JETS at San Diego Chargers, Sunday 4:15 p.m. ET, TV: CBS; RADIO: 1050 AM
After a season that saw the team reach a new low after respected General Manager John Butler died of cancer, the San Diego Chargers used the first pick of the 2004 NFL Draft to select Eli Manning.
Manning, who shares an agent (Tom Condon) with Chargers QB Drew Brees, the starter for most of last season, made it clear that he would not sign with the team, and ultimately, San Diego received the Giants' first round selection (Philip Rivers), the Giants' third round pick, and their first and fifth round picks in next season's Draft.
Despite the team's large future financial commitment to Rivers, Brees (whom one Gothamist contributor befriended as a college student and twice attended Heisman Trophy festivities with) was named the starter for the start of this season. He is out to prove he is still a legitimate pro QB, realistically to earn free agent market value.
In a move motivated solely by an injury to key reserve defensive lineman Josh Evans, the Jets released running back Johnathan Reese.
Reese, a Columbia University grad, was waived to make room for 6-4, 330-pound defensive tackle Daleroy Stewart. Stewart will probably be counted on right away to stifle Chargers RB LaDanian Tomlinson, one of the league's biggest threats.
The Jet offense looked terrific at times last week, and the Chargers home field of Qualcomm Stadium is hardly an advantage right now, what with 12,000 empty seats (as of yesterday).
Prediction: Jets 38, Chargers 27