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Three-Down Back: A trio of things to watch for against the Tennessee Titans

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After a shutout loss to the Baltimore Ravens, how far can the Titans bounce back against the streaking Bolts?

Baltimore Ravens v Tennessee Titans Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Chargers are across the pond for their match-up against the Tennessee Titans in a match-up consisting of teams coming off very different outcomes from week 6.

The Titans hosted the Baltimore Ravens and received the type of beat-down you never expect to receive when you invite someone into your own house. Quarterback Marcus Mariota was sacked 11 times and the Titans were shut-out in a 21-0 shellacking.

The Chargers, on the other hand, should be done relishing in their 24-point victory over the new-and-improved Browns squad in Cleveland.

Last time I checked (don’t quote me on this, Louis mentioned this a couple days ago), but teams coming off a shut-out have won their next game roughly 58% of the time. Now, although history may favor the recently shut-out team, the tale of the tape still heavily favors the Chargers.

Yes the Titans have victories against the Philadelphia Eagles and the Jacksonville Jaguars, but those teams are currently playing nowhere near the level everyone expected them to after phenomenal 2017 seasons.

The Chargers only two losses came from the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Rams, who have a combined record of 11-1 after the Chiefs dropped a thriller in Foxborough this past Sunday night.

I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t exactly smell an upset brewing in London. However, there are always things that could go catastrophically wrong and I’m about to ramble on about a handful of those specific scenarios.

Here. We. GO.

1.) DT Jurell Casey is one of the lone bright spots on the team, how will the Chargers’ interior offensive line handle the Pro Bowl defender?

The weakest area for the Titans to try and exploit on Sunday is the interior of the offensive line. More specifically, guards Dan Feeney and Michael Schofield.

The Titan’s Casey has been on the best interior defenders of the last five years and he has shown no signs of slowing down through the first six weeks of this season. Casey currently ranks first among all interior defensive linemen with 18 run stops, ahead of guys such as Damon “Snacks” Harrison and Akiem Hicks.

On the year, Feeney ranks as the #72 guard in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus with a 41.0 grade. On the other side, Schofield has shown visible improvement through the last few games as he has worked himself to number 24 among all guards in the NFL with a grade of 68.2.

Casey can play any position along the defensive front so watch for Tennessee’s coaches to put #99 in places where he can maximize his production.

2.) Can Philip Rivers continue his hot start against a Titans’ secondary that includes All-Pro safety Kevin Byard and second-year cornerback Adoree Jackson?

Rivers is having himself a career-year through the first third of the season. He currently sits with three interceptions on the year, although his latest misfire was a blatant drop from Melvin Gordon that hit him dead in the hands on a slant route against the Browns during last Sunday’s match-up.

Last year, Byard enjoyed a break-out season that saw him collect 81 total tackles while leading the NFL in interceptions with eight. It’s understandable that he would see some negative-regression following a career year but his numbers are still fairly respectable. Through the first six weeks of the season, Byard currently sits with 34 total tackles and a single interception.

Jackson, on the other hand, is in the midst of a stellar season in his sophomore campaign. The former-USC Trojan has 25 total tackles on the year and his only two career interceptions.

With the last week’s resurgence of wideout Tyrell Williams, the Chargers have more than a handful of weapons that the Titans will have to account for, and I’m not entirely sure they have enough talent to match-up.

3.) Can the Chargers continue their dominant run defense against a trio of threats in running backs Dion Lewis, Derrick Henry, and Mariota?

Am I actually worried about the potential of these three running all over the Bolts? No, not really. Mariota has rarely been used as a threat to run so far this season and both Henry and Lewis have been disappointing to fantasy owners, to say the least.

Lewis averages an abysmal 3.1 yards per carry on just 60 carries. Henry also isn’t much better. The former-Heisman Trophy winner has just 240 yards on 72 carries, which amounts to an equally-depressing 3.3 yards per carry.

While the Chargers rank 12th in the league in rushing yards allowed with 96.8, they are tied with Baltimore at 4th in terms of rushing touchdowns allowed with just two.

If Titans want to have any sort of a fighting chance against the Chargers in London, they are going to have to find a way to be multi-dimensional.

On the flip-side through the air, Mariota isn’t fairing much better as he has just two touchdown throws to four interceptions.