The Chargers and their defense need to bounce back from a dismal opener if they want a chance to even their record at 1-1. Historically, teams who start the season 0-2 have just a 9.5 percent chance to make the playoffs. I don’t think the Chargers want to try and beat those odds, especially in a season that could be pivotal for the coaching staff and front office, alike. As of now, the Chargers are 2.5-point favorites to win this one, per DraftKings Sportsbook.
Our staff is once again all-in on the Bolts to win this week. Will it come back to bite us? I sure hope not.
Let’s go ahead and dive in.
Michael Peterson: I like this matchup a lot better when I thought Austin Ekeler and Joey Bosa had a chance to play. Not that the former is doubtful and the latter is questionable, this one looks like a much tighter contest than I would have wanted. Both teams struggled offensively a season ago with Ryan Tannehill and Justin Herbert combining to throw three interceptions and zero touchdowns. In Week One of this year, Tannehill threw three picks all by himself. Something tells me after that performance, the Titans will try to lean heavily into the ground game behind Derrick Henry and rookie Tyjae Spears. If that’s the case, and the Chargers also try to keep their run game momentum going, I could see this being a low-scoring game with the Titans attempting to keep the ball out of Herbert’s hands as much as possible.
I have the Chargers edging the Titans with the Bolts motivated to finish this one with the ball after last week’s final drive that ended in flat fashion.
Final Score: Chargers 21-20
Kyle DeDiminicantanio: How can I feel confident about making a prediction after getting completely dumbstruck from last Sunday's catastrophe? On paper, this team should stack up well against Ryan Tannehill and the Titan's roster; there's certainly a challenge to overcome when facing Derrick Henry, but our offense should be able to match theirs blow for blow until we're able to break away with a lead. My biggest question is whether or not Kellen Moore will have a plan for Vrabel's creative blitz schemes. Vic Fangio had our number last Sunday when it mattered most and I need to see the offense ready for that kind of creativity this Sunday.
I think the Chargers pull ahead and win by two scores, show a little more talent and promise than they did last game... but it won't be clean enough to fully restore our confidence.
Final Score: 31-20 Chargers
Ryan Watkins: I think this matchup is all on dependant on two things; how Staley deploys his personnel groupings to slow down the run and how Kellen Moore and Justin Herbert diversify the passing game. The Titans matchups of the past have always been physical brawls where man vs man battles dictated the outcome and I don't expect the approach from the Titans and Vrabel to change. The run game will likely be proceeding without Ekeler and is facing a tougher front 7 than what the Dolphins could offer, so the ball will likely be placed into Herbert's very capable hands. Where we need to see improvement is using horizontal concepts to stretch out the man heavy 3rd down Shane Bowen system, the Chargers Predominantly used vertical concepts in Week 1 and those won't work as well against a better pass rush. On the other side of the ball, the Chargers' defensive unit obviously needs a bounce back performance and where better to find one schematically than against a one dimensional smash mouth run team. It is not complicated so the game is very much in the players' hands. For Staley it's all about getting the right guys on the field and this seems like a game to stick in a Base 3-4, get some additional interior gap protection on the field and allow the immense on-paper roster talent to shine everywhere else.
Overall I see this as a cagey affair that will likely be the first early kick off game to finish thanks to the Titans refusing to pass the ball early on and the Chargers happy to wind down the clock in the 4th quarter after a couple of Ryan Tannehil turnovers. I'm getting flashbacks to the London matchup where a nervy ending might rear its head but I'm more confident than I probably should be that our Bolts will look the better team to everyone watching.
Final Score: Chargers 26-17