Divisional playoffs: Matchups to watch

Matt Bowen
National Football Post

N.Y. Jets at San Diego
TE Antonio Gates vs. FS Jim Leonhard
We know that Jets CB Darrelle Revis is going to match up with San Diego WR Vincent Jackson. It’s the matchup I want to watch because I think Jackson does have the size and big-play ability to catch some balls on the league’s best cover corner. However, I still see Jets FS Jim Leonhard playing a big role in man coverage vs. Gates when New York sends pressure — which will be in high demand on Sunday. Leonhard has the feet and the fluid movement of a nickel corner, and although he doesn’t match up in size with Gates, he will have the ability to run with him and close on the TE when he comes out of his breaks. Play action will be a key — as it always is in coach Norv Turner’s scheme — and Leonhard will have to trust his run-pass reads. If Revis can take Jackson off the field, Gates’ production will be even more crucial to the big-play ability of the Chargers. Leonhard will have to use his athletic ability to run with Gates and to keep proper leverage to avoid being boxed out by Gates when uses his body to shield Leonhard from the ball. Tough matchup for the Jets safety, but one I believe he can win.

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