lot of respect for this football team."

Chargers receiver Mike Williams (back) was injured against Denver and underwent an MRI exam. His injury was determined to be a bruise and he missed Tuesday's walkthrough but Los Angeles expects him to be available for the game. Star pass rusher Joey Bosa (groin) also is expected to play.

For Jacksonville, kicker Riley Patterson (knee) and long snapper Ross Matiscik (back) both missed Tuesday's practice.

--Field Level Media

Los Angeles Chargers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Recap JAN 14TH 2023

Riley Patterson kicked a 36-yard field goal as time expired and the Jacksonville Jaguars recovered from a 27-point deficit to post a dramatic 31-30 victory over the visiting Los Angeles Chargers on Saturday night in an AFC wild-card contest.

Jacksonville's Trevor Lawrence overcame four first-half interceptions to throw for 288 yards and four touchdowns to lead his team to the third-largest comeback victory in postseason history. The Buffalo Bills famously rallied from 32 down to beat the Houston Oilers in a 1992 wild-card game and the Indianapolis Colts came back from a 28-point hole to beat the Kansas City Chiefs in a 2013 wild-card game.

Travis Etienne rushed for 109 yards for the fourth-seeded Jaguars. He set up Patterson's winning kick by breaking loose for a 25-yard gain on fourth-and-1 to the Los Angeles 16-yard line.

Asante Samuel Jr. intercepted three passes and Austin Ekeler rushed for two touchdowns for the fifth-seeded Chargers. Justin Herbert passed for 273 yards and one touchdown, Gerald Everett caught six passes for 109 yards and Cameron Dicker kicked three field goals.

Evan Engram, Marvin Jones and Zay Jones caught touchdown passes for the Jaguars, who overcame five turnovers.

Jacksonville trailed 27-7 at halftime but moved closer when Lawrence threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Jones with 5:11 left in the third quarter.

Dicker booted a 50-yard field to give Los Angeles a 30-14 lead with 2:58 left.

Jacksonville struck again as Lawrence connected on a 39-yard scoring pass to Zay Jones with 44 seconds remaining in the third, but the two-point pass failed to leave the Jaguars down by 10.

Jacksonville moved within 30-28 with 5:25 left when Lawrence threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Christian Kirk and then converted a two-point run.

Lawrence's nightmare first half began with an interception in which two Chargers deflected the ball before it was grabbed by Drue Tranquill. Sebastian Joseph-Day batted it right after Lawrence threw it and Joey Bosa also got a hand on it before Tranquill corralled it and returned it 17 yards to the Jacksonville 18-yard line.

Two plays later, Ekeler scored on a 13-yard run just 87 seconds into the game.

Samuel recorded his first pick with 10:02 left in the quarter, setting up Dicker's 22-yard field goal. He nabbed his second with 2:02 left and the Chargers took over at the Jacksonville 16 and Ekeler scored on a 6-yard run three plays later to make it 17-0.

The Chargers stretched their lead to 24 when Herbert tossed a 9-yard touchdown pass to Everett with 7:12 left in the half. Dicker's 23-yard field goal made it 27-0 with 4:25 remaining.

Jacksonville got on the board on Lawrence's 9-yard pass to Engram with 24 seconds left.

--Field Level Media