If Philip Rivers is the same player he's always been, and it appears that might be the case, then we can categorize 2011-2012 as a "slump", right? Well....
Team Record (2006-2010): 55-25
Team Record (2011-2012): 15-17
If he's returned to form, it would make sense the the team would get closer to that .687 winning percentage than they've been. Part of that means getting better at home, but a larger part of that is beating the teams you're supposed to beat on the road. The Titans are a flawed teamed without good QB. This is a team that Chargers should beat if their QB is back at that "Elite" level he used to play at.
Oh, and here's Rivers' career stat line against the Tennessee Titans
5 games: 118/170 (69.4%), 1,316 pass yds, 10 pass TDs, 4 turnovers, 10 sacks
Antonio Gates abused the Philadelphia Eagles to the tune of 8 catches for 124 receiving yards. Want to know how many times, over the course of his career, Gates has caught 8 (or more) passes for 120 yards (or more)? SIX, including last Sunday. That is sick.
Want to know the last time he caught 8 (or more) passes for 120 yards (or more)? It was December 6, 2009, against the Cleveland Browns. In the last two seasons, Gates has just one game in which he totaled more than 100 receiving yards (the last game of the 2011 season against the Raiders).
Do you see what I'm getting at? Gates has me believing that he's back. He's healthy, he's quick (he lost weight in the offseason) and he's once again uncoverable. The Chargers will be taking advantage whenever Gates is matched up on a Safety, and the Titans could end up double-teaming Gates and leaving their cornerbacks on an island against Vincent Brown, Eddie Royal and Keenan Allen.
Let's do Gates' career stats against the Titans too.
5 games: 25 catches (18 for 1st Down), 366 rec yards, 4 rec TDs
Speaking of career stat lines against the Titans, let's look at Dwight Freeney, who has spent almost his entire career in the same division as Tennessee.
15 games: 35 tackles, 13.0 sacks, 5 forced fumbles
That'll do nicely.
It's amazing that Freeney only has 0.5 sacks this season, considering how dominant he's appeared on film. He came about a half-inch away from getting a sack and a forced fumble against the Eagles last week. I fully expect him to get at least one sack in this game, and I'm expecting it to be on an important play for Tennessee.