It has not always been pretty and it has required a great deal of fight in recent weeks, but the New York Jets are 4-3 and the proud owners of a three-game winning streak that has them firmly in the AFC playoff race.

There are some key statistics that point to reasons for the recent successes. Robert Saleh’s defense is allowing just 4.8 yards per play – the fourth-lowest amount in the league this season, running back Breece Hall has more than 90 scrimmage yards in each of New York’s four wins and quarterback Zach Wilson has won three straight games as a starter for the second time in his NFL career.

But what cannot be measured is the heart and spirit shown by the Jets week in and week out in a season that started in the most challenging of circumstances when future-Hall-of-Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers went down with an achilles injury on opening night.

New York will be keen to put together a strong performance from all three units in the same game this weekend. Last week’s win was initially led by defense and special teams, with punter Thomas Morstead landing three key kicks inside the Giants’ five-yard line. In a game where every yard and every second counted, that was vital, allowing Wilson and the offense the opportunity to work their match-winning magic in the dying moments at MetLife Stadium.

And now here comes another quality Pro Bowl passer in Week 9 in the form of the Chargers’ Justin Herbert, who threw for 298 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions while also not being sacked in a 30-13 victory over the Chicago Bears.

Herbert can expect more pressure in New York on Monday night. The Jets are pressuring opposing quarterbacks on 42.2 percent of their drop-backs in 2023 and a new star is emerging on a defense loaded with big-time players.

So, that feels like a perfect way to lead into this week’s players to watch.

New York Jets Player to Watch

Bryce Huff – Edge Rusher

Bryce Huff leads the Jets with 31 quarterback pressures and he has made opposing quarterbacks feel the heat on 26.5 percent of his rushes this season – best in the NFL ahead of the likes of Micah Parsons, Rashan Gary and Myles Garrett, who make up the remainder of that fearsome top four. Huff has at least one sack in three straight games and Herbert will feel him in this game.

Los Angeles Chargers Player to Watch

Austin Ekeler – Running Back

Justin Herbert is the star man for the Chargers, but the cannon-armed passer needs help around him, of course. That comes in the form of Keenan Allen, who has caught 54 passes for 643 yards and four touchdowns, and running back Austin Ekeler, who appears to have returned to full health after missing three games with an ankle injury. Ekeler had minimal impact as a runner against Chicago, but he caught seven catches for 94 yards and a touchdown and remains one of the best pass-catching backs in the league.

Stat Attack!

The Jets have faced three of the six quarterbacks with contracts worth $250 million in 2023. The Jets are 2-1 in such games and have allowed just three passing touchdowns while grabbing eight interceptions. Those quarterbacks have compiled a combined passer rating of 61.7.

Keys to the game

The Chargers are allowing 391 total yards per game in 2023 – second-worst in the NFL ahead of just the Denver Broncos. At that pace, it would be the second-most yards per game conceded by the Chargers in their team history. So, this feels like a week where the Jets can attack on the ground with Breece Hall and then find Garrett Wilson on the explosive plays that have become the norm against the Chargers D.

Defensively, the Jets will be expecting business as usual. Get after Herbert and make life difficult for yet another Pro Bowl quarterback. The Jets certainly have the players to handle that side of the ball as well as they have been doing in recent weeks.