Apologies for the lateness of this post. I have had a very busy week and had to do a little bit of traveling. However, better late than never. Anyway, last week's game was fantastic. Beating up on a divisional rival is always a great feeling, and the season not being over in November is an even better feeling. Now, moving on to today's matchup, the Titans will not have it as easy:
Reasons For Confidence: Chargers' Injuries, Chargers' Offensive Line
Chargers' Injuries: Going into the season, I very incorrectly thought that San Diego would be one of the worst teams in the league. Clearly, I was not paying attention because the roster is full of talent on both sides of the ball. They are missing some of their best players in Keenan Allen, Jason Verrett, Jeremiah Attaochu, and Manti Te'o, and it seems as if the injuries are continuing to pile up. Inside Linebackers Denzel Perryman and Jatavis Brown will miss today's game, which could potentially help the run game. Also, Hunter Henry is out, who is an emerging tight end in this league. When the Chargers are at full health, they have one of the most talented rosters in the league. Fortunately for Tennessee, they are not at full health.
Chargers' Offensive Line: This is the weak point of San Diego's team. The offensive line has struggled this year, and Philip Rivers has been under constant pressure. Jurrell Casey, Brian Orakpo, and Derrick Morgan should be productive today. Also, it would not be surprising to see Dick Lebeau dial up a lot of manufactured pressure in order to test this front and cause turnovers. They will need to have a big day and make a couple of game-changing plays.
Reasons For Concern: Delanie Walker, Linebacker Matchups, Chargers' Defensive Front
Delanie Walker: Walker injured his groin during the week, and will be a game-time decision today. He is a central piece in the offense, and if he goes down, Marcus Mariota's most reliable piece is missing, a key blocker is missing, and defenses can shift their focus elsewhere. Hopefully Walker's rest over the past couple days has allowed him to be available this afternoon.
Linebacker Matchups: While the Titans caught a break with Hunter Henry being out for today's game, the linebackers will still have tough matchups. Melvin Gordon has emerged as a playmaker, and will be utilized in the passing game, and out in space. Also, Antonio Gates has been a problem for the Titans for many years, and that could continue today. Avery Williamson and Wesley Woodyard have struggled in space this year, and will need to hold their own this afternoon in order to win this game.
Chargers' Defensive Front: This defensive front is right up their with Minnesota's as the best front that the Titans will see all season. On the outside, Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram are very dangerous, and on the inside, Corey Liuget and Brandon Mebane make it difficult to run. This front has the potential to make the Titans ineffective on the ground today, which will have an entire trickle-down effect on the offense. If they cannot run, then Bosa and Ingram can pin their ears back and get after Mariota. The offensive line will need to have a fantastic game today.
Prediction: This one will be tough for the Titans. The recipe is to get after Philip Rivers, be able to run the ball, and stop Melvin Gordon. However, traveling across the country to face a talented San Diego team, I think that they get edged out today. Chargers win a close one, 23-20.