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Game preview: Tennessee Titans vs. Los Angeles Chargers

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Part of the NFL International Series

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Cleveland Browns
The Chargers are playing with the swagger we have not seen in a long time
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Tennessee Titans have seemed to spiral downward with tremendous offensive struggles in a tight division race. The Los Angeles Chargers are riding a wave of momentum and they hope to continue maintaining pace with the division leading Kansas City Chiefs.

The two teams will square off at 6:30 a.m. on CBS. The game will be played at Wembley Stadium in London, England.

What is at stake for the Titans?

Tennessee looks to redeem themselves after a 21-0 clobbering at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens. Marcus Mariota was sacked eleven times and threw for a measly 117 yards. The team as a whole rushed for 55 yards and was overwhelmed from start to finish. Tennessee sits at 3-3 along with the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Houston Texans atop the AFC South, although they currently hold the tiebreaker as they defeated both of them already. The Titans average 262.7 total yards per game and 14.5 points per game, ranking third-worst in the league for both statistics. The Titans begin a tough three-game stretch starting Sunday against the Chargers. They will follow up by heading to AT&T Stadium to take on the Dallas Cowboys next week before coming home to host the New England Patriots. Tennessee will try to establish the run game early with Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis, as the two combined for just 12 carries last Sunday. The Titans have gone eight straight quarters without scoring a touchdown, a streak that they hope to end at the hands of a defense that ranks 17th in points allowed per game.

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans
Marcus Mariota (8) will need to rebound from a brutal afternoon in Nashville for the Titans to to keep their division lead.
Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

What is it stake for the Chargers?

Los Angeles remains hot, winning three straight games and finally hitting their stride. Their 38-14 win against the Browns put their full potential on display. Their schedule was a challenge early on as they suffered losses to the Chiefs on opening day and the Rams in Week 3, arguably the two best teams in the NFL. The Chargers aim to win their fourth straight heading into their Bye Week. With their road game in Cleveland last week, a game in London on Sunday, and two consecutive road games in Seattle and Oakland, the Chargers will go six weeks without playing a true home game. They will not return home until November 18th when they host the Denver Broncos. The Bolts rank top ten in yards with 412.5 per game, and points with 29.2 per game. Quarterback Philip Rivers has had a superb 2018 season and sits in the mix of a tight MVP race. He ranks 4th in total QBR and is beginning to get some of the spotlight taken by the familiar faces. Tennessee has the 8th ranked pass defense but the 27th ranked rush defense. The Chargers will likely attack with Melvin Gordon and stay aggressive offensively

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Cleveland Browns
Philip Rivers (17) might be having the best season of his career.
Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Key Points

  1. The Titans have given up the fifth most sacks in the league, although that number is heavily skewed after Baltimore’s pass rush did a number on them.
  2. Melvin Gordon leads the NFL with 745 scrimmage yards and has scored nine total touchdowns. He is slowly entering the tier of elite running backs.
  3. Derwin James has at least five tackles in every game this season as the safety continues making his case for Defensive Rookie of the Year.
  4. The Chargers’ offensive line has given up the second fewest sacks in the NFL (8).
  5. Joey Bosa will return to the Chargers “in a few weeks,” according to his father. Bosa has not played at all this season.

What to expect?

The Titans will play with energy in an effort to avoid losing their third straight game. Tennessee must find momentum to keep up with Jacksonville and Houston. The Chargers are playing a complete brand of football and are looking like a team finally poised to take that next step. These two teams will play gritty and it will be a close one throughout. The Titans will give the Chargers fits, but it will not be enough in the end.

Prediction: Chargers 23, Titans 17.

My name is Matt Burnham and I am a new contributing writer for Bolts From The Blue. I am a 22-year old student at the University of Memphis.